The San Francisco 49ers Charlie Wedemeyer Coach of the Year Award presented by Kelly-Moore Paints for 2009 goes to Ken Peralta of Marin Catholic High School.
This season Peralta led the Marin Catholic Wildcats to the California Interscholastic Federation Division III State championship game against Serra High School of Gardena.
After opening the season with a heartbreaking, one-point loss to St. Ignatius, Marin Catholic went on a 13-game winning streak. Their success during that span could be attributed to being one of the most well balanced teams in Northern California.
The defense limited opposing teams to an average of 10.8 points per game while their physical, smash-mouth offense racked up 475 points for an average of 36.5 points per game. With that powerful combination, the Wildcats won a Marin County Athletic League title (MCAL), a Northern Coast Section (NCS) Division III title and a chance to play for the Division III California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state title.
After the NCS tournament, it was up to the CIF board to decide on who would represent Northern California in the Division III State Title game. Marin Catholic's record made them a strong candidate.
"We were all in a classroom waiting for the phone to ring," coach Peralta said of how his team received the good news. He described the reaction of the team upon finding out they were selected for the state title game as "jubilation."
The Wildcats were headed to the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to take on Serra, one of the top-10 ranked teams the state.
"We can't worry about them," Peralta told his team prior to the matchup. "We can only worry about us."
When asked about his game plan for Serra, Peralta said, "We wanted to keep things fundamental."
Marin Catholic's offensive coordinator, Jose Nuila, worked on this approach with senior quarterback Nate Kristoff all week. With the Wildcats offense relying heavily on the play calling of the quarterback, it was important for him to understand the direction the coaching staff wanted to go.
"Our quarterback makes about 75 percent of the calls in the run game," explained Peralta.
Although the offense did what they set out to do, and defensive coordinator Mamazi Moayed was able to hold Serra's explosive offense to 24 points (they averaged 45 points per game up to that point), the Wildcats trailed by four points as time expired.
Going forward Peralta will look to take what this season's team started and build on it.
"The work ethic of this year's team will live on," he said. "They understood that if you keep playing, good things will happen."
For his success on the field, and his commitment to teaching young men important life lessons that transcend football, the San Francisco 49ers are proud to name Coach Ken Peralta of Marin Catholic High School the 2009 Charlie Wedemeyer Coach of the Year.
Congratulations to all the Wildcat coaches and players on a wonderful season.
In addition to being named Coach of the Year, Coach Peralta and the Marin Catholic High School football program will receive $2,000 from the 49ers Foundation, in addition to the $1,000 they received for Peralta's Coach of the Week honors.