For the first time in the 11-year history of Granite Hills High School, the Cougars had a winning record. Granite Hills’ 6-4 record bested the school’s previous high-water mark by two games, seemingly leaving a building block for the future. But the Cougars lost up-and-coming coach Justin Price to Yucaipa, leaving the job open in June for Joel Hurtt to accept.
“It’s a bit of a bittersweet thing because Justin was a really good coach and really had the kids believing,” Hurtt said. “It’s a tough thing to lose a coach as late as we did and have to get refocused in the middle. Getting a new coach in June is a tough thing. The kids were a little in the dark at first but seem to have bought in.”
Hurtt’s familiarity with the program will help, as he was the Cougars’ head coach in 2006 and 2007 and stayed around the program in Price’s two seasons, coaching the freshman team to an 8-2 record in 2008. He certainly knows enough about what’s going on to know that senior running back Antawaun Jones is a guy he can depend on.