Brahmas show improvement under Reitz

FOOTBALL The team experiences growing pains, but wins first game in two years.



Dylan Karanickolas had five passing touchdowns in their first win in two years.

With a new head coach and a change in leagues, the upcoming season signals a fresh start for the Diamond Bar High School football team. Starting the season with three losses against Walnut, Bonita and Claremont, the Brahmas have a lot to work on.  

“You’re not supposed to lose games when you have that much offense [offensive yards], but it’s not the defense’s fault. It’s been the offense’s fault for not finishing drives, and that’s my job as the head coach, so therefore the responsibility lays on me not the team,” head coach Jeff Reitz said.

The constant coaching staff changes from past seasons has been challenging for the players, since each staff  introduces new strategies and playing styles that they want implemented. According to Reitz, as the players learn a new system, mistakes will be made as they become accustomed to the offense and defense.

“When you have kids that have been taught for two or three years and they’ve been taught a certain way, and then they’re taught a new way, it’s hard on them, and it’s been hard on the offensive line,” Reitz said. “The offensive line has been a lot different than it’s ever been here.”

As a result of this, the teams’ offense hasn’t been able to perform up to expectations. This has created a domino effect onto the Brahmas’ defense, keeping them from playing with the same energy and motivation as they normally would.

“In the games we’ve played, we’ve done some things like not completing things offensively, so it kind of lets the defense down. If we start completing those things on offense, the defense will stay excited and finish out a great game,” Reitz said.

Also, Reitz stated the teams’ off-season training wasn’t as efficient as he would have liked. According to Reitz, the most important part of the off-season is the weight training, because the players become bigger, stronger and more confident. Since Reitz was a new coach, the training wasn’t as intense as he wanted.

“We didn’t get that intense of an off-season, so we’re going to have to get to know each other during the season,” Reitz said.

However, both the players and coaching staff have confidence in the team this season even with these setbacks.

“We probably have the best QB in Southern California, and our wide receivers are the best in the [San Gabriel] valley,” senior running back Jeremiah Chukwudobe said. “We want a playoff run at CIF. ”

Facilitating the offense is quarterback Dylan Karanickolas, and combined with wide receiver Kai Smith and Chukwudobe, the team is averaging 29 points per game, eleven and a half points more than last season’s average. Additionally, the Brahmas are averaging 461 offensive yards per game, compared to the 300 yards they averaged last season.

According to Reitz, the defensive team is also stepping up, and he considers them to be even stronger then the offensive team. The defense as a whole is averaging 64.5 tackles per game. More than 70 percent of the team is averaging double digit tackles per game, with Jacoah Chennault, Leo Carreon and Sean Martin leading the averages with 17, 14 and 14 tackles respectively.

“They [players] have to believe in what we’re going to run offensively and defensively, and they buy into that, and that’s exciting because they see the potential,” Reitz said. “The improvements have been incredible, the kids have been incredible. The kids have bought into me, I’ve bought into them, and the season is going to get bright.”