Coach Chuck Garcia is eagerly anticipating his second year as head mentor for the Bronco football program. After 35 years as an assistant coach for high school teams and Hancock Community College, Garcia got his feet wet in 2011 while leading his junior varsity team to a 7-2 record, including a seven-game winning streak.
“Being a head high school football coach is not an easy thing,” he explained this week in his campus office. “Last year was the first time I dealt face-to-face with parents, with administrators, with the news media and with football referees.
“I made it through the year without upsetting too many people,” he said with a chuckle. This year he is “more organized” and knows what hoops to jump through and moreover, people in the community know him and he believes they respect his handling of the program.
“Everybody is really supporting us, the administration is supportive and my athletic director is supportive.”
He found out quickly last year that the players needed to learn how to block and tackle, the most fundamental components of any successful football team.
“We’re going to practice tackling every day, we’re going to be very aggressive.” He believes that great progress was made especially on tackling, “and I want to build on that.”
As to 8-man football — a new format the Broncos will use this season — the biggest difference from 11-man, in the coach’s view, will be on defense. Instead of down linemen in the game on defense, Garcia plans to have perhaps “four linebackers and four defensive backs or three linebackers and five defensive backs.”
Garcia and his offensive coach Charlie Casale expect about 35 student athletes to participate in this week’s practices, including newcomer Kissliv Justo. Garcia is excited about the 6’ 1”, 295-pound Justo, whose family moved to Cambria from Wisconsin.
“He is an absolute monster in the weight room,” Garcia explained, noting that Justo has already set Bronco weight-lifting records. “He’s not a fat kid, he’s big and thick.”
The Broncos open their season with a scrimmage at Faith Baptist on Saturday, Aug. 25, and the regular season begins at Coast Union on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. All home and away games will be broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5).