Miscues, Doom Compton Injuries at Paramount – The562.org

There was a stoppage of play in the first quarter because the referees noticed blood on the ball. That’s the kind of game it was on Friday night when Compton visited Paramount for a hometown non-league clash.

When the dust finally settled, Compton came up short in a 20-18 loss to the Pirates despite suffering multiple key injuries and self-inflicted injuries.

“That’s tough,” Compton coach Calvin Bryant said. “Congratulations to Paramount, they played a great game and won it, but we just put the ball in the ground. You can’t win a football game when you lose the ball.”

Compton (2-1) fumbled five times in the game, with the last fumble coming midway through the fourth quarter when Paramount junior Nigel Mills fumbled and scored from 45 yards. That put the Pirates up 20-12, and though Compton scored on his next drive thanks to a 12-yard touchdown run by Tai’jon Direaux, the resulting two-point conversion faltered and Compton’s final drive of the night was stalled at Paramount 30-yard line with a minute to play.

“We’re trying to play tough football,” Paramount coach Matt Howard said. “We know (Compton) plays tough football, so we challenged our kids and they stepped up. Their offense is hard to stop and we played very well.”

Paramount (1-1) didn’t give up a touchdown to Compton’s offense until Amir Ford interrupted a 73-yard run for ground late in the third quarter. That cut the Pirates’ lead to 14-12 after the failed 2-point conversion. Compton went 0-for-3 on his 2-point conversion attempts.

There were four key moments in the game where Compton could have won the ball back from Paramount’s strong running game and youthful Bishop Williams, but penalties and mental errors allowed the Pirates to dominate time of possession.

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“I felt like we kept our defense on the field for a long time,” Bryant said. “Offensively we stutter and try to fight without having some of our guys there. We have to find a way to keep playing and see who wants to step up.”

Compton’s star running back, Eric Barrios, looked good as he gained 46 yards on his first five carries of the game, but had to be helped off the field with a knee injury in the first quarter. Fellow Compton running back Jeremiah Hall also had to leave the game with a shoulder injury in the first half.

Ford, Direaux, Deshawn Sheppard and others tried to carry the load of Compton’s run-heavy offense, but a lack of explosiveness in the backfield limited their big-play potential down the stretch of a close game.

The tone was set early when Compton fumbled on the second play of the game, and then four plays later Ikechukwu Okogbue put Paramount up 7-0 with a 21-yard touchdown run down the middle.

Compton entered Paramount’s red zone in their next two series, but penalties and loose shots caused both series to end with no points for the visitors.

About midway through the second quarter, Compton took advantage of a Paramount fumble when Hall made the error for a 45-yard touchdown that cut the Pirates’ lead to 7–6.

Paramount responded with a 10-play drive that ended in a 5-yard touchdown run by Sebastian Smith just before halftime that made it 14-6 at halftime. Compton had a chance to stop that drive, but he inadvertently touched a punt that was recovered by Paramount.

Both teams traded quick runs to start the second half before Ford’s long touchdown run. After a long drive from Paramount was stopped in Compton’s red zone, it looked like the visitors were ready to pick up that momentum and take the lead on the next possession.

Instead, Mills came up with the game of the game to strip the ball near Compton’s sideline and take it himself for what would end up being the game-winning touchdown.

“I saw the ball and all I thought about was stripping it,” Mills said. “I thought my teammates might tackle me, but I put him back in the crib… (This game) was about how hard my boy fought. We play hard, we play together, we play hard and fast.”

“He leads the defense and he’s in the right places at the right times,” Howard said of Mills, who returned an interception for a touchdown last week.

Compton responded well with a nine-play scoring drive that Direaux capped with a TD, and then, after forcing a turnover on attempts with about three minutes left, Compton quarterback Aava Lilomaiava found Kingston Moa on a game-action pass for 33 yards that put the visitors in position to win the game. However, a holding penalty ended the momentum, and then a couple of misses ended the comeback.

“We need to watch and film and see what our weaknesses are,” Bryant said. “We are making a lot of mistakes in crucial situations. We have to go back to the drawing board and try to put the pieces together to improve and hopefully be ready for next week.”

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