Quick Hitter: High Expectations for Bonita Freshman Team … by Peter Bennett

August 11, 2012
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Coach Chastain pounds out a point about playing as a team.

Coach Chastain pounds out a point about playing as a team.

A teacher of U.S. and world history on the Bonita campus, freshman football head coach Chuck Chastain brings a lot of perspective to the position, and this upcoming season, he especially likes what he sees.

“Last year, we lacked a little depth at some of the positions and we had some injuries we couldn’t overcome but this year’s team is really deep,” said Chastain, preparing to enter his 10th year of coaching for the Bearcats. “We have a lot of guys who should contribute for us.”

Right now, the team counts about 66 freshman players. They’re both sore and scrappy, having just finished two-a-days on Friday. Now Chastain has the job of molding all those players into a fighting unit, ready to play San Dimas at Glenn Davis Stadium on Aug. 24 at 3 p.m.

Chastain’s backfield looks solid.

“While were lacking a little depth in the trenches, we’ve got the backers,” Chastain said. “Romeo Gutierrez is going to be a key player for us. He plays fullback and linebacker. He is just a fantastic runner. He hits very well. He shows great leadership.

“We’ve got another good one in Brandon Bradshaw. He’s the same kind of player as Romeo. He plays the same positions and he’s very effective.

“Both players have been coached well and they should be solid performers for us.”

Handing off the ball to them will be southpaw quarterback  AJ Woodall.

“He just has to work on his mechanical stuff, shifting from baseball to football,” Chastain said. “But he throws the ball hard. He’s a good-sized kid. He listens well. He runs hard. He’s going to be good.”

In the last decade, Chastain has modified his coaching style in keeping with rule changes designed to further protect players, with regard to heat exhaustion and concussions, but the passion he brings to his coaching craft hasn’t changed an iota.

“You have to bring passion to the game, teaching the kids and making the program better,” he said.

He enjoys a special relationship with the varsity staff, especially new head coach Adrian Medrano. They were teammates during the University of La Verne playing days. As a result, Medrano can count on Chastain to send him players well prepared to face the challenges of varsity football

“We are not missing a beat,” Chastain said. “Medrano is a young guy. The kids like him and respond well to him. He’s going to do a great job this year. He’s doing everything he can to get the boys prepared.”

Over the last several years, Bonita has been a perennial CIF playoff contender, and that road to success has clearly started with the freshman unit.

“I think especially over the last four years you’ve seen our freshman players make that successful transition to varsity,” Chastain said.

For now, Chastain isn’t so much worried about filling the varsity ranks with top, coachable players, but rather tough young players who will be ready to take on San Dimas on the 24th of August.

“We’ve got some good things going on,” Chastain said. “The talent and potential are there. My job is to put it together.”

For now, Chastain and the Bonita freshmen enter the season fully confident. He has no complaints about the players, his coaching staff, the field, or even the equipment. He says he’s been given all the help any coach could ever want.

“We could use some cooler weather, though,” Chastain said.

Rodeo Jewelers in La Verne can customize any piece of jewelry to remember the upcoming season by. Owner Koko Vartanian will amaze you with his creativity and superior award-winning designs. Stop by to see the magic for yourself at 1560 Foothill Blvd. or call (909) 593-7537.

One Response to “Quick Hitter: High Expectations for Bonita Freshman Team … by Peter Bennett”

  1. Chuck is a terrific guy as well as a fine football coach. I’ve long said that the best Coaches weren’t always the best players but people who learned by observing good other good Coaches at work. Chastain is a great example of this having prepped at Norco under Todd Gerhart and then mentored by Eric Podley at Bonita.

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