AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “Our offensive line is really big this year and they’re strong,” Tavizon said. “Each guy is around 275 pounds and they can all bench press over 300. “Plus, it helps that all three of our running backs returned this year, so if one goes down, the other two can fill in and we never miss a beat. Our running game is our bread and butter. We tried passing a few years ago but it just didn’t work for us.” The way the year started, it looked like Ross was going to run for 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. After gaining 169 yards against Northview in the opener, Ross broke the school single-game record, which had stood for 23 years, the next week against El Modena, gaining 336 yards. One week later, Ross was having another great game against West Covina, gaining 207 yards before suffering a high ankle sprain. Not too many football teams on any level have running backs that average over 200 yards a game, but Paramount High does in Clifford Ross. But when the 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior sprained his ankle in Week 3 against West Covina, Pirates coach Art Tavizon didn’t even blink, much less break a sweat about it. He simply put in the next guy on the depth chart and watched him run. These days, it seems no matter who’s running the ball for Paramount, all they do is run for over 100 yards and, more importantly, help the Pirates win. Thanks to a strong offensive line and a trio of talented running backs, Paramount is off to a 4-1 start heading into its San Gabriel Valley League opener Friday at Warren (1-4). The Pirates eventually lost 17-14, but since then, Ross’s backups have filled in more than admirably. In a 26-14 win over Verbum Dei on Sept. 30, Gaston Wilson stepped in and ran for 179 yards while Rolando Upshaw gained 126. And last week, Wilson rushed for 214 yards in a 26-0 win over Marina. “It was tough to see Cliff get hurt but when he did, all of us knew we had to step up our game,” Wilson said. “This is our time to show what we can do. “All of us could probably start at another school but when Cliff comes back, we know that he’ll get most of the carries and we’ll do whatever the team needs us to do. This is not a selfish group.” Through five games, despite missing two games with his injury, Ross still leads the SGVL in rushing with 639 yards and Wilson is second with 460. And just to further illustrate how dominant Paramount’s running attack has been this year, every player who’s run the ball at least 20 times, including Upshaw and Eric Doucette, is averaging over 6 yards per carry. But all the running backs will be quick to point out they couldn’t have done it without the magnificent play of their offensive line, which is led by senior tackles Johnny Tivao and Demetrius Amos as well as senior tight end DeAndre Long. “We believe in what we do and the bottom line is no matter who’s running the ball for us, we trust them,” Amos said. “We know they’re going to do their jobs and we have to do ours.” “We have a saying here, never stop until the whistle blows,” Tivao said. “People think we only have Cliff but I think we’ve showed the last few weeks, we’re more than a one-man team.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!