Summertime isn’t slack-off time for the 2013 Coast Union High School Bronco football team.
Approaching to within 60 yards of the weight room at Coast Union on a warm Wednesday afternoon, June 26, a reporter hears classic rock music at volume levels so intense a decibel meter needle would be maxed out.
Coming closer, above the musical din the unmistakable sound of steel slamming into steel can be heard as a room full of athletes pump iron in preparation for this fall and the second year of Bronco eight-man football.
There may have been an added touch of competitive passion in the room because between July 1 and 21, CIF rules forbid coaches from having any contact with their players. Hence, this was the next to the last weight room workout the team would have with head coach Charlie Casale for three weeks.
Aside from the sweat and strain and clanking of weights, one gets the distinct impression that these players are having fun and that they like each other. While performing bench presses, “squats,” “cleans” and “dead lift” exercises, the Broncos “spot” and encourage each other.
“They bond here in the weight room,” said Casale. “They like each other and bond together and that’s huge.
"Then when we get in a tough game next fall, it’s fourth down at the goal line, someone in the huddle will say, ‘We worked hard all summer for this moment,’” Casale continued, excitement in his voice.
Meanwhile the clatter of weights subsided as the coach announced that Binh Trieu was about to attempt a record (for running backs) in the squat event. Weights were loaded onto the bar until Trieu’s challenge was raised to 405 pounds. Activities came to a stop and the team gathered around as the talented junior running back/kick returner got under the bar, set his feet, and gripped the bar with aggressive determination.
With all his strength focused, and an expression that showed the strain of a young man trying to lift the whole world, Trieu elevated that bar the required distance and a cheer went up. His name is now on the Bronco record chart posted high on the north wall of the room.
Casale, who handled the head coaching job at Mt. Whitney High School football program in the San Joaquin Valley from 1975-1987 (compiling a 99-38-2 record) and from 1993-1999 (44-31) and has served as offensive coordinator at Coast Union the past few years – is in his first year as Bronco head coach.
“We’re really going to be good on the passing,” said Casale, with his ever-present enthusiasm, “and we’re going to be good on the run too.”
After last year’s impressive 7-3 record – led by talented juniors who now are experienced seniors – betting against the Broncos would be as risky as predicting rain showers on the Fourth of July at Shamel Park.