The experience of losing the opportunity of playing in the CIF title game by a single point last year has left a hunger in the Beaumont High School Cougar football team.
That loss has fueled the team’s desire to go all the way this year, driving them to work even harder during this summer’s practices.
One young man, Peter Joseph, a junior, is working hard to make sure there is not a repeat of last year’s loss.
“I’m motivating myself. I’m motivating my team around me,” says Joseph. “We are going to be straight.”
The young man bears a self-induced pressure to make up for personal mistakes made last season that he says lead to the team’s loss.
“The worst has happened,” he says. “I’m ready for everything.”
He is not the only one determined to overcome last year’s loss and make it to the CIF final game.
“We are playing for each other this year,” says senior Kamari Ross. “I want to be better for the team and as available as I can be to help us go all the way.”
That sentiment is universal amongst all players, driving them to make personal commitments to improve for the betterment of the team.
This year there is a renewed sense of team chemistry that is uniting the young men.
Many of the players on the senior-heavy team have been playing together since they started in the freshman program four years ago.
This year there are 32 returning seniors on the team with a wealth of experience to draw from.
One of those returning seniors is defensive tackle Logan Perez who is challenging himself to big plays this year.
“I want to get 20 sacks and 20 TFLs (tackles for loss),” says Perez who made last year’s All CIF Southern Section team. “I’m going for it all.”
Last year Perez made 48 total tackles and 13 tackles for loss yardage.
The defense is filled with other heavy hitters on the line that will be leaving their mark on opposing offenses this season.
Ross had seven interceptions last year including one of which went for a touchdown.
“We have to go all the way this year,” says Ross who plays on both sides of the line.
The offense has been pushing it hard this summer as well as the condition themselves for a long march to the title.
“I want to be winning everyday at practice. Winning everyday for the game,” says senior Jayden Fordham who plays outside receiver. “I want to get better.”
With the weather nearing the century mark this week, Steinberg was working his team through their drills in a mixed practice with junior varsity and varsity players together.
It is an opportunity for the seasoned players to come along side and mentor their younger teammates.
“Sophomores are going to pick it up this year,” Joseph says about the generation of underclassmen coming up behind him. “We got to keep the legacy going.”
Coach Jeff Steinberg will once again be at the helm as he pushes his players toward the finish line, taking it one game at a time.
“Each game is the biggest game of the year,” says Coach Steinberg. “You have to improve yourself week to week.”
Steinberg’s philosophy has paid off at two of his previous schools where he took two of them to CIF championship games during his time with those schools.
This is Steinberg’s second season with the Cougars.
Beaumont’s first game of the season will be a home game against Palm Desert High School is Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. at the high school.
Staff Writer Marc Hargett may be reached at email@example.com , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x117.