The Agoura football team is very happy to be playing at home this coming Friday night.
The Chargers last two games were on the road against two of the best teams around and Agoura hasn't played at home since September 14.
Last Friday night at Moorpark High School, Agoura endured a first quarter onslaught by the Musketeers, who treated their homecoming crowd to a dominate win and near flawless performance.
Moorpark won 42-7 and afterwards, Charlie Wegher, the Agoura head coach praised the Musketeers by saying he thinks they are better than the Oaks Christian team that defeated the Chargers the week before.
“They’re an excellent team,” Wegher said of Moorpark. “I think they can do some real damage in the playoffs. They’re fast, physical and well-coached. I knew it was going to be a hard game going into it, but hopefully we got better from it.”
Moorpark built a 35-0 second-quarter lead. Agoura scored late in the quarter to make it 35-7. But the damage had already been done.
Although Agoura lost by the same margin to the Lions on October 5, Wegher and his players were pleased that the Chargers’ had fought hard against Oaks Christian. Despite the 35-0 score, the effort was there.
After the loss at Moorpark there was mostly disappointment.
“We didn’t play real well,” Wegher said. “We didn’t execute real well. I thought our kids came out really hard against Oaks Christian and played hard. They didn’t make a lot of mental errors and against Moorpark, for some reason, we just didn’t play well.”
The game was reminiscent of Agoura’s loss to Newbury Park the third week of the season, said Wegher.
"It kind of reminded me of the Newbury Park game, going up against a big, physical team,” he said. The Panthers defeated Agoura, 42-3, on September 7.
Against Moorpark, the only score for Agoura came when quarterback Jack Barmasse, who came into the game in the second quarter in place of Richard Poutier, connected with wide receiver Andrew Costin on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The key play on the drive was another completion from Barmasse to Costin, this one good for 28 yards. Barmasse was 5 of 9 passing on the day for 52 yards. Poutier was 4 of 12 for 19 yards.
The Chargers had only 27 yards rushing on 19 carries and 98 yards of total offense in the game.
One aspect of the game that was evident from the start was that Agoura was short on manpower. That means the Chargers have a lot of players doing double or triple-duty: playing offense, playing defense and playing on special teams.
“We suited 27 guys,” Wegher said. “(Moorpark) has 40-50 guys and they’ve got a lot of one-way guys, typically on the line. If your kids are going both ways and then their playing the kicking game, physically they’re playing more minutes in the game than a team with the kind of depth that Moorpark has.
“And I think that if you can go stay on the sidelines for half the game and only go in when you are called to do so, it helps you stay fresher over a long season.”
Wegher said having several players injured with an already lean roster makes it very hard to have robust practices.
“You can’t get a real good, physical practice because you don’t want to bang guys up real hard,” he said.
Shawn Kagan, a senior who plays wide receiver and defensive back for Agoura, noted the effect of too few hard practices.
“We have to have a better tempo, where we hit hard in practice,” Kagan said. “We need to do some hard hitting drills to get ready for a team that likes to hit hard. We should have been more prepared for that.”
But having to play both offense and defense, and possibly on special teams as well, is not just physically demanding.
“Mentally, also, they have to learn all the offensive stuff, all the defensive stuff, all the kicking game stuff, and when they get tired, it tends to affect their execution,” said Wegher. “Particularly when it comes to the little things. And that shows up on film.”
The Agoura coach said he is trying to make his players cognizant of the fact that when they get fatigued, that can’t be a reason or an excuse to make careless mistakes.
“We’re trying to work through that,” Wegher said. “I made them aware of it. I told them that it’s going to happen, but you’ve got to fight through that. You’ve got to execute in spite of being tired.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do because I can’t go to Amazon and order some new guys. This is all we’ve got.”
With the Chargers returning home this Friday after those two extremely tough road games, one at Oaks Christian, one at Moorpark, maybe a little levity isn’t a bad thing.
Read a preview of the Thousand Oaks at Agoura game, here, later this week.