Week two of the high school football season is in the books and the Tennyson Lancers came ready to play, defeating cross town rival, the Irving Vikings of Fremont, 49-0.
This was a special game for the Lancers as they opened their new 'Prince-Serrano' Stadium which is named after former Tennyson head coaches, Norm Prince (Football coach, 1960-72) and Victor Serrano (Soccer coach, 1972-98). The stadium's first Friday night lights matchup was one to be remembered. "The place was packed; it was our first night game in the new stadium," current head coach Terry Smith said. "We got a chance to honor Norm during the game and we even brought back alumni that had a chance to hang out in the locker room and come out with the team at half time. It was a really special event for our community."
As the game started, Smith felt the energy of the packed stadium and wondered how his team would hold up against a strong Vikings team. "We felt Irvington was going to be a good competition," Smith recounted. "They had size up front and have some really talented athletes. Jakobe Harris also transferred from Irvington last year, so we knew they were ready to play against us."
The defense, led by defensive coordinator Anthony Jackson and star players Alex Laurie and Tulei Tafu, forced the Vikings to punt on their first drive. Jakobe Harris returned the punt for 65 yards and a score. This touchdown became Jakobe Harris' 13th this season, reinforcing his ability to easily score.
As the game continued, Smith encouraged his athletes to make plays in space. "We have a lot of talent at the skill position and my focus was to let them do what they do best," Smith said. He called a quarterback counter off of a fly sweep and 55-yards later, Mustafa Nassirruddin was in the end zone.
The rushing offense put up impressive numbers too, racking up 265 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. One standout, Quincy Bass, totaled six carries for 121 yards in addition to three receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns. "We are fortunate to have some depth at the skill position, including our quarterbacks Mustafa and Shaizal," Smith said. "They both add different elements to the game and make it tough for any defense to match up."
The defensive stars were also on full display during Friday night's matchup. Alex Laurie had six tackles for a loss while Gio Lujano tallied three interceptions. In addition, Christian Garcia was all over the field making plays. "All these guys put in a ton of work this off-season with our strength and conditioning coach, Reuben Coronado," Smith said. "Christian Garcia has been with us when it was painful to watch our losing seasons. He has been an instrumental part of our success and is a great senior team captain for us. He is a great mentor and has been a huge key to our success."
When asked about his team's recent success, Smith didn't hesitate to mention his coaches. "I have a great staff; my DC Anthony Jackson has been with me since 2011, Marlon Brown does a great job on the offensive line, Oscar Johnson has been coaching since the late 1990s, and Brandon Green has been a great leader for our DBs. We have a ton of coaching experience on this staff, and our strength coach- Reuben Coronado got the kids in great physical condition this off-season."
Coach Smith is a Bay Area native and played at Oak Grove High School in San Jose. He continued his playing career at Cal State Hayward as a running back and free safety.
Smith began his coaching career in 1994 as the offensive coordinator at San Jose High School and became the head coach a season later at 23 years old. "My dad prepped me to become a coach," Smith said of his father, Afton. "He coached me throughout my youth and always brought me around his teams. He would have me help scout opponents too." After a coaching stint at Mount Pleasant High School, he accepted his current job as the head coach at Tennyson. "I've been the head coach here since 2003; this is my 16th season with the program and I am so proud of the things we have accomplished in my time here," Smith said.
Looking forward, Smith wants this team to finish the best in school history. The first goal is to win the league and then roll into the NCS Championships. After that, the Lancers are looking towards the playoffs.
When asked about winning the Coach of the Week Award, Smith said, "I played in the Charlie Wedemeyer Classic back in 1989. He was a phenomenal coach and a great mentor. It's a great honor and I really think it reflects what we've done here. Getting some notoriety puts a stamp of approval on the current success we are having."
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week presented by U.S. Bank, Coach Smith will receive a $1,000 grant for the Tennyson Lancers 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. Smith 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 Smith!