2019 Islander Football Season Kicks Off Friday Night At 7:00 p.m. - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Sports

2019 Islander Football Season Kicks Off Friday Night At 7:00 p.m.

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 1:40 pm | Updated: 4:14 pm, Fri Aug 23, 2019.

Coronado High School has fielded a football team since 1913. Friday night the Islanders, under third-year Head Coach Kurt Hines, will take the field against Maranatha Christian High School, with the kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Due to an Athletic Department Open House celebration, no admission will be charged for the game, with donations accepted. Please refer to the Open House details below.

Last week the Islanders held a Green vs. White scrimmage on the brand new artificial turf installation at Niedermeyer Field. It was the first time the team had been on the new field and there was one primary difference, which was green rubber pellets replacing the familiar black pellets embedded in the turf, which should keep the field cooler in the summer. Also, the field is a true multi-purpose facility, home to multiple Islander sports. There are now permanent field markings for soccer, boy’s lacrosse and girl’s lacrosse, in addition to football.

Back to last week’s scrimmage. Hines, who doubles as the team’s head coach and offensive coordinator, called the plays for the First and Second Team Offensive units, while Assistant Head Coach Mark Davis, who is now in his 18th year with the program, made the calls for the First and Second Team Defenses. It’s probably no surprise the first teams on both sides dominated play. Another scrimmage highlight was JV Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Terry Leary serving as the head linesman for the contest.

“The scrimmage was good, but it wasn’t great,” said Hines. “The guys worked hard and there were a lot of simple mistakes that we will address through practice and film. But I was proud of the effort.”

At schools with smaller student enrollments, it’s common for the better athletes to play on both sides of the ball. So as Coach Hines takes us through his starting lineup, several of the names will be listed twice. “On offense we have wide receiver Tyler Buckley, who is a returning starter and one of our captains. Wide receiver James Witthoft is a captain and returning starter. On our offensive line we actually have four starters returning in left tackle Jack Weisbrod, Kai Concepcion who is our left guard and our third captain, Phillip Simpson is our returning senior center, and right guard John Rawlins didn’t start on the line last year, but he had a tremendous offseason and is looking very, very good. At right tackle is Edward Hayes, with Kanon Billings and Ryan Ward at the other receiver spots. Ash Bibbes was our backup quarterback last year and he did start a few games. So he is a returning semi-starter and we are looking for a huge season out of him. We have junior James Ferrar and sophomore Aiden Dillehay competing for the starting spot at running back and they’ll both get playing time.”

Now over to the defense as Coach Hines continued. “Up front we have Simpson and Rawlins at tackles and Jacob McHenry, who is a small, stout guy who is really fast and explosive. He should have a great year. Witthoft is our mike backer (middle linebacker) and we will run a three-five defense (three down linemen and five linebackers) defense. Our outside linebackers are Brady Roulier and Dillehay. That is who we have on the board right now. Our inside linebackers are Hayes and Charlie Miller. At the corners we have Ferrar and Buckley and Billings is our safety. There has been good competition at most of the spots and a lot may change in the coming weeks.”

The above portion of our preview was conducted prior to Saturday’s scrimmage against Montgomery High School, played at Hillcrest High. Unlike the approach to pre-season games taken by head coaches at the professional level, this game means something to Hines and the team. “We’re focusing on the game with Montgomery. On one hand it’s a glorified scrimmage. On the other, they play a large number of the same teams we play, and we’ll see how we match up with them. We want to play well against Montgomery.”

Looking ahead, the Islanders are once again in the Central League with Clairemont, Crawford, Hoover and Serra. Hines handicapped the conference race, “Serra won the league last year and they’re really good. They are also the team to beat in CIF Division IV. They have some studs returning from last year and they are a very formidable opponent. We hear Crawford and Clairemont are on the rise. Looking at our schedule, Classical Academy is good, and Mar Vista was tough last year. I’m excited about our schedule, but there aren’t any cakewalks by any means.”

As for the overall direction of program, Hines is upbeat. “Coach Davis mentioned to me last week that this was the greatest off-season he has seen in the time he has been here, as far as the number of young men working out, plus the focus and interest in our strength and conditioning program. I was thrilled to hear that. We averaged 35-40 kids at each session. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’re getting there. We are also bucking the trend of schools with declining numbers in the football program. Our numbers are up. My first year we had 50 players and this year so far we are at 68.”

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