Sustained success next on the agenda for surging Escondido Charter By JIM TAL EVANS
Since his arrival in 2019, head coach Jon Goodman has done a remarkable job of shepherding the Escondido Charter football program through various stages.
There’s been building-a-foundation stage, a becoming-competitive stage and recently a breakout stage. Now, with the White Tigers ascending to heights they’ve never before achieved, the question becomes will there be a sustainability stage?
Can EC capitalize on its rapid rise from near oblivion and turn into a team where winning, getting great results and showing consistency in performance becomes the order of the day? In other words, can the White Tigers maintain or even surpass what they accomplished during a terrific 9-2 season in 2021 and do so on a regular basis?
The answer to that question will need to play out over the forthcoming seasons, but at this moment, Charter seems poised for another memorable campaign that could go a long way into proving that football excellence is here to stay at the school located on East Valley Parkway.
“This is year four since we came here and it’s been a real privilege and joy to coach these young men,” says Good-man. “To see the progress that they’ve made has truly been inspirational.”
That progress has continued to mani-fest itself through the first two games of this still young season, where the White Tigers have outscored overwhelmed opponents Clairemont and O’Farrell Charter by a combined count of 88 to 9.
Thus far, Goodman has been pleased with the physicality of his club, where an experienced defense has dominated and a potent running attack has shown well.
But the coach is fully aware that though his team’s start has been satisfying, the real challenge awaits down the road when Charter will square off with decidedly tougher foes, including those in the Pacific League. It is during that testing stretch of the schedule from the midpoint on where the White Tigers will find out if they are up to the challenge of putting together back-to-back stellar seasons. And whether they will remain being a true force to be reckoned with.
When taking a look at the personnel available to Goodman, it’s no wonder that he likes what he sees and feels so upbeat about the days and weeks ahead.
On the offensive side, there’s plenty of talent to make sure that Charter’s staple ground game functions at a high level and that when needed, the White Tigers are capable of going up top.
It all starts upfront and that’s where captain and standout center Jacob Semisi resides. A hard-working leader who qualifies as a fine technician, Semisi is a motivator to his teammates. Not only because of the level at which he executes but the manner in which he connects with everyone around him.
As for senior quarterback Skylar MacMahon, he’s constantly improving and to date, has done “a great job,” in his coach’s estimation. A legitimate threat with his legs, the southpaw Mac-Mahon has also shown that he can pitch it effectively – his three touchdown passes versus O’Farrell serving as a prime example. When it comes to the receiving corps, the White Tigers are blessed. Athletic Jorden Campbell is productive and can be a handful while four-year veteran John Scates can sky and catch while making it appear rather easy.
Goodman makes no bones about the fact that EC’s prime focus is to run and pound the ball. Everything else stems off of that objective and to do that you must have effective and serviceable backs.
Though the White Tigers are currently without their go-to rusher Travis Mitchell – who suffered a leg injury during the opener versus Clairemont – a host of other capable runners have stepped into the breach and delivered. Included in this group have been junior Nick Patterson, Charlie Lewis and Danny Lopez. And encouragingly, Charter expects the valuable Mitchell to return to the fold somewhere around the bye week in mid-September.
As for a defense that has gone into lockdown mode while allowing a mere nine points to date, Goodman is effusive in his praise of a unit that possesses experience, familiarity and cohesion. At all three levels, there are impact players to be found.
In the trenches, defensive ends Nick Taylor and Horatio Keller are disruptors who can wreak lots of havoc while thumping you.
At the linebacker position, the aforementioned Scates, Dominic Schwarm and athletic Noah Reyes mesh well and have great faith in each another, all the while making plenty of plays.
And in the secondary, cornerbacks Lopez and Daniel Eguche along with safety Patterson form an aggressive trio that’s solid with their reads, can tackle and hit, and knows how to cover and showcases consistency.
So at least on paper and given their efforts so far, another compelling season seems very much in store for Goodman and crew. Demonstrating staying pow-er is no longer a pipe dream, rather, it looms as a distinct possibility because over the past 13 months, the White Tigers have proven that they are the real deal in virtually every way imaginable.
Currently riding high, buoyed by great support from their families and fans and coalesced by an abiding love for one another, the future of this energized program has never been brighter.
Put this writer down as one who is thoroughly convinced that the good times for EC will continue to roll. Sustainability looks more than willing to keep the White Tigers company for a good, long while.