The San Francisco 49ers Foundation's Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week award for week three goes to Steve Papin from Gunderson High School in San Jose.
Steve Papin's Gunderson Grizzlies improved their record to 2-1 in a 43-0 shutout victory over the Overfelt Royals last Friday.
Steve Papin has his Grizzlies hitting more than just the opposing team every Friday night-- he has them hitting the books every single day. They may look intimidating and ruthless as they show no mercy on the field, but off the field, you will catch the Grizzlies cleaned up, wearing slacks and a tie on game day, or studying endlessly in a mandatory study hall session prior to every practice. These are just two of many qualities Coach Papin has introduced to improve the Gunderson football program, and what they represent.
"I want these guys to understand football inside and out," stated Papin, "It is not always about wins and losses; it's about changing the culture, changing the mind-set, and teaching these guys to be accountable for their actions on and off the field."
Papin's approach to coaching paid off last Friday night as the Grizzlies put on an impeccable running game against the Overfelt Royals. Now implementing a strict high-option offense, with a roster consisting of 3 stellar running backs, Gunderson rushed over 400 yards. Quarterback DeJon Packer had 175 of his own on just 6 carries. This should come as no surprise since Packer was originally a 4th running back on the varsity roster.
"DeJon is such a great athlete," said Coach Papin of his sophomore quarterback, "as a running back he was behind 3 top guys in the league, so we had to figure out how we could get the ball in this guy's hands every play."
When Packer was not running the ball, he was handing it off to senior running back, Nick Melchor. Though Gunderson struggled to put points on the board their first few possessions, it was Melchor's 55 yard rushing touchdown midway through the 1st quarter that really got Gunderson's adrenaline pumping.
Free safety Noah Evaristo did his part by picking off Overfelt's quarterback in the first half to keep the momentum going. The Grizzlies conquered the half 30-0, but were not ready to take a back seat until the game-clock ran out.
The Grizzlies 4-2-5 defense prevented Overfelt from running or passing their way into scoring position through all 4 quarters. It was a team effort, as No. 28 linebacker Felipe Negron had 13 tackles, and defensive end Ulises Marrot caused the Royals to lose yard after yard. With only 2 possessions in the 4th, Gunderson managed to put the icing on the cake with one last touchdown, ending the game with a 43-0 blowout performance.
Coach Papin acknowledged the leaders on his team, one of which is senior captain Tasean Clark.
"He and our captains are not just captains on the field, they are captains in the classroom. He's coachable, and with his size, ability, and 3.5 GPA, we want to give him a good season, and get him looked at."
Papin's Grizzlies are obviously stocked with leaders however Papin's motto of "not me, not now" prevents anyone from stealing the attention as an individual. The Grizzlies do not play for themselves; they play for Gunderson, which is why you will not see names on the back of their jerseys. This change to the jerseys is just one more piece of Papin's unique approach to remodeling the football program at Gunderson High. He came in to his first season as a Grizzly in 2011, and aimed for likeability, which resulted in a 4-6 record. This season, Coach Papin is all about respect, morals, and winning.
"I am blessed and honored to be at Gunderson. The staff and administration are great. The kids are on board. Together, we are going to compete in every game, give it our all, play unselfish, and as a team we will win ball games."
The Gunderson Grizzlies will seek to improve their record to 3-1 as they spend their bye week preparing for their next match-up against the Leigh High Lonnghorns.
For the Grizzlies top notch performance, and incredible victory, the San Francisco 49ers have selected Coach Steve Papin as the Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial High School Coach of the Week.
In addition to being named Coach of the Week, the Gunderson High football program will receive $1,000 from the 49ers Foundation. Coach Papin 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, Papin 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.