Serra, the No. 2 team in the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section rankings, is undefeated in the WCAL, and it is largely due to their shutdown defense, which has only allowed 6 points in two games.
Serra’s shutout of Bellarmine came from an elite secondary made up of juniors Daylin McLemore, Terrence Loville, Damon Lewis, and senior Malakai Rango. Head Coach Patrick Walsh knows how amazing his secondary is.
“Right now, overall our secondary has been the star of our defense. They have done an amazing job in defending the pass. Hopefully this week we will continue that trend against Riordan's potent Pass offense,” Walsh said.
Even though the defensive backs have been the stars of the defense, senior EJ Lahlouh is the key to the Padres’ success. Lahlouh led the team with 5 tackles and an interception against the Bells. On his third down of playing in the first game of the season he hurt his ankle and it hasn’t slowed him down enough to not make an impact in games. Walsh knows how much better Lahlouh can be if he is at 100%, and still calls him the best defensive player on the team even though Lahlouh isn’t 100% because of his leadership on the field.
“Our best defensive player is EJ Lahlouh our Mike Linebacker. He runs the defense, makes all of the calls and makes sure everybody gets aligned correctly in the box. And when he's at his best (healthy) he is our biggest defensive weapon,” Walsh said.
Junior Nusi Malani has come back from an off season injury and made an immediate impact having three tackles and a sack. According to Walsh Malani’s return is crucial as he brings an intense physical and emotional aspect to the defense.
Serra’s success on defense is also owed to their offense, and to gang tackling. Scoring early in the game and possessions helps take a load off the defense, and lets them have enough time to rest and get back onto the field to get the offense the ball back. Walsh said that his defense sprints to the ball and because of this the amount of tackles is usually evenly distributed among the defense.
The Padres look to keep their winning streak going in the WCAL with their shutdown defense against Archbishop Riordan’s offense weapons; juniors Adham Abdelghani, Jalen Camp, and senior Marcus Williams.