The San Francisco 49ers Charlie Wedemeyer Coach of the Week award for week two goes to Hank Roberts from Santa Clara High School in Santa Clara, CA.
The final score to the Santa Clara Bruins’ game last Friday against the Overfelt Royals does not truly show how difficult of a win this was for Coach Roberts and his team. The first quarter was a fight that left Santa Clara behind 8-7 early after a costly interception thrown by the Bruins. Coach Roberts knew that there were adjustments to be made to pull away from a well-coached Overfelt team. The adjustments made by Coach Roberts helped fuel the 57-28 victory for Santa Clara.
“We made adjustments to open up the offense,” said five year Santa Clara Head Coach Hank Roberts. Through those adjustments, Nick Garcia and Erik Ketton were able to contribute two amazing offensive performances which helped lead the Bruin’s to victory.
Nick Garcia led the way in receiving for the Bruins, where he tallied five touchdowns. To go along with those amazing stats, Nick also came up with several other big catches. Two third down conversions and one fourth down conversion by Garcia allowed the Santa Clara offense to keep driving down the field on critical drives.
“We knew Nick had this in him, but he had to figure it out himself. Going forward, I think this will give him a boost of confidence,” said Coach Roberts.
Coach Roberts was extremely proud of Garcia’s offensive stats, but made sure to highlight his outstanding special team performance. Garcia, also the team’s kicker, converted six extra-points and a critical field goal in the game against the Royals. He also had three touchdown saving tackles on kickoff. At the end of the game, Coach Roberts asked Garcia how many times he scored against Overfelt. Nick replied by saying “I’m not sure, but I know I had three tackles.”
“Without those tackles, who knows if we win that game,” Coach Roberts said of Garcia’s special team’s heroics.
Erik Ketton’s rushing game cannot be ignored either, as it was what allowed the Bruins to pull away from the Royals. Ketton carried the ball 14 times for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Coach Roberts noted that they have tailored their run game specifically for Erik.
“The run game finally came together from all of the work that has been put in since February. The offensive line opened up holes that allowed Erik to create big time runs,” said Coach Roberts.
Erik looks to have large aspirations both on and off of the gridiron when his high school career is over. With a 4.2 GPA, Erik has his sights set on attending and continuing his football career at an Ivy League school upon graduation. Coach Roberts believes that if Erik continues to have games like this, he will have no problem joining an Ivy League squad when he graduates from Santa Clara.
The importance of these two players can truly be seen in one of the most important stretch of plays from the game. Garcia’s made field goal in the second quarter put Santa Clara up by 9 points. After a quick possession by Overfelt, the offensive line opened up a hole for Ketton who ran 70 yards for a touchdown. At this point, Overfelt was never able to catch back up, falling behind 43-14 at the end of the third quarter.
Coach Roberts noted that the offense would not truly have hit its stride if not for Chris Brown, a three-year starter at quarterback. Brown would go 19 for 30 racking up 243 yards and five touchdowns, all to Garcia. He also believes that the selflessness by the other offensive players allowed Garcia and Ketton to have outstanding performances because all eleven men were going full speed, even when the ball was not coming their way.
Coach Roberts allows his defensive staff make their own adjustments because of the trust he has in the coaches and players. That trust would be rewarded in this game through the stellar performance that the defense turned in, led by safety Michael Perez Kady and cornerback Albert Leal. Neither player’s performance will show in the box score, but both had standout games in spite of that. Coach Roberts describe Perez Kady as “a player who is very tough and does a great job with his technique and very important to the defense because he controls the coverage on each play”. After seeing Overfelt’s best receiver have two early catches, Albert Leal told his coach that he wanted to guard him the rest of the night. Leal kept him from catching another ball until late in the fourth quarter.
“These two made sure to keep Overfelt from going on offense,” said Coach Roberts.
Coach Roberts was proud of his team’s performance, noting that each player plays as if the score is always 0 - 0. After a disappointing season in 2016, Coach Roberts has motivated his team with the motto “You vs Yesterday”.
“If there is one thing different about this team than any other I’ve coached it is how selfless they are. I’m really happy about this team and the difference that they are making,” said Coach Roberts. “Each player takes on the challenge of representing his community and doing what they can to make the City of Santa Clara proud.”
Off the field, Coach Roberts, a proud father to a three-month old baby girl, teaches Health and Physical Education. In PE, he loves seeing the students of Santa Clara in a different environment than what any of the other teachers get to see.
“I’m able to have different conversations with these students than what the other teachers get to have,” said Coach Roberts.
As for winning this award, named after Coach Charlie Wedemeyer, Coach Roberts said, “I strive to build men and my program like Coach Wedemeyer built his. Knowing I’m getting an award named after a man like that means the world to me. This is about my guys, not me. Getting this award will be special for all of us.”
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week, Hank Roberts will receive a $1,000 grant for the Santa Clara 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. Coach Roberts 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. Coach Roberts will be featured on the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report On Sunday's at 6 & 10 PM on NBC Sports California and re-broadcast throughout the week.
Congratulations, Coach Roberts!