Now the tough part for the Calabasas football team.
No matter how you split up the Marmonte League, as was done this season, when it was made into two separate five-team divisions, it is still one of the toughest leagues around.
Calabasas played its first official league game Friday night, but the home crowd in Calabasas couldn't distract visiting Moorpark, which came away with a 51-18 win in the league opener for both teams.
"They're a very good football team," said Calabasas' second-year head coach Christian Pierce.
The Coyotes (1-4 overall, 0-1 in league) trailed 7-5 after one quarter, having gotten on the board on a field goal by Ike Fuchs and a safety by Jordan Pierce.
"We got off to a good start," said Coach Pierce. Unfortunately, things began to unravel for the Coyotes late in the second quarter.
"We tried to convince the kids that (Moorpark) is a very good team and we have to play error-free football, but that didn't happen," said Pierce. "Our tackling was not what it's supposed to be."
Moorpark scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Austin Cole to Tyler Collet, a junior wide receiver.
Then on its next possession, the Musketeers scored when Chad Hansen, a senior wide receiver, caught a Cole pass and broke free for a 42-yard touchdown.
Pierce said that three Coyotes missed open field tackles on the play and that was "The first straw that broke the back."
But it was the ensuing kickoff that really got Pierce hot. Moorpark's kick was short and the ball bounced in front of the Coyotes' return men at around the 17 or 18-yard line.
Loose play on kickoff leads to Moorpark TD
No one advanced quickly enough to pick up the short kick and Moorpark recovered the ball. Pierce said it was his deep men's responsibility to get possession.
"That sent me through the roof," Pierce said. "That's the one I don't understand."
Moorpark (4-1, 1-0) scored two plays later when Aaron Stanton, a senior running back, ran for a 22-yard touchdown.
The failure to respond to the short kickoff by his players left Pierce proverbially scratching his head. He spoke of the need to have a higher "Football IQ."
"You've got to have a sense of knowing where you are at all times," he said. "All you can control is your nine feet; your three-by-three space. If everybody can control their nine feet, we're going to be okay."
Moorpark scored 21 points during a span of 2:50 in the second quarter. Those not-quite-three minutes of football all but sealed the Coyotes' fate.
Pierce said the turn of events was stunning. Special teams plays are so often "game-changers," he said. At halftime he tried to rally his players.
"At some point you have to believe in your hearts that you're a better team than your (won-loss) record displays," he told them at the break. "We're a better team than we just showed in the second quarter."
Pierce also stressed that against the good teams that tend to pervade the Marmonte League, miscues are costly.
"We're not good enough, we're not deep enough, to let any single play get away from us," he also told his team at halftime. "We've got to pretty much play flawless football."
He added: "When you get knocked down, you've got to get up and hit them harder."
There were some positives to take away despite the loss. One was the play of Fuchs, the senior quarterback.
QB plays well, but it's not enough
"He played with a little more confidence," said Pierce, who had noted after last week's loss against Simi Valley that he was concerned Fuchs was second-guessing himself.
"His passing was better this week than last week," Pierce added. He noted that with the score 14-5, Fuchs threw a pass that could have led to a touchdown because the Coyotes' receiver was open and had a clear path to the end zone.
However, the ball was dropped by the Calabasas receiver.
"We can't afford to let the things that we can control, get out of control," said Pierce.
The Calabasas coach continues to preach the idea that his players cannot worry too much about their opponents; that the concern should be in their own improvement as players and as a team.
Things won't get easier against Newbury Park at home at 7 p.m on Friday night. The Panthers lost to Moorpark in overtime earlier in the season (in what was a non-league game this year).
"(Newbury Park) is a good team," Pierce said. "They're always big up front. And they always have good receivers."
Anthony Garcia, a senior offensive/defensive lineman, who is 6-feet, 260 pounds, is still waiting to be cleared to play due to a concussion. His presence against Newbury Park would help, but it seems unlikely that he'll be ready this week.
One way in which Pierce is looking to improve his lineup is to have more two-way players, something he was hesitant to do until now.
Expect more double-duty Coyotes
"I think we're not deep enough to be able to platoon a hundred percent," he said. "We're going to look at playing more guys both ways."
That means the players will have to remain in good shape and that the support players will have to step up, the coach said.
"I think we're a well conditioned team," Pierce said. "We're going to put our fate in the hands of our best players."
Five games into the 10-game regular season, Pierce said the time to make adjustments has come.
"We're half way through the season," he said. "I've never been averse to tweaking things. I think it's foolish to continue to do the same thing if you aren't getting the results that you want."
Pierce said eight or nine players will go both ways, playing offense and defense. Among the Coyotes who will do that is Anthony Wright, a junior who has played mostly running back.
Jordan Bessard, a senior defensive end/tight end will continue to play both ways as will senior wide receiver/cornerback Caleb Madden. Fuchs, who is a converted strong safety, will not be one of the players doing double-duty, however.
Pierce said his quarterback is too valuable to risk on defense. Aside from Jordan Pierce's first-quarter safety, Fuchs had a hand in all three of the Coyotes' scores against Moorpark.
Fuchs nailed a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter. He ran for a 64-yard second-quarter touchdown. And he connected with senior wide receiver Anthony Freeman for a 36-yard TD in the fourth quarter.