Jake Goossen-Brown openly admits that he didn’t know much about the history of Morro Bay High School football history before he took the open coaching position this year. All he knew was that he wanted to be a head coach.
The vacancy had been created by the firing of David Kelley following an offensive remark referring to the LGBTQ community in October of last season, but the program had been in disarray for some years.
There had been years where the band seemingly outnumbered the football team, and the school — without a winning season since 2013 — was mired in one of the county’s worst losing stretches in recent memory.
But it was a memory that Goossen-Brown didn’t share.
So when the job opened up, Goossen-Brown took it, and so far, he’s helped to make those memories a part of the distant past.
On Friday night, the Pirates beat Mira Monte of Bakersfield 27-14 to improve to 3-2 on the year — as many wins as the past two seasons combined.
“I was excited for the opportunity,” Goossen-Brown said. “I’ve wanted to be a head coach for a long time, and honestly, I didn’t know much about what (Morro Bay) had done in the past.”
QB and defense lead the way for Pirates
Behind accurate passing from junior quarterback Kevin Franco and physical defense, the Pirates led 20-7 at halftime.
They stopped the Lions on fourth down on the 3-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the first half, and recovered a fumble inside the 10-yard line in the second half.
Franco tossed scores to Orion Solu and Dylan Turner with only one incomplete pass on the night.
“Kevin is a great athlete,” Goossen-Brown said. “He’s a real student of the game. He’s here 6:30 in the morning — we’re watching film, we’re on the board.
“So, he knows this offense probably as well as I do.”
Turner also had a 13-yard rushing touchdown and Marshall Beecham had another from eight yards out.
Players from last year’s losing team transformed
Solu and Beecham were on last year’s team that went 1-9, and they’re having an impact this season. They aren’t the only ones. Across the roster, players that experienced the losing ways are in key roles — and thriving.
Junior linebacker Hayden Brown, another player from last year, had a sack and forced fumble.
“We have some great leaders on this team,” Goossen-Brown said. “We have great community backing and parent involvement. Our coaches are coaching their butts off, and we’re getting better every day.”
The Pirates started the season slow, dropping the first two games by a combined score of 44-0. They have rallied since, rattling off three straight wins.
Winning is something that Goossen-Brown is used to. With Goossen-Brown as an assistant at Notre Dame in Los Angeles, the Knights went 80-45 and won four league championships over his 13 years there.
Goossen-Brown’s uncle is former longtime Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen, who was on the sidelines to watch his nephew coach against Mira Monte.
What’s next for Morro Bay
The Pirates will play at home against a high-powered offense in St. Vincent de Paul (5-1) of Petaluma, which has scored at least 28 points in five of its six games.
Other SLO and northern Santa Barbara county scores
San Luis Obispo 37, Hanford West 0
Bullard 28, Arroyo Grande 21
Herbert Hoover 14, Nipomo 13
Sanger 42, Paso Robles 14
Central Valley Christian 62, Mission Prep 35
Templeton 54, Santa Ynez 10
Coast Union 71, Frazier Mountrain 20
Garces Memorial 35, Pioneer Valley 0
Righetti 35, Dos Pueblos 6
Lompoc 28, St. Joseph 14