The San Francisco 49ers Foundation's Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week award for week five goes to Chris Oswald of Cupertino High School.
Chris Oswald's undefeated Cupertino Pioneers continued to claim their territory this weekend as they defeated the Harker Eagles 40-13.
A 5-0 record is every team's goal, but for Coach Oswald's Pioneers it is the sign of a new era. This offseason, the Pioneers spent hours in the weight room building chemistry, strength, and confidence. The team had previously gone several seasons with new coaches, creating inconsistency and a hopeless aura among the team. Coach Oswald has returned as the head varsity coach for a second season, and by instilling respect and accountability, he plans to change Cupertino football and has all of his Pioneers on board.
"We have gone into this season with the goal to not let anyone down. We all want to show up everyday across the board," said Oswald of his roster of student-athletes, currently carrying just below a 4.0 GPA, "I think they were expecting me to leave, but I wanted the same things as them—to change Cupertino football, and win."
Cupertino continued to make changes as they won their first conference game in three seasons against the Harker Eagles last Friday. The Pioneers got the game going in the second quarter as quarterback Patrick Johnson pulled a quarterback sneak into the end zone from 6 yards out. The Eagles managed to tie the game 7-7, but Johnson answered back by connecting with number 24 Eli Hawkins with a 68 yard pass for a touchdown. The Cupertino defense was able to hold Harker's passing team, as safety Mitchell Dang broke up pass after pass, and defensive lineman Adam Apolinar kept pressure on the Eagle's quarterback. With under a minute left in the first half, the Pioneers widened the gap to a score of 20-7.
The Pioneers bulldozed their way through the second half with drives of 70 and 90 yards, as well as credible performances by senior running back Joe Ochsner, who had 16 carries for 194 yards in the game, and defensive end Tony Uribe who had an interception and ran the ball to the 9 yard line for his Pioneer offense. Patrick Johnson took advantage of Uribe's interception and completed a pass-play to tight end Greg Brazil for a touchdown. Johnson went 6 for 8 with 119 yards and 2 touchdown passes, as well as 45 yards rushing. Cupertino wrapped up the game with a block on Harker's extra point, and ran the clock out with a score of 40-13.
"We did exactly what we practiced, and we controlled the ball and the clock. We gave Harker the least amount of time on the field as possible," stated Oswald.
To keep their winning streak going, Coach Oswald seeks to keep his players safe, strong, and healthy throughout the season. Oswald has implemented a twice a week tackling circuit to enforce proper tackling techniques, while also triggering strength-training as a means of preventing player injuries. As a second year varsity coach, Oswald has had the opportunity to apply his own system, engage with his players to meet a respectable common ground, and establish new goals to get the Cupertino football program moving in a positive direction.
"I want us to compete every week and to have that last game mean something, and for these kids to leave happy. If they remember a positive experience, maybe they'll come back and coach with me," stated a hopeful Oswald, "because I know I am not going anywhere."
The Cupertino Pioneers seek to make their record 6-0 as they take on the 0-3 Los Altos Eagles in this Friday's league matchup.
In addition to being named Coach of the Week, the Cupertino High football program will receive $1,000 from the 49ers Foundation. Coach Oswald will also be featured in a KRON 4 interview with Gary Radnich, receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field before the game, as well as an article on 49ers.com. In the weeks leading up to the on-field recognition, Oswald will be invited to visit the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara to watch a private practice and receive a certificate from 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.