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|MBHS head football coach sets sights on turnaround season|
|San Diego Communities - PB/Mission Beach|
|Written by Keith Antigiovanni, writing for the Beach & Bay Press|
|Thursday, 01 September 2011 09:13|
Head Coach Willie Matson’s Mission Bay High Buccaneers open the 2011 football season Sept. 2 on the road in El Cajon against the Valhalla Norsemen. Matson begins his eighth year as head coach at Mission Bay and looks to bounce back after a disappointing 2010 season.
Despite the sub-.500 season last year, Matson has a cautiously optimistic outlook regarding the 2011 team.
“This is a great group of kids, which bodes well because there is a lot to learn,” Matson said. “The season is full of ups and downs.”
He said he also believes the 2011 team to be more even-keel than the previous year.
“It seems that this team is built to handle the downs and not get too big-headed when we have good things happen,” he said.
Matson’s cautious optimism is based on how his team performed in 2010 as the Buccaneers went 3-9 after an incredibly successful undefeated season (13-0) the year before, collecting a Div. IV CIF championship and a No. 5 state ranking, which Matson describes as his high point at Mission Bay thus far.
“That was a dream team,” Matson said. “We had a lot of Division I (college) guys [after graduation that year]. The ball bounced our way and we were high-powered offensively (almost 50 points per game).”
In contrast, Matson describes the 2010 season as his low point at Mission Bay.
“It was the follow-up year,” he said. “People still had high expectations, as we did, and we still made the playoffs. What happened to us last year is that the juniors who were on that undefeated team failed to realize they were now the seniors, and that they had to be the leaders. We had a lot of disappointments and very few guys played up to their potential.”
Matson is in his second stint as Mission Bay High’s head coach. His first stint was from 1984-88. Since Matson returned in 2004, he has posted a 43-24-2 regular season record. His teams have qualified for the postseason seven straight years, won or tied for the Western League title in 2006, 2007 and 2009, reached the CIF finals in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and won the 2009 Div. IV title.
In between stints, he was the head coach at Kearny and Hoover high schools.
Matson also described the differences between the Mission Bay High teams of the 1980s and those of the 2000s.
“The school has changed so much,” Matson said. “Back in the 1980s, it truly was a neighborhood school and now its a neighborhood of retirees and college kids. There were more houses back then and more families.”
He also noted Mission Bay’s status as a magnet school.
“The magnet kids are great kids, but its very hard to get a sense of community here because everyone is from all over town,” Matson said. “Back in the ‘80s, we had a great sense of community. The kids all hung out together. I’m coaching some of their sons now.”
Matson said next spring there will be a new turf football field and a synthetic track installed, to be followed by lights, bleachers and restrooms on both sides of the field and a new press box.
This article originally appeared in the Beach & Bay Press (a media partner of SDNR).
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