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Coach Says Winless Tartars Need to Develop Team Concept

October 26, 1989|DICK WAGNER

The Compton College Tartars, who lost to L.A. Valley College, 47-0, last week, are 0-6 and have been outscored, 238-27.

They have a new football coach, Lalo Mendoza, who had a 119-58-4 record coaching at Verbum Dei High School of Los Angeles. Mendoza succeeded Art Perkins, who was 49-65 in 10 years at Compton.

The Tartars have 42 players. Most of the other teams in the Western States Conference have 60 or more.

Only nine Tartars are sophomores. And some of the freshmen graduated from high school in 1986 or '87, and "are not in the best of shape and not in tune with the game," Mendoza said.

In making the transition to a higher level of football, Mendoza has noticed one big difference.

"It's been difficult," he said, "because you're dealing with a different type of student. The overall control you have at the high school level you don't have here. (The players) are more independent, and that creates a certain amount of selfishness among individuals. The biggest thing we have to do is develop a sense of team concept. We're making strides toward that."

The Tartars' leading player is quarterback Terren Adams, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound freshman from Compton High School. He has rushed for 228 yards in 28 carries and completed 28 of 65 passes for 334 yards.

Adams starred in football and basketball at Compton High and plans to do the same with the Tartars. He practices with the basketball team for two hours each afternoon before going to football practice.

Compton College averages a crowd of about 400 for its home games.

"There aren't too many huge empty pockets (in the stands)," Mendoza said. "We get parents, girlfriends, kids from the neighborhood. There's an interest, a ray of hope that it's going to change, that it's going to get better."

It's not likely to get better this week, though. The Tartars play Saturday night at Bakersfield, the top-ranked team in the Western States Conference.

"They have this huge stadium, a fabulous place," Mendoza said. "Sometimes kids get in a setting like that and they tend to play over their heads."

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