COMING WEDNESDAY: South Pasadena
COMING THURSDAY: San Gabriel
COMING FRIDAY: San Marino
Pretty much done with every team preview for the PrepXtra Magazine set to hit newsstands Aug. 30, but with every story comes a little spillover work that I’ll throw on the blog. The plan is to hit up San Gabriel High later today and catch first-year South Pasadena coach Martin Konrad and second-year San Gabriel coach Jude Oliva. After, I’ll swing by San Marino to see if I have any luck catching Mike Hobbie, who is still trying to get a grasp of what he’s working with. In his words, he won’t really know until the pads come on, and that won’t be until a few more weeks at the earliest.
I headed over to Maranatha and chatted a bit with first-year coach Pete Karavedas (FYI, near the end of the clip you can hear us wondering if we finished the video in under two minutes. I had filmed Pete on Monday during practice, but the 4-minute video file was so large my computer kept crashing, so I had to try again, alas).
His energy certainly is infectious, and he’s driven unlike any other young coach I’ve encountered. He not only comes across well-organized, but he’s also shown his smarts by surrounding himself with a veteran staff. It’s no surprise, then, why Maranatha went with the 26-year-old to takeover a rising program with a future Division I quarterback in Andrew Elffers. The Wonder Kid will have a lot to work with this season. Elffers, of course, is the main attraction. But look for others to steal the spotlight. Robby Flewelling is a name you’ll remember. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior needs to add a little more weight to his frame, but he has great hands and will be a key target at tight end.
Karaveda is no stranger to the West San Gabriel Valley having spent four years at Whittier Christian, the last three seasons as the Heralds’ defensive coordinator. The Wonder Kid helped the Heralds compile a 21-6 over the last two years. “If Monrovia didn’t exist I don’t know what else could have happened,” quipped Karavedas.
The rise to head coaching ranks started at 18 when Karavedas was an assistant coach at Lighthouse Christian in Idaho when he wasn’t at Azusa Pacific University. Karavedas was an All-CIF strong safety at Calvary Chapel Downey where he played for John Caffrey, currently the head coach at Sunny Hills in Orange County. Calvary Chapel enjoyed its most successful seasons under Caffrey. Even back then, Karavedas knew coaching would soon be calling.
After a year on the junior varsity level at Whittier Christian, Karavedas enjoyed rapid promotion the following season when at 23 he was tabbed defensive coordinator. He takes over Joel Murphy who stepped down at the end of last season after compiling a 47-16 record in five seasons at the helm.
There were over 80 applications submitted for the Maranatha job, which at one point included one of the most respected coaches in the Valley in South Hills coach Steve Bogan, who eventually withdrew his consideration. And why wouldn’t a school like Maranatha draw a lot of interest? Good school, nice facilities, supportive administration and, from what I gather, supportive parents.
That Karavedas spent four seasons at a small private school and was responsible for the Heralds’ punishing defense seemingly made him a perfect fit at Maranatha. Add the fact he also coached at a Mid-Valley Division school and Karavedas seemed like a shoe-in, right?
“I was just thinking, ‘If I can get a sniff it’d be great,’” Karavedas said. “The Lord just opened up the doors and I really couldn’t ask for more. To walk into this type of situation — great school, great administration, a haeck of a kid playing quarterback for us — you could not ask for more, and the parental involvement is incredible.
“I’ve been around this for a long time, particularly at the private school level. I’m used to this type of community. I’ve gotten to know the Mid-Valley Division really well and the schools really well. It’s an interesting mix that brought me to Maranatha. Just seemed like an ideal place for me to end up. To (Maranatha athletic director) Brian (DeHaan’s) credit they wanted to see what I brought to the table rather than focus on my age.”
And what exactly did Karavedas bring?
Oh, just a resume that includes a trip to the Mid-Valley Division semifinals two years ago and a finals appearance last year.