Spotlight shines bright on loaded Serra High School
GARDENA, Calif. – There's a saying: "When the lights are on, it's time to perform."
The lights have never been brighter at Serra than they will be for the 2013 season.
The number of players that have scholarship offers are 14 and counting, making the reigning Western Division champs a sure-fire pick to repeat.
Last week, Calpreps.com revealed their national rankings and had the Cavaliers pegged as the No. 2 team in the country.
The lights are bright, and coach Scott Altenberg likes it that way.
"When the light shines, I want guys going towards it," Altenberg said. "That's who I want to play.
"When those tests come, a Serra guy is a guy that's going to step forward."
On this team, he has those guys in leaders like super athlete Adoree' Jackson, linebacker Dwight Williams, and quarterback Jalen Greene, a Boise State commit.
They're the next in line for a program that has quickly become one of the nation's best.
What started with Buffalo Bills receiver Robert Woods and current USC receives Marqise Lee and George Farmer has been carried on by the likes of Jackson, Williams, Greene and others.
They know they're the hunted, but that's fine by them. Those that came before them were the hunted as well, and they made sure to show them the ropes.
Williams tells a story from his freshman year when, as a member of the freshman team, they lost a home game to Narbonne. After the game was over, the older members in the program made sure the youngster knew that wasn't acceptable.
"I remember we couldn't go in the locker room for so long because we had never lost on that field before," Williams recounted. "(The upperclassmen told us) 'I can't believe you guys lost.'"
As young freshmen, they had no choice but to think about what just happened. Banned from the locker room, the realization hit them: losing shouldn't happen -- home losses are unacceptable.
So how did the tough love resonate?
"(We) never lost another game on that field again," the star linebacker said.
This year's edition of the Cavaliers have the ability to not only run the table at home, but run the table on the season.
The talent on the team was well documented throughout the offseason, however, just like any team, there are some questions.
There are spots on the offensive line that need to be addressed, and the backfield was hit hard by injury.
Junior tailback Malik Roberson was lost for the season after tearing his ACL while competing in the Masters meet during track season. His backup, senior Josh Thomas, tore his ACL during 7-on-7 competition.
However, what looks bleak may not be so bleak after all. Jackson has been receiving reps at tailback and will get his fair share of the carries.
"There are worse things in this world," Altenberg said.
Jackson is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.
The challenge of replacing Roberson, all while keeping the Serra lore alive is something this group is looking forward to.
"The attention's on us and we're going to try not to disappoint," Jackson said.
The lights are on.