Football in Inglewood has become more thrilling as of late, and it’s not because of the Rams and Chargers eventual move out there. The Inglewood Sentinel football team had a change in personnel, helping the team escape from their disparaging past to become the undefeated powerhouse they are today.
Their new head coach, Mil’Von James, was glad to assemble a coaching staff and create a new culture, seeing potential in the school and the city.
“I was excited and the whole staff was excited about what is happening in Inglewood, so it made it really easy to choose this job,” James said. “Inglewood is about to be the epicenter of sports.”
James has been molding the local talent to be a competitive force, ensuring they live up to Inglewood’s nickname: City of Champions. Senior wide receiver, Montana Lemonious-Craig, was one of the many players who embraced their new coaches. He had played for Inglewood since his freshman year; as a native to the city, it was his dream to attend Inglewood.
“I came here, and I was gonna be successful,” he said. “Now it’s starting to look bright this season.”
The Sentinels were ready for the rebuild and excited for the possibilities back in the summer and now the team is excelling. The Sentinels made a statement in their home opening victory against the Hamilton Yankees. Lemonious-Craig had a season high of 136 receiving yards that game. They allowed the Yankees seven points and the next three teams even less.
Inglewood also snapped the winning streak of Gardena with a 68-14 victory. Junior wide receiver Orion Peters made five receptions for 156 yards and three touchdowns. The Sentinels found a lead early and never looked back.
“The second quarter, we were kind of warm,” Peters said. “Coming off the first quarter, we have to be a little bit faster and picking up the momentum.”
Senior quarterback Jared Heywood scored 27 passing touchdowns over the past six games.
Lemonious-Craig noted how the team goal is to contend while having a strong bond among teammates. Improvements started for the team as early as January.
“The weightroom has been taken 100 percent more seriously,” he said. “The coaches are great with developing skill.”
Junior lineman, Devin Hancox, worked on being more aggressive along with improving his technique in the offseason. Transitioning to a new coach was not a difficult task, he experienced it in his previous years with the team. Honcox wants to be a great team player and get more sacks and tackles this year.
“Inglewood the city is getting bigger,” he said. “For me to come here and play football as the Rams and the Chargers are bringing it up, it just means a lot to me.”
Hancox has made 11.0 tackles for loss so far this season.
James previously coached at Hawkins where developed several athletes, including USC corner, Greg Johnson and Texas linebacker, De’Gabriel Floyd. His years there helped him improve his coaching ability and understand the prep athletes of this age.
“As a coach, you have to understand what and how to motivate your kids,” he said. “From the moment I stepped on campus, they’ve been welcoming, they’ve been ready and thirsty for knowledge for the game of football.”