As the 2019 high school football season launches Friday night with a showdown game matching No. 3 Corona Centennial against No. 1 Santa Ana Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, it’s the perfect time to have a conversation with the coach who has provided inspiration to public schools seeking to compete against the top private schools in Southern California.
Matt Logan, entering his 23rd season as head coach at Centennial, has won 10 Southern Section championships and 17 league titles while developing a spread offensive attack that has been copied and emulated. He and his staff have helped develop numerous college and several NFL players through the years.
He sat down earlier this summer to offer insights and opinions on a variety of subjects.
Public schools have struggled to stay competitive with private schools. How has your program been able to keep pace?
That’s a good question. The kids who come here want to compete and they know the level of competition they play against. I think they’re prepared for that. The way these divisions are it’s crazy but I think it’s the highest competition in the state, if not the country. They understand the expectations and what level we’re trying to get to.
Is it the community that helps?
Absolutely. Our parents are tremendous. Our booster club is awesome. Our administration has been phenomenal from Day 1.
You’ve had lucrative offers to leave Centennial. Why stay?
I was pretty much raised in this community. I’ve been here since I was 5 years old. It’s awesome to be here. We’ve got such a great situation. We’ve got good kids. We’ve got good students, kids ready and prepared to go off to college and have that as a goal.
What’s your feeling about parents moving their sons and daughters for sports reasons?
It’s unfortunate it’s become more the norm now than the rarity. I’m not a big fan of it. I wish there were more quality programs out there that people could feel comfortable sending their kids to the local school. I get it. I see both sides. It affects us both ways. We lose some and get some. A parent always has the right to do what they think is best for their kids. Sometimes it’s good for kids to struggle and fail. They need to learn that. Some of those lessons are lost.
What’s your proudest moment as a coach?
One comes to mind. We were playing St. John Bosco at the Big A. We took a knee to win and quarterback Anthony Catalano runs straight to me and gives me this big hug. It was a hug not so much winning a championship but a hug, ‘Man, we had a goal, we did all this hard work, we slayed the Goliath.’ It was crazy. It was an all-encompassing hug we did this together.
What’s the secret to your high-scoring offense?
Before I became head coach I was the defensive coordinator. On defense we always wanted to try to create pressure. We want to take that mentality to the offensive side. We want to try to put up as many points on you as fast as we can, make you uncomfortable, make you play from behind, make you do things you might not normally do. The success we’ve had depends on our execution. It continues to evolve weekly.
What are you looking for from your 2019 team?
We have a relatively young team with incredible players on defense. We’ll see how we develop.