A new coach, an emergency quarterback and the toughest schedule in school history. There are several places to look for an explanation for Colony High School’s 0-3 start to the football season.
Steve Randall literally was drawing up plays in the dirt during summer passing league. The former Ontario head coach wasn’t hired by Colony until the end of May, which allowed him two weeks of practice prior to a dead period. Of course, the quarterback who threw for him during passing league transferred out of Colony, along with one of his best receivers, just prior to the season.
“We’ve been behind the eight ball ever since,” Randall said. “This isn’t the start anybody taking over a program would want. We’re just trying to play catch-up.”
The Titans also play a schedule set up for the program that reached the semifinals last season as it built steam in its second year under former head coach Matt Bechtel, now an assistant at Chino Hills. Randall labeled it the toughest schedule in school history and Colony has yet to face the most revered member of that slate. This week the Titans pay a visit to undefeated Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro, a CIF-SS Pac-5 Division semifinalist last season.
The first three on the schedule were West Covina South Hills, Corona and Glendora, which are a combined 5-2 this season. One of those losses is to a defending CIF champion.
It was against Corona that Colony was forced to employ its emergency quarterback after a back injury to Jonathan Trucks, whose primary position was expected to be punter this season. Nerve damage to the junior could keep him out for several weeks.
It’s not that the Titans are in bad hands. After all, their emergency quarterback is a receiver committed to Arizona. But Samajie Grant is so versatile that limiting him to the backfield may be a disadvantage.
“Jonathan tried to suck it up and play for a couple of weeks, but his back was just getting to a point where he was starting to have a hard time even walking and we just couldn’t do it anymore,” Randall said. “With Samajie, he’s got a tremendous arm and he’s our best athlete.
“You’ve got people saying that it’s great to have the ball in his hands every play but that also limits the other things he does.”
Grant threw two touchdowns and ran for another in Friday’s 47-29 loss to Glendora, the only one of three games to get out of hand. Even then, the Titans trailed by just a touchdown entering the fourth quarter, but a young linebacking corps allowed Glendora running back Cade Lindsey to finish with 315 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
The Titans nearly began the season with the momentum rolling in the opposite direction but gave up 21 consecutive points in the second half of a season-opening loss to West Covina South Hills.
Of course, once Mt. Baldy League play arrives Sept. 21, Colony will begin anew.
The four league teams that made the playoffs last season have a combined record of 2-10 thus far.
“When I saw the schedule after I got the job, I told the kids we could go 0-4 and still be a good football team,” Randall said. “I’ve been places where the expectation is to win and that’s why I came here, ’cause I want to win. But I understand that the fan base at a place like Colony can get impatient when you start 0-3.”