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Football coach determined to improve team

Compassionate. Merciful. Gentle. It is easy to link these words when describing a friend, but when it comes to a football coach, these words rarely come to mind.

“Football coaches seems to always be strict and obessed with conditioning,” Shane Darakjian, ’09, said. “I have a difficult time saying anything positive about them.”

Vince Lombardi, former NFL coach, once said, “Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.” Driving the football team towards perfection Jon Hall, alumnus and varsity head coach, strives to outsmart his opponents with clever plays and unexpected strategies.

“I love the schemes and constant ‘chess match’ you play with the opposing coach,” Hall said. “The payoff is watching it all unfold on Fridays.”

Hall is entering his 11th year as a campus coach and seventh as head coach.

“I’ve coach for a total of 12 years as a part of 14 seasons in both Germany and in the valley,” Hall said. “My favorite memory from all the seasons would be our last second field goal to win the school’s first ever playoff game, 23-20, over Parlier when we were the No. 1 seed and undefeated in 2002.”

After successful years of consistent playoff appearances, a recent problem for the team is the small amount of players.

“The biggest challenge has to be the numbers,” Hall said. “We only have three seniors playing, but the lower classes have fairly large numbers. Next year we have the potential to have over 30 players on our varsity.”

Although some players fear injury on the field, Hall believes football brings less injuries than other sports.

“For those who are really afraid of getting hurt do not realize that there is no greater risk of injury in football than any other sport,” Hall said. “In fact, soccer is the sport they should fear the most in regards to getting hurt.”

Besides dedicating his time to coaching, Hall also teaches Bible and two history classes.

“I sacrifice a lot of time to coach football,” Hall said. “Besides practice, coaches spend hours watching and breaking down game film, preparing practice and too many little things to name.”

While many view school spirit as an innate quality, Hall believes football build a positive tone for the year and improves school spirit.

“Football brings out the most spirit, school pride and community,” Hall said. “Nothing has the potential to bring more to a school than football, identity, support and funds, in high school or even college for that matter.”

Hall admits that he sacrifices time at home during the summer to spend days with his football team.

“Summer break is filled with all things football,” Hall said. “It is so time consuming that it does put stress on my wife and kids. I have to miss some of my son’s activities because of practice or extra activities.”

Senior captain Ryan Brunn appreciates Hall’s dedication to the growth of the program.

“Hall is very commited to the football team,” Brunn said. “He’s always a positive person and he’s always consistent at his work ethic. All the hard work he does is proof he wants the program to grow and be successful.”

Brunn’s football experience began seven years ago as a running back and cornerback for Mickey Cox followed by Clark (Intermediate). If he is giving the oppotunity, he would love to play football beyond high school.

“I hope to get the chance to play college ball,” Brunn said. “I may end up going to Fresno city after high school. There is also an Art Institute on San Francisco that I would like to transfer to and begin working on a master’s in Architecture.”

Hall’s trust in Brunn has instilled confidence in his senior captain.

“I do not think of myself as superior to my teammates,” Brunn said. “Despite the title, I will do whatever I have to do to help us succeed.”

While many teams judge impressive stats as a mark of acheivement, Brunn finds statisfaction elsewhere.

“My favorite thing about football is when I step on the field and I’m under the lights, I know I’m doing something I love,” Brunn said. “The adrenaline I get makes me feel invincible. I love the feeling after making a big hit or having a long run.”

As the seasons change, senior captian Brunn throws off his helmet and pads and pulls on his glove and metal spikes.

“I used to run track the past two years, but now I’m turning my sights towards baseball,” Brunn said. “I might not be all that great, but I enjoy playing it.”

The football team will have a Kick-off/Fundraiser Tri-tip dinner on Aug. 24 from 6-9 P.M. Tickets may be purchased from the JH office for $15.

The team will open the season at home (Clark Intermediate) with a game against Bakersfield Christian. The Eagles first season game will be held at Clark Intermediate Stadium, 902 Fifth street, in Clovis on Aug. 31. The cost is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for students. Fresno Christian Junior High and High School students are admitted free with a ticket they may obtain in the offices on Friday.

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