By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Covina High School football coach Darryl Thomas isn’t going to let the excitement surrounding his team affect how he handles the Colts’ offseason plans. A lot of coaches, when they have the type of veteran skill position players that Covina has coming back, overload the summer docket with numerous passing tournament stops.
“We’re going to one tournament: Arroyo’s shootout,” Thomas said. “Passing league tournaments, you have to take them with a grain of salt. Last year, we were terrible in the tournaments and we went 10-2. In years past, we’ve gone out and won tournaments, then the season starts and we don’t do well.”
With quarterback Billy Livingston set for a strong senior season, running back Gevontray Ainsworth even bigger than he was last year and receiver Vinnie Venegas set for another huge season, the Colts would have been a sight to see on the passing circuit.
But one offseason workout fans may not want to miss is an 11-on-11 battle with La Habra in late June at Covina High. It’s situations like that that Thomas says his staff can learn from.
“You film it and sit down and talk to the kids about what they were supposed to do,” Thomas said. “The linemen will only go the first two or three steps, but the best thing for us, defensively speaking, is that the defensive backs can’t see the quarterback. During the season, you’re not going to see the quarterback because there’s going to be linemen there.
“And, we can also see if guys miss their blocks and if our pass protection is working.”
Thomas reports his team has made the expected strides in the weight room and looks ready to live up to the lofty expectations. But letting the kids get too excited before a game is played is something he’s guarding against.
“We’re excited, but you don’t win games on paper,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a number of starters returning. Everything looks good on paper, but we have to put everything together.”
Covina opens the season in Week 0 on Saturday, Sept. 3 against West Covina at Covina District Field. The Colts handed West Covina its only loss of the season in last year’s opener.