The Balboa Buccaneers came out firing on all cylinders in their week one matchup vs. The Lynbrook Vikings of San Jose, winning by a score of 47-0 in the team's first victory since November 5, 2016.
"Going into the game I really didn't know what to expect," head coach Fred Velasquez said. "We didn't have any film available on Lynbrook, and we installed a whole new offense and defense starting in May. Game planning versus your opponent is already a daunting task, so to do it without any previous game film you must focus on the things you do know. We had to stick with what we knew. I wanted the kids to feel confident in the plays we were running, so we kept it simple and focused on the details of blocking through the whistle, driving your feet on contact, and most importantly holding onto the football."
Early in the first half Velasquez sensed momentum was shifting in the Buccaneers' favor and he began to lean on his running back to make some big plays. "Once I realized the line was controlling both sides of the ball I knew the momentum was going our way," Velasquez said. "The offensive line gave our quarterback extra time in the pocket and once the passing game kicked in, the running game followed suit." Of his new running back, Velasquez said, "Anthony Nunez never played running back before but we had to find a spot for him on offense because he is a special talent. Moving him from wide receiver to running back paid off and he did a heck of a job for his teammates."
On the defensive side of the ball, this was Balboa's first shutout since November 13, 2015. "I could not be more proud of the way our defense fought," Velasquez said. "Anthony Southavilay was a stud in the secondary and came up with two interceptions, also making a few big time tackles when it counted most." Of the Bucs' opponents, Velasquez said, "I have to give credit to Lynbrook, they are a young team gaining experience just like us, but they never quit competing, no matter what the score was."
Both of Southavila's interceptions turned into touchdowns for the Buccaneers offense; two-way player Trevor Britton capitalized on one of those turnovers with an unbelievable 17-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Brandon Norori. "Brandon is a baseball player that took the quarterback position and ran with it this off-season," Velasquez said. "He is only 5'9, but has a great heart and competes his tail off."
Looking forward to the rest of the season, Velasquez has strong expectations for his team. "Short term, we want to get better every day – minimize the mistakes, continue gaining experience and build confidence amongst the players," he said. "Long term, we are working brick by brick to bring the Buccaneers back to playoff contention. If we continue building a strong foundation and trust the process, we will be back."
Velasquez has a rich history with the Balboa Buccaneers, having graduated from the school in 1989 and coaching on two separate occasions, first as an assistant coach from 1990-1993 and again as the head coach from 1998-2003. During that time, he led the program to five straight playoff appearances. This spring he returned to the program as an assistant coach, but with a head coaching change late into summer programming Fred was the perfect fit to take over on such short notice.
Velasquez has been a high school and pop warner football coach for nearly 30 years. He was ecstatic to receive the Coach of the Week award, more so for his program than for himself. "We put in a lot of work this off-season – I re-painted the locker rooms with the help of my players, we added new artwork and equipment to the weight room and allowed the kids to have input on what they wanted to see." Velasquez said. "It is a great honor to receive this award, and the grant itself will allow us to get some much needed equipment on the field. Charlie was an amazing coach, and has done so much for the football community here in the Bay. I hope we can honor him the right way and compete every day."
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week presented by U.S. Bank, Velasquez will receive a $1,000 grant for the Balboa Buccaneers football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, he will also receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field. Velasquez will also be invited to visit the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will officially present him with his award. Velasquez will be featured on the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report On Sunday's at 6 & 10pm on NBC Sports California and re-broadcast throughout the week.
Congratulations, Coach Velasquez!