Novato Football's Demise
By Nick Jackson
This past summer, Novato High School was on the brink of not being able to field a varsity football team, summing up a miserable string of poor seasons. This has stirred up plenty of anger and outrage in the community, as Hornets football used to be very dominant.
As recent as 2014, the Hornets were crowned champions of the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL). The fall from dominance has been rapid. Over the course of the summer, this story gained public attention from all around the Bay Area, and was even featured on ESPN's Sportscenter.
The summer started off as it normally would, with the varsity team receiving a decent turnout for the early morning summer practices, consistently seeing 10 to 15 student athletes. The Hornets were confident in returning head coach, Jason Searle. However, around halfway through the summer, players and parents were caught off guard by the news that Searle had decided to quit his head coaching position. He cited his desire was to spend more time with his young family.
Later in the summer, PE teacher Kevin Keenan was named the new varsity head coach. Keenan had been coaching JV and freshman football in the past. Keenan has showed a strong desire to rebuild the program, placing a emphasis on having a strong frosh-soph team.
“I think the rebuilding process is moving in the right direction,” Keenan explained via email. “I see growing enthusiasm every day from athletes. Players are showing more leadership each week. Our culture is becoming more positive and that will help build our program,”
Senior Adam Frey described his mindset on the recent issues facing Hornets football and why he quit the team.
“I like to think of myself as a winner, and I do not want to be part of a losing culture,” said Frey.
Senior Jason Hines has been playing football all 4 years of high school and noticed the sharp decline in success at the varsity level.
“Over the last 4 years we have gotten a lot worse I’d say. My freshman year, the varsity team was really good, and my sophomore year they were pretty good again. I think a lot of the talent left and athletes stopped coming out for football,” said Hines.
Stay tuned to see how Novato Football progresses this season and wish them luck for their game under the lights tonight at Justin Siena. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.