This week I called Rosemead coach Matt Koffler. Obviously he loves when I call, he picked up in the restroom, complaining that he drinks too much coffee. Okay, no further details needed, but as always, Koffler answers every question, talking about this season’s 11-3 team that advanced to the championship, and what’s the future holds for Panthers football.
2009 nonleague games: Covina, Monrovia, Harvard-Westlake, South Hills and Monrovia.
2009 Panthers to look out for: Joey Diaz (RB), Luis Diaz (TE/DE), Conrado Simpson (TE/DE), Matt Macias (QB).
To read the Q&A with coach Koffler, click thread
The first thing I wanted to know is if he was staying. I know he wouldn’t go back to La Puente, but with Temple City opening opening up after the firing of Randy Backus, there’s been some talk Koffler might leave for greener pastures, meaning Rams green.
Koffler’s reaction: No jobs intrigue me, this is my home and I’m staying. During my time here we’ve won more than ten games three times and I like the division we’re in, our players, this school, so I’m staying. I know coaches are competitors. You like an opportunity to go somewhere and turn a program around. But I’ve found my home at Rosemead. I’m not going anywhere.
The Mid-Valley Division polls were all screwed up this year, would you like to see more accountability from those who vote?
Koffler’s reaction: Absolutely, I really do. I talked to everyone in the coaching field, and I still don’t understand how we’re so underrated. We’ve been one of the most consistent programs around the last five to eight years, and I don’t see us going backward. It’s hard to believe people haven’t figured that out yet.”
You had to travel to Lancaster to play Paraclete for the Mid-Valley championship. Should championship games be at neutral sites, like in the upper divisions?
Koffler’s reaction: First off I’m not making any excuses for losing or playing in 25 degree weather, but championships should be at neutral sites. There should be a designated place before the tournament begins. When you get to a championship game, home field shouldn’t be decided like it’s a second or third-round game.
Who should be favored to win the Mid-Valley next year?
Koffler’s reaction: That’s a good question, obviously we lose a lot, but so does San Dimas, Northview and Paraclete loses some, though they’re a school that’s won five championships and is always there. Duarte and Monrovia should be there, and don’t count out Arroyo, they had that freshman quarterback, and a running back returning. They will be tough. But again, it’s an open division, I think we’ll have as good a shot as anyone.”
You thought Rosemead should have been ranked higher than eight in the Tribune’s final football poll?
Koffler’s reaction: Oh yeah, at least top five. This was a special group that we had. All five nonleague teams we played went to the playoffs. We had five running clocks the whole year. We were up 37-0 against Covina at halftime. I’m not saying we’re better than a Bishop Amat or Charter Oak, but we could have played with anyone else. I know we lost a close game to South Hills, but when you look at what we accomplished, we deserved to be top five or better.
This year’s nonleague schedule was set, which was part of your two-year deal. In the future, are there teams you would like to schedule?
Koffler’s reaction: Yeah, we never played Arcadia, and if we have, it’s been a long, long time. We called them last year and they wouldn’t do it. We’ve played just about everyone else, including Diamond Ranch. I read where Roddy (Layton, Diamond Ranch) would love to play us. You tell Roddy we played them in 2001 at beat them, so the Rosemead Panthers are 1-0 against them. You make sure he gets that message.”