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By Marcus D. Smith–
The football program at Mesa Verde High School has seen a rapid turnaround just in the matter of a coaching chance, with an overall sentiment that there has been a culture change for the varsity program.
The Mavericks varsity football program finished the season 5-4 under new head coach Bryan Golder. According to MaxPreps.com, this was Mesa Verde High School’s first winning season since 2004, when the program finished 6-4 under coach Barney.
“It was a blessing to coach the boys this year,” Coach Golder told the team and their parents on Thursday during a Fall Sports Banquet. “Just watching them grow from immature little boys to become young men… We’d have some practices where some guys would yell, [and] holler, [and] get emotional and cry in practice and frustrated at the world.”
“You’d have some practices where guys felt like they wanted to quit because they didn’t understand why we were so hard on them in games during football and they didn’t understand why we were so caring when it came to loving them as well,” Golder continued. “We wanted to set an example [to them], what life would be like after leaving this high school. There is a road out there, but you’re going to have to get a job, go to school — you can’t just expect mom and dad to provide and take care of you.”
Three days later, on Saturday afternoon, a tweet came from Mesa Verde’s athletic account stating they were “currently accepting applications for the Head Football Coach for the 2020 season.”
The Sentinel reached out to Mesa Verde Athletic Director Kevin Anderson who confirmed the news, but declined to speak further on the details.
“I don’t know all the information,” said Anderson. “He resigned to our admin. I was not included in that, so I don’t know any of the details of that discussion at this time.”
The Sentinel also reached out to Coach Golder regarding the announcement, who said he would give an official statement within a week, after first consulting his team directly.
Golder and his staff came from Liberty Ranch High School the previous year to coach at Mesa Verde and were sad to leave the culture they created with the program. The feeling was mutual between the athletes, parents and coaches in their appreciation for each other and what they were able to each bring to the table this season.
“It all started in early March when we first started going into the weigh room… Then, later on in the season, we just started growing as a family,” said senior offensive and defensive lineman Jack Adkins, who won the Special Teams award. “I’ve never actually been [in] a brotherhood like this one…I got all my brothers’ back for sure.”
His mother, Lindsey Adkins, who has been team parent for the past five years, became emotional when speaking to The Sentinel about what Coach Golder had done with the team.
“He not only brings the love of football to the field and the boys, but he brought prayer, love, family, and brotherhood,” said Adkins. “All years of being team mom… this was the year they were family.”
“[With] these guys, execution was key, family was key, respect [was] number one all the way around,” she said. “It wasn’t just they were coaching boys, they were coaching men.”
Her thoughts were also reflected by team mom Sara Rollins.
“He’s brought them together. It’s all been about loyalty, teamwork, and a family,” Rollins said. “The boys have never been a ‘family’ before, and I’ve watched them stand up for the younger players who’ve been picked on.”
“They communicate, they show up on Saturdays for their free time to work out with coaches here, just because they’re driven,” she said. “And these coaches put that drive in them.”
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Despite not knowing of the news at the time, 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Shae Johnson, a junior, said the coaches were personally able to affect him, translating to his play on the field.
“I love those guys, man, they got me here for a reason,” said Johnson. “These guys brought a way different atmosphere.”
*Editor’s note: this is a developing story. Check back in our Midweek Edition on Thursday for more details.
Sports Reporter Marcus D. Smith covers high school sports in Citrus Heights. Smith is a Sacramento-area native and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2017.
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