Second year Bonita coach Adrian Medrano appears more relaxed than he was in his rookie season. Then again, appearances can be deceptive.
“As a coach, you’re never comfortable,” said Medrano, holing up in the Bonita football trailer with some of his coaches minutes before Monday practice and three days before the Smudge Pot kicks off the local football season at Citrus College in Glendora. “At least, you’re not comfortable until the horn blows and you look up and see that your team has more points than the other team.”
But Medrano was feeling pretty good after watching his team play Northview in a scrimmage on Friday, where Bonita scored seven touchdowns to Norhview’s one.
“We’re looking pretty good right now,” Medrano said.
The coach reserved his highest praise for his defense, led by linebackers Thomas Loy and Noah Montoya, a first-team all-league choice last season, defensive lineman Christian McQueen, corners Dimas Diaz and Danny Gelalich and free safety Brendan Smith, who broke his leg last season against La Serna.
“Smith looks great,” Medrano said. “He’s completely healthy.”
As for his defensive unit, Medrano said it has a healthy attitude.
“It’s not a group of superstars, where you see a bunch of guys who are 6-3 and 230 pounds, but they can play and they can hit,” Medrano said.
On offense, Medrano has senior Tanner Diebold calling the signals. “He’s prepped and ready to go,” Medrano said. “Now it’s all about him shining under the bright lights.”
Diebold should have plenty of protection this year. Enforcing the pocket will be center Joe Tolar and tackles Jonathan Aleriano and Matt Couch.
“Couch is the biggest guy on our team,” Medrano said. “You’re looking at a guy who is about 6-4, 270 pounds.
Given the timeto throw, Diebold will be looking to connect with receiver Christian Cobian, who will also assume the kicking chores, and Christian Ramos.
“Ramos is probably one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever been around,” Medraon said. “I really like his work ethic and attitude.”
The team’s attitude approaching Thursday opening showdown against San Dimas is more button-down and business-like. Think IBM. This year, you won’t see any of Medrano’s players sporting crazy hair cuts or dye jobs.
“We could do all that stuff and buy into all the hype, but if we don’t win, it’s all moot,” he said, still nursing the pain of last year’s 37-36 loss to San Dimas. “We definitely want the Smudge Pot back, but we have to stay focused on the task at hand.
Although long-time coach Eric Podley now sports a jacket and tie as assistant principal and won’t be found in any football huddles anymore, Medrano still can count on the coaching core of Ray Medina and Dave Flores.
While Medrano appreciates the continuity is also excited about the new faces in camp, which Adonis Jones (Monrovia), John Lagilotti (Glendora), Chris Alcarez (La Serna and Covina) and a couple of home-grown products in Garrett Pendleton (former Bonita quarter back) and Cody McKenzie (former first team defensive line specialist).
“We’ve got a great mix of coaching talent,” Medrano said, anxiously looking up at a wall clock.
“Hey,talking about being more business-like, gotta go,” he added. “We have practice right now.”
So the interview abruptly ended, with Medrano grabbing his clipboard and racing out of the trailer.
Indeed, the interview ended, but the season is just beginning!
Bonita v. San Dimas, August 29, 7 p.m. Citrus College