Accepting a head coaching position at a private school has very little job security unless you win. That's the harsh truth these days in Southern California high school sports.
Bellflower St. John Bosco and Santa Margarita hired new coaches as part of the great purge after the 2009 season, when several private schools made coaching changes.
Now St. John Bosco (5-4, 4-0) will be playing Santa Margarita (8-1, 3-1) for the Trinity League championship on Friday night, so things have worked out well for Jason Negro at St. John Bosco and Harry Welch at Santa Margarita.
"I think if you do things right, whether at a public or private school, and do it well, you're always going to have a job," said Negro, who left public Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills for St. John Bosco.
Welch guided Santa Margarita to a CIF state championship Division I bowl victory last season and has his team in position to win a league title even though quarterback Johnny Stanton was lost to a season-ending knee injury right before league play began. That's a coaching feat in itself, with sophomore Kyle Sweet filling in and gaining experience and confidence each week.
Negro has also demonstrated lots of resiliency, getting his team to prosper after having to forfeit four victories for using an ineligible player and surviving last week against Anaheim Servite utilizing fourth- and fifth-string running backs.
That's what it takes to win the grind of the Trinity League and Pac-5 Division. Backups have to come through, because the physical challenges of the game will produce injuries.
"This team keeps plugging away in the face of adversity," Negro said.
If Santa Margarita wins and Santa Ana Mater Dei (7-2, 3-1) knocks off Servite, there will be a three-way tie for first place, forcing coin flips on Saturday to decide the seeding order for the league's three playoff teams.
Whatever happens, getting to the playoffs usually means another year of employment for a coach at a high-profile private school.
Records at El Rancho
The offense has been clicking at Pico Rivera El Rancho, where senior quarterback Joey Sanchez has 1,734 yards passing and 1,141 yards rushing. The school record for passing is 1,939 yards. He already has set single-game school records by passing for 381 yards against Whittier California and rushing for 318 yards against Montebello.
Senior running back Johnny Garcia is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing. He has 890 yards.