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Malibu coach optimistic about season

MHS football players Bronson Bard (left) and Chris Taras prepare for the quarterback to hike the ball during practice. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Malibu High school football players engage in a tackle drill. Photos by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
9:39 am PDT August 26, 2014

Malibu High School football coach Ray Humphrey is hoping balance and gained experience will be the keys to his team’s success for the 2014 season.
“Right now we’re a balanced squad, and we definitely didn’t have that last year,” he said, describing the relationship between the team’s offensive and defensive capabilities. “It is definitely a change and good thing to have.”
The Sharks finished last season 0-10, an upset Humphrey said was likely due to a general lack of experience, speed and size among the squad’s comparatively young players.
“When you play a season and it’s not going your way or by your plan, that changes your attitude a bit,” he said “It was hard to get fired up each week when we weren’t winning games, but that’s going to change this season.”
What already sets this season apart from last year, Humphrey said, is a roster that boasts more experienced players.
“We had a lot of freshman and sophomores last season,” he said. “We had young guys playing at the varsity level who did not necessarily know how to take on an opponent who was bigger, faster and stronger than they were.”
But the veteran players are not just entering the season with a new class rank. Humphrey said they’re taking countless hours of weightlifting, agility training and strategizing – a long with wisdom obtained from last season – to the field.
“We’re faster on offense, stronger on defense and we’ve moved some things around and changed how we worked a bit,” he said. “I think we’re going to be balanced, but until we play our first game, we can’t really know.”
While the Sharks’ record last season didn’t open up much opportunity for the team to succeed at the league level, Humphrey said he hopes that, too, will be different this season.
“The goal is obviously to do better this year than last year and just to play some good football,” he said. “The guys have been working hard and are excited, so I think we just need to win some games for our chance to make playoffs and play for a league title.”
Humphrey said key players this season include senior quarterback Dylan Lubell, who has a career total of 543 passing yards and two touchdowns.
“He dedicated himself over the summer to get better and lead the team,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said junior linebacker Alec Stevenson – who made 132 of his 150 career total tackles last season – is expected to be another key players, along with receivers Luca Marinaro and Indiana McAlpine.