It’s hard enough trying to jump start a struggling football program. It’s even tougher when you’re competing in the Baseline League.
That’s the tough task ahead of new coach Alex Pierce who moved to the school this year after an impressive run slightly East at Carter High School.
The Grizzlies were just 1-9 last year and have won just seven games in the last three years. The last winning season was a 6-4 showing in 2011.
Neighborhood rival Rancho Cucamonga is the juggernaut right now. Upland’s young team has matured and looks poised for a breakout season and Etiwanda, the other city school, always gets good athletes. Chino Hills, Damien, yes you get the picture. It has been a tough go for the Grizzlies.
Pierce is ready for the challenge though. His goal is to get the students who should be at his school to come to the school, rather then skip to one of the rivals or yet another school.
“This is a great academic school with a lot of other things to offer too. If the football program was a little better it would go a long way toward keeping those kids here,” he said. “I hate to use a college example, but there is Stanford. That’s a great example of school with academics that is also competitive. It can be done. It won’t be easy and no we have to do some things different.”
Pierce will serve as offensive coordinator as well with Tommy Martinez, now the school’s athletic director but the head football coach the last time the team had a winning season, stepping in to serve as defensive coordinator.
Pierce does have a solid quarterback returning in senior Brett Cabral, who threw for 1,409 yards in nine games. The key will be having enough weapons around Cabral to make the offense more formidable. The new coach is also high on junior wide receiver Andrew Walker and running back Kyle Jorgenson, who will also be an impact player at linebacker.
The line will be led by seniors Brandon Funke and Brandon Trejo.
Demsive standouts include senior linebacker Connor Helsius, senior nose tackle Matthew Williams, senior lineman Tahi Fakava and senior linebacker Isaiah Peck.
Right now Pierce has 100 players between the varsity and junior varsity teams and another 50 working the with freshman team.
“We’re going to play hard and try and outwork everyone else on both sides of the ball,” Pierce said. “We’re going to find a way and that way won’t be the same as everyone else’s way.”
Los Osos makes its debut on Aug. 25 against, of all teams, Carter – the team Carter just left. The schedule was made long before Pierce interviewed for the job and he admits walking the visitor’s sideline at that school will be difficult.
“It will be a little awkward, no doubt,” he said.
LOS OSOS SCHEDULE
Aug. 25 – At Carter
Sept. 1 – Northwood
Sept. 8 – At Alta Loma
Sept. 15 – Chino
Sept. 29 – At Silverado
Oct. 6 – At Etiwanda
Oct. 13 – Rancho Cucamonga
Oct. 20 – Damien
Oct. 27 – At Chino Hills
Nov. 3 – Upland