Staying level-headed a key for Hesperia, Yucaipa

This week among the conversations I had with coaches were ones with Hesperia’s Jeremy Topete and Yucaipa’s Justin Price.

I wasn’t able to write anything about it in a prep football notebook, but wanted to mention some of the thoughts in a blog post.

Both coaches have a similar problem: they want to keep their team on an even keel, but they are coming at it from different sides.

Yucaipa has been decent for years, finishing second in the Citrus Belt League two years ago, but Price and his players wanted to challenge themselves more so perhaps they would be better prepared for the big CBL and playoff games.

So last week, they played Vista Murrieta, ranked No. 4 in the state by maxpreps.com and were beaten 52-13. The challenge for Price is to keep his team positive going into another tough game against San Gorgonio.

“I think there were a lot of positives. We did move the ball well. I don’t want to say we were intimidated, but it (Vista Murrieta’s reputation) was a factor,” he said.

Topete’s team, however, was 1-9 in both 2010 and 2011 before improving to 5-5 last year. The Scorpions are off to a 3-0 start this year before Friday’s game against Moreno Valley Canyon Springs.

“The thing we’ve been telling the kids, we want to compete for a league title and get into the playoffs,” Topete said. “Our kids have been talking 14-0, but our goal is to survive 14 games. You don’t have to go 14-0 to win CIF.”

So, he wants the kids to regain some of that confidence lost during the dark days of 2010 and 2011. But he wants to temper those expectations so the kids don’t get ahead of themselves.

“We’ve talked about rankings and we know where we are right now (in the top 10),” he said. “But the only thing that matters is the rankings at the end of the season.”