The San Francisco 49ers Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week award for week four goes to Jake Messina from Carlmont High School in Belmont, CA.
Coach Messina's Carlmont Scots put on a complete performance on offense, defense, and special teams on route to a 43 – 0 win over the Lincoln Mustangs to improve their record to 4 – 0. The offensive running game had an amazing performance, while the defense had an all-around great effort keeping the Mustangs off of the board. Even special teams play proved to be pivotal in this win. The clash with the Mustangs proved to be an eye opening win for the second year head coach and the Scots.
The Scots', who run a Wing T offense which utilizes multiple running backs at once, got their running game going early in this one. Running back Demarii Blanks broke away from the defense for a 48 yard run on the Scots' first drive. While the offense did not score on the opening drive, this run would open up the running game for other players throughout the game.
"People have gone from defending us even to over playing Demarii. It has ended up opening things up for the other backs. We're going to run where you are not if you come at Demarii," Coach Messina described of his running game plan against the Mustangs.
Recognizing that the Mustangs were keying on Demarii would open up other Scots to have a big night carrying the ball. Quarterback Timmy Palthe scored late in the first quarter while faking a handoff to run from 8 yards out to make the score 7 – 0. Running back Jonaven Kuhn, a sophomore, scored on an 11-yard sweep early in the second quarter. The third player for the Scots to score on the ground was Julian Morin.
Junior running back Julian Morin racked up 148 rushing yards on 14 carries while scoring twice. Morin scored with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter on an explosive 41 yard run to put the score at 21 – 0. He would again show his big play ability when he took the ball 39 yards for his second touchdown early in the third quarter to push the score to 27 – 0.
"We're very experienced on the offensive line, and having a D-1 tight end like Jason Lloyd setting the edge helps a lot," said Coach Messina. "We spread out our carries because we don't want any one back to take the brunt of the punishment."
In total, the Scots running game racked up 318 rushing yards on 41 carries. While Coach Messina was impressed with the performance his backs would put in, he wanted to make sure his offensive line was given the credit they deserve.
"The group is a workman-like group. They have embraced the new offense. The guys have done great in the weight room and conditioned themselves to do what we are asking of them," said Coach Messina on the offensive line's work ethic. "We spent our time practicing the odd defense Lincoln runs and we were able to block it. Our practice helped us block them and off we went."
Carlmont's defense went on to have one of the best performances that a coach could ask for. In total, the defense only allowed 73 yards and 5 first downs in the entire game. Cornerback Jonaven Kuhn and inside linebackers Jayden Kuhn and Darian Dennler led the Scots on defense.
"Those three were snuffing out the runs. It was a lot of fun to watch from the sideline," said Coach Messina.
Coach Messina's defense would not have excelled without the play calling coming from Defensive Coordinator Tim Netane. "With Tim leading the way for the defensive staff, he has done a phenomenal job of giving the kids the information they need every week. We don't run a ton of fluff, but we teach the players to run to the ball and not make any mistakes when tackling," said Coach Messina on Coach Netane's job teaching the defense.
The special teams play proved to be a key factor in the Scots' win as well. A kickoff return by Jonaven Kuhn was the dagger the Scots needed to seal the win against the Mustangs. The Scots' kicker, Henry Reich, did a great job throughout the game placing the ball on special teams to keep the field position in favor of the Scots.
The offense, defense and special teams had an outstanding stretch of plays when all three units scored in less than one minute. The offense found the end zone when quarterback Timmy Palthe hit tight end Jason Lloyd for a 29-yard touchdown pass that pushed the score up to 34 - 0.
"We noticed that they were creeping up and loosing receivers deep so we ran a play action corner route after our long run," said Coach Messina on the touchdown pass.
Henry Reich pinned the Mustangs' offense on their own 9-yard line on the ensuing kickoff and the defense then made their mark on the scoreboard. After a mishandled snap, the Lincoln quarterback was sacked by Jason Lloyd for a safety, adding two more points for Carlmont. The final score of the game came on a free kick returned for a touchdown by Jonaven Kuhn. Kuhn returned the ball 62 yards for a touchdown, increasing the score to 43 – 0.
"If there was any room for a comeback, that pretty much squashed it," said Coach Messina on the three scores.
Coach Messina was glad to get the chance to play a team like Lincoln who has a big defensive line, as many of the teams they play going forward will have bigger defenders.
"We aren't very big on the offensive line besides our tackles. Lincoln challenged us to run the ball inside. For us going forward, we will be challenged by other teams with enormous defensive linemen. It was great because we got to see those types of bodies and now we see we can overcome that. I thought it was a good step up for us," said Coach Messina on the opportunity to go up against Lincoln's defense.
When Coach Messina is not busy coaching he is either with his kids, who are also busy with sports, or teaching his US History and World Studies class.
"My daughter is an aspiring softball player and my son plays Pop Warner Football. I spend all of my extra time with my family on the fields," said Coach Messina on the time he enjoys spending with his children.
The classroom offers Coach Messina a chance to perfect his planning skills needed when coming up with practice and game plans. "At a high achieving academic school like Carlmont, top notch lesson plans are expected. I take that out onto the field where we have very detailed practice and game plans. I think that it shows in the way our kids play," said Coach Messina.
Upon winning the award, Coach Messina reflected on his previous ties to Coach Wedemeyer. "Three years ago I got the chance to coach the South Team at the Wedemeyer All-Star Game. Being able to coach in that game was special. Winning this award is humbling. This reinforces what we are doing here and that it is taking us in the right direction."
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week, Jake Messina will receive a $1,000 grant for the Carlmont High School 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 Messina 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 Messina 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 Messina!