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New coach ready to rebuild Panthers
Rick Stewart is a Lindsay High School graduate and Porterville High School’s new football coach. He will be taking over a program that finished 1-9 last year.
Question: How long have you been coaching high school football? Answer: This will be my 16th year.
Q: What other schools have you coached at and how have you done? A: When I took over at McFarland, they were 1-19. We made the playoffs for only the seventh time in school history. When I started coaching at Corcoran, they were 0-20 when I got there. Last year, we were undefeated league champions. If you want to measure success by what we do on the field, I’ve experienced a little bit of that. But I don’t measure success by what we do on the field. If somebody wants to ask us how successful our football team is, I always tell them, ‘Come back and ask me in 10 years. Let me know what kind of fathers, workers and husbands you are.’ The biggest thank you I can get from my players are invitations to their college graduations.
Q: What are your expectations for this program come fall? A: To be very competitive and to keep all of the boys eligible. We have three mission statements — competitive excellence, academics and character building. We’re going to try and hit all three of those.
Q: With Porterville finishing 1-9 last season, what do you feel needs to be done to rebound this program? A: The boys need to create the expectation that we can compete. We’re trying to instill that work ethic and commitment in our players.
Q: Has your team been practicing a lot lately? A: We lift weights five days a week and we practice two nights a week. We have full-contact scrimmages every Thursday night with Garces, Delano, Cesar Chavez and Woodlake.
Q: What have you been working on the most with your team? A: Strength and instituting the new offense. We run a pretty complicated, multi-formation Wing T. There’s been a lot of teaching there. Off the field, we’re trying to create those character traits — team building, goal setting and trust building between the coaches and players.
Q: Are there any players that you’re particularly excited about for next season? A: We’re really talented at running back. Anthony Cemo and Josh Dieterle should do some really big things for us. Our offensive line is very smart and intelligent. Victor Leyva, who played with the Cincinnati Bengals for five years, has been coaching them and we’re really excited about that. We think that might turn out to be a real plus for us. We’re also pretty excited about our linebacking crew. We’ve got a sophomore coming up, Kevin Hulse, and a junior, Ysidro Perez, and we stole Paul Dieterle from Lindsay. He’s taking care of our defense. There are definitely some bright spots.
Q: Are there any positions that are incomplete and in need of a little work? A: Our weaknesses right now are at quarterback and in the defensive backfield. There’s just no depth at those positions. We’re trying to find some answers there.
Q: Who is your first game against? A: Lemoore at Lemoore. They’re a senior class and they’ve only lost two games in their entire lifetime. They have all of the predictions of winning the Valley championship. It will be a great game-one test for us.
Contact Alex K.W. Schultz at 784-5000, Ext. 1048, or email@example.com.