Niles Hibbert
Compton Football

COLUMN: The Football Resurgence Is Real At Compton

The drumline has always been good at Compton High, but it’s beating a little louder in 2018 thanks to a memorable start to the football season. The Tarbabes have started the season 2-0 for the first time in eight years, as head coach Calvin Bryant’s rebuild of the program looks to be complete.

“It’s been a long time, man,” said Bryant after his team beat Santa Monica. “We’re feeling good, it’s great to be 2-0.”

Compton has won its first two games by a combined score of 54-6, and is now the last school in the Moore League to be undefeated. Niles Hibbert and Terrence Pratt have both been stars in the backfield in Compton’s vaunted double-wing, but Bryant was true to his word before the season started when he said they were going to throw the ball more this year, too. Jesse Brew and Bill Wilson have proven to be accurate QBs capable of making quick reads.

The bigger surprise might be the Compton defense, which actually hasn’t given up any points yet this year. Santa Monica scored one touchdown on the Tarbabes last week, but it was on a scoop-and-score from a fumble by the Compton O.

“Especially with a run game like ours, it’s always going to start with the defense,” said Bryant. “They’re the reason we’re able to be successful.”

Compton fans are talking about the playoffs this year, and about the possibility of a deep playoff run. Their team was ranked No. 7 in CIF after its first game, something that hadn’t happened in years. Now attention turns towards what might be the biggest game of the season, as Compton visits rival Dominguez at 7 p.m. on Friday for the Hub City Classic championship.

Having already beaten Compton Centennial 41-0, a win on Friday would give the Tarbabes bragging rights in their city for the year.

Dominguez, which is 1-1 under head coach Deon Toliver, has controlled the city on the gridiron and isn’t going to want to give up the Hub City championship, which it’s won the last several years.

“That’s the game everyone around here gets excited for, it should be a fun one,” said Bryant.

Regardless, with a 2-0 record and bright playoff hopes, the football resurgence at Compton is real.

VIDEO: Compton vs. Compton Centennial, Football

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.