As week three of the high school football season concludes, the Lincoln Lions of San Jose, led by head coach Kevin Collins, brought home a victory against the Willow Glen Rams with a final score of 40-16.
Collins and his Lincoln Lions were looking forward to this across town matchup all week. “A lot of these kids played on the same pop warner teams, so it was fun for them to play against their friends,” Collins said. “We also have very contrasting styles with Willow Glen which has made for some great games with them in the past.” Those contrasting styles were evident on the stat sheet; the Lions passed the ball a total of five times while the Rams attempted 31 passes.
It is safe to say Collins is all-in on the double tight option attack, which showed through the 64 rushing attempts during the game. He was proud to say his team is committed to the run too. “This is a really fun group of kids I get to coach, they know our identity and have bought in to our system,” Collins said. “They don’t change their demeanor, they just come in and work.”
The game started out slowly with the Lions scoring seven points in the first quarter, but momentum picked up rapidly as the Rams scored 16 unanswered points early in the second quarter. Down nine points in the second, Collins and the Lions did not waver. “We stuck to our game and kept pounding, the first drive we had we scored,” Collins recalled. “We knew there was no need to panic.”
When asked about the critical turning point in the game, Collins immediately recalled the play that broke the game open. “It was a 4th and eight with about 30-40 seconds before half-time,” the coach recounted. “Our quarterback, Markus Hernandez, had a nice throw and Alejandro Martinez made a great catch and made it into the end zone right before the half.”
As the second half started, the Lincoln Lions knew what the objective was— to run the football. “Game planning this week, we were hoping we could really run the football,” Collins said. “As the game carried on, our running backs started taking advantage of the holes our offensive line was making. Our backs, Adam Arenas, Gabe Flores and Isaac Juarez, got the job done on the ground. Jacob Hall was also a big part of the offense lines success.”
On the defensive side of the ball, there was one player that stood out from the rest. “Jose ‘Pepe’ Martinez was lights out; he had 16 tackles on the night and set the tone for our defense,” Collins said admirably. “He had three big plays in a row and made a huge pass break up on a 4th down attempt.” In addition, defensive ends Brent Grantham and Adrien Uribe were stout on the edges. Collins recounted that “we didn’t have any sacks on the night, but our d-line was great on the line of scrimmage and we made our open field tackles.”
Kevin Collins is in his 26th season at Lincoln High School and has recently added the title of athletic director. He played football at Del Mar High School and Santa Clara University, and even had a tryout with the 49ers in 1987. As expectations for his team this year, Collins says it’s about consistency. “We want to just keep playing hard every game,” he said. “Giving consistent effort every day, it will lead to us being on the right side of things from our perspective.”
Having coached in the San Jose area for over 30 years Collins is very familiar with coach Charlie Wedemeyer. “It’s an honor to receive this award,” Collins said. “Seeing all of the winners in the past and what this award represents, it’s really humbling to be a recipient.”
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week presented by U.S. Bank, Coach Collins will receive a $1,000 grant for the Lincoln Lions 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. Collins will 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. He will also be featured on the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report which airs on Sundays at 6 & 10pm on NBC Sports California and is re-broadcast throughout the week.
Congratulations, Coach Collins!