The Compton football team is in uncharted territory this week as they prepare for their semifinal against Tahquitz on Friday.
Even as the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 12 playoffs, the Tarbabes are entering the semifinals for the first time since 1979.
The way that they reached the semifinal is no surprise as coach Calvin Bryant has relied on a strong double-wing rushing attack to control possession and wear teams down by the fourth quarter.
That’s exactly what the Tarbabes have done as they rushed for 516 yards in a first round win against Costa Mesa and then senior runningback Deon Johnson rushed for 128 yards in a quarterfinal victory against Walnut last week.
It’s standard for a team coached by Bryant to be led by a fearsome runner or two that keep Compton pushing forward in an offense that doesn’t pass much.
Deon Johnson and Erick Barrios are the current Compton duo looking to take the Tarbabes to a championship for the first time since 1979.
They’re a one-two punch that can break free at any time and they root for each other every step of the way.
“The way I see it – it’s not Batman and Robin, but Batman and Batman,” Johnson said of Barrios. “We both know we can score at any time and that’s what we try to do.”
While one or the other may sit at the top of rushing total on any given night, the other isn’t far behind and it starts in the film room where the two hold each other accountable.
“We’ll be watching film and if we see either one of us make a mistake, we’ll let each other know,” Barrios said. “We have a great relationship. I’ve been playing with him these last three years.”
Barrios and Johnson are just another dynamic duo that coach Bryant has been able to have flourish – joining the likes of Jai Smith, Niles Hibbert, Christian Swint, Terrance Pratt and Anthony Wright.
“They’re great runners and whatever system they’re in they’d be good players,” Bryant said.
Compton will be on the road this week for their CIF-SS semifinal against Tahquitz, but there could be a sweet ending to their road trip–they’ve got a 50/50 chance to host the championship in Compton depending on their opponent.