Football players and coaches at Damien High School don’t sit around and sulk about last year’s results. But it’s hard not to think the Spartans don’t find extra motivation via a strong revenge motive directed at several opponents on this year’s schedule. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 What looked so good about last week’s win is that it seemingly answered a major concern about this season – defense. The Spartans allowed 25.6 points per game last season, but opened with a shutout. Morrison isn’t ready to compare his stop unit to the 1985 Chicago Bears, though. “Charter Oak is a good team, and they’ll probably get better,” Morrison said. “But they had a lot of young guys in there and we were happy to play them at that point of the season rather than later. They’ll be much better in two or three weeks.” With their season-opening win out of the way, the Spartans now turn their attention to rival Claremont. Again, there is huge motivation available for Damien in the form of memories of last year’s game when the Spartans lost a 23-22 heartbreaker. Frustrations and bad memories of last year’s 2-8 season are a thing of the past, according to coach Scott Morrison. There is no doubt, though, that last week’s 26-0 win over Charter Oak felt good. The Spartans lost to Charter Oak last year, 27-7. “I think we went into that game as an entire team – the coaches, players and our football community – expecting to win,” Morrison said. “Our guys played well and they played hard for the whole game.” “Revenge really isn’t our focus,” Morrison said. “Last year was tough in a lot of ways, and we want to forget about it if it’s possible without forgetting the way it felt.” Last year’s loss to the Wolfpack probably didn’t feel good. It was arguably the Spartans’ toughest loss of the season. Damien scored a touchdown with under a minute to play to close within one point of the Wolfpack. The Spartans went for two, but the running play was stuffed. Also hard to swallow was the fact Claremont scored a touchdown on the same play it missed a field goal attempt. “It was early in the season and those things happen,” Morrison said of last year’s game. “They were better than us last year. Our focus is taking care of what have to take care of for this year’s game.” – Wilson running back Daniel Bernal, who suffered a muscle strain in his lower back and was forced to leave last week’s game against Claremont, is not expected to miss any time. “He’s fine and he wants to play this week,” Wilson coach Robert Oviedo said. “We’ll evaluate him after practice. We’re taking it day by day at this point.” Bernal, a junior, rushed for more than 1,400 yards last season and is the focal point of the Wildcats’ offense. – A lot of people were surprised by South El Monte’s rout of San Dimas last week. Bonita coach Eric Podley isn’t one of them. “We’ve been telling people for two years that they’re pretty good,” Podley said. “It was no surprise to us. We played them last year and the score didn’t reflect how close the game was.” Bonita gets to renew its familiarity with the Eagles on Friday as the two teams meet in an early season showdown. The Bearcats won last year’s meeting 47-7, but Podley said the Eagles appear to be much better this year. “I think they look more physical than they were last year,” he said. “Their running back is a tall, tough back and very impressive.” Podley was referring to Eagles tailback Phillip Toleafoa, who ran for 124 yards last week. “When you play a big, tough running back like him, you have to be a good tackler,” Podley said. “That’s what we need to be. We can’t be bouncing off them. The first guy there has to make the tackle.” — Aram Tolegian can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2233, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!