The Hillsdale Knights will ride into their first round of playoffs against Burlingame this Friday with a 7-3 record, 5-0 in league. Head varsity coach Mike Parodi and his team caught the attention of the 49ers when they claimed a 66-14 victory over King's Academy. Senior quarterback Cole Carrithers went fifteen for twenty-two, connecting with wide receivers Brandon Butcher and Shawn Charon for over 100 yards, three catches, and two touchdowns each. The Knights entered the half at 42-14 and scored twenty-one in the third. Taking five interceptions from King's Academy, two of which were caught by senior John Paran, Hillsdale held the cards throughout the remaining quarters.
"We had huge plays and big runs," said Parodi of his Knights' performance, "We stopped the run, controlled a huge King's offense, and forced them to try plays they did not want to do."
Even with a promising lead, Hillsdale stuck to their motto of motivation, "Hustle, hit, never quit." The no-quit-attitude is part of Parodi's mission to form great men and women through the Hillsdale football program—yes, women too. The Hillsdale junior varsity team currently plays a female defensive back whose commitment to the game sets a promising foundation for a future full of athletics.
To ensure the rest of his athletes have a strong future in the sport as well, Parodi spent the summer streamlining proper tackling techniques. Primarily changing the verbiage, the Hillsdale coaching staff instituted the new way of tackling and taught their athletes to drive with their chest and keep their head out of the equation. A new technique does not come easy to a forty-three man roster, but the Hillsdale Knights have taken what they learned over the summer months and have created a dominating defense.
Now in his fifth year at Hillsdale, Parodi continues to drive his team in the classroom and in preparing for their future. Hillsdale football enforces a truancy program, penalizing players for being late or missing class without a valid excuse, and requires that all athletes attend Study Hall on Wednesdays, or use that time for essential appointments or group projects. Parodi's approach to coaching revolves around the importance of the now in order to accomplish all that lies ahead. As the Knights prepare for playoffs, he emphasizes the "1-0" team goal.
"I always encourage our players to play for 1-0 this week, or make them think about how they can achieve a plus one today, whether it means gaining one more yard, scoring one grade higher, or impacting one more person in a positive way," said Parodi, "If you do all that you are capable of and should do, you will do well for yourself and all those around you." In addition to being named Coach of the Week, the Hillsdale High School football program will receive $1,000 from the 49ers Foundation. Coach Parodi will also be featured in a KRON 4 interview with Gary Radnich, receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field before the game, as well as an article on 49ers.com. In the weeks leading up to the on-field recognition, Parodi will be invited to visit the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara to watch a private practice and receive a certificate from 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.