Sports

Grieb gives the Gators a new look at football philosophy

 

A new coach but the same offense. Continuity exists in the Sacred Heart Prep football program.

But longtime followers of the Gators ought not be surprised if this year's team turns out to be a bit more disposed toward the pass than previous editions.

Mark Grieb takes over as head coach from Pete Lavorato. Grieb has extensive history playing quarterback and coaching quarterbacks.

The highly-successful Lavorato would open it up and pass when the situation called for it. But he always preferred keeping it on the ground and grinding out 4 or 5 yards a carry with his team's fly offense.

"Maybe,'' Grieb answered when asked if he might be inclined to put the ball in the air more than SHP teams of the past did. "I like to be balanced.''

But there's no questioning his high regard for returning quarterback Brad Yaffe.

"Brad's an outstanding passer who can make any throw on the field,'' Grieb said. "He's smart and tough. His best attribute is his competitiveness.'

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The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Yaffe took over at quarterback midway through last season and completed 57 percent of his passes (48 of 84) for 684 yards. Before moving to QB he played defensive end.

"He filled in one day on the scout team and started tackling guys right and left,'' Grieb said.

Tommy Barnds, Jack Donnelly, Tevita Moimoi (younger brother of last year's leading rusher Isoa Moimoi) and John Willard are penciled in at running back.

Their success will be predicated on the performance of an offensive line group that Grieb says is the strength of the team. Robert Thompson (6-2, 220), Liam Shaughnessy (5-9, 180), Nick Schlotter (5-9, 165) and Jake Davison (6-0, 215) have stood out in fall camp.

"I believe that games are won up front,'' Grieb said. "I'm excited about what we're doing up front. Our line is working extremely hard.''

Grieb also has had to replace defensive coordinator Mark Modeste, who took the head coaching job at Strake Jesuit High School in Houston, the same school long-time Bellarmine coach Mike Janda starred and coached at.

Dave DeGeronimo, an assistant for a number of years at Sacred Heart Prep and Palo Alto, is the new defensive coordinator. Veteran coaches John Gilmore and Ed Larios are still on staff, Gilmore as a line coach and Larios coaching running backs and linebackers.

Garrett Gavello, who was in on 73 tackles last season, 50 solo, returns to lead the linebacking corps, which looks to be the strength of the defense. Moimoi, Donnelly, Barnds and Andrew McLean round out that linebacking group.

The Gators open the season Aug. 25 with a trip to Hollister to take on San Benito.

"That's a tough opening draw, a battle the first week,'' Grieb said. "But I'm excited. I feel good about it.''

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