“Had they come the last two years those would have been classics. But we’ve been in this spot before. When we beat West Covina (in 2010) nobody gave us a chance. Who knows, maybe we’ll surprise them again.” — Covina coach Joe Brown on facing West Covina live on Fox Sports West
By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN, twitter@sgvtribpreps
Covina High School’s Joe Brown is taking over the Colts football program after several years as an assistant under coach Darryl Thomas, who resigned after 14 years.
Brown’s first assignment as head coach is a doozy.
Covina opens the 2012 campaign against back-to-back CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division champion West Covina on Aug. 24 at Covina District Field — a game that will be televised live by Fox Sports West.
“I’ve been a coach at Covina for 17 years and we’ve been on local cable, but nothing like this,” Brown said. “When I found out I was like, ‘really’”.
Brown knows why Fox is televising it.
Covina gave West Covina its only loss in 2010, shocking the Bulldogs in a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback, winning 27-21.
Last year Covina had one of its best senior-dominated teams in years, nearly beating the champs again before losing a thriller in overtime, 26-20.
Covina finished 11-2 and lost to eventual Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia in the semifinals.
While West Covina graduated a few standouts such as all-purpose threat Chris Solomon, the Bulldogs are still the favorite to win its third straight title.
Covina, however, is in complete rebuilding mode after graduating quarterback Billy Livingston, all-purpose threat Vinny Venegas and losing senior running back Gevontray Ainsworth, who transferred to Monrovia.
On paper, Covina and West Covina was a highly anticipated game that lived up to the billing the previous two years, but Covina might not be as fortunate this time.
Brown kind of chuckled after learning this was the year Fox decided to televise the game.
“Had they come the last two years those would have been classics,” Brown said. “But we’ve been in this spot before. When we beat West Covina (in 2010) nobody gave us a chance. Who knows, maybe we’ll surprise them again.” (to continue click thread)
Brown’s not worried about the potential of getting blown out on live television, he’s more interested in his players’ reaction to the atmosphere and stage.
“If you can’t get excited for this, you shouldn’t be playing,” Brown said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s our biggest step-up game of the year. Whether it was on television or not, it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got to approach it like the last two years. West Covina is a big physical team. To have a chance, you’ve got to match their physicalness.”
One of Brown’s first big decisions is zeroing in on a starting quarterback to replace Livingston.
He has to decide between Darren Torres, a do-everything quarterback who plays multiple positions, or Emilio Zertuche, a traditional pocket passer.
“They’re battling and making it (decision) tough,” Brown said. “Either way we decide to go, I feel confident. They each bring something different to the table.”