CHS football gearing up for another strong season
It’s no small feat to get a couple hundred teenagers to work together on a difficult task like winning a football game, which is why one has to admire coaches who succeed season after season.
Claremont High School’s Coco Jarin, may be one of those coaches. He had great success in a three-decade career as an assistant, and aims to prove he can replicate that now that he is running his own program.
“Everything we are doing now is to get ready for Norte Vista, which is our first game, said coach Jarin. “We really condition hard on Tuesdays.
“You work hard and all of a sudden you get the good grade, and the good grade is the victory. And if you don’t celebrate you lose that moment, those seven days of hard work. Our goal is to have a successful season, so the kids have to be able to feel, that and hopefully the next week they want more.”
Last year was a mixed bag for the Pack. Undefeated in the pre-season, the team foundered a bit in league play, ending up with a 7-3 record, which was not good enough to advance to the CIF tournament.
The problem, apparently, was that last year’s pre-season competition was not rigorous enough to prepare the team for a tough Palomares League. Additionally, the boys went into league a bit heady with their 5-0 record, including a 42-17 rout of rival Damien and winning the league opener against Bonita 33-29.
To counter that, Claremont will have a much harder pre-season in 2016, facing Norte Vista, Upland, Damien, Pomona and Alta Loma before taking on South Hills in their league opener. The Damien game will be particularly interesting, as the Spartans will be looking for revenge.
“To be considered a team that’s turning a program around and making things happen, you’ve got to play the right guys and see where you match. Hopefully we will be able to match better in offseason and then be tougher in season, and not lose games in the fourth quarter,” said Coach Jarin.
Claremont will field two new quarterbacks this year to fill the void left with the graduation of Raine Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva. Sophomore Reggie Retzlaff, son of longtime Claremont resident and former CMS coach Steve Retzlaff, was brought in from the Webb Schools and has already shown his potential. He will compete for the top spot on the Pack’s offense with senior Jacob Grajales. The first test will come in a scrimmage against Don Lugo next Friday.
Coach Jarin was reluctant to commit to who will start as QB saying only, “We will have to see what happens after the scrimmage. Reggie has really been a part of Claremont his whole life, born and raised here, he went to all of the schools. He is battling Jacob [for the starting position]—who is senior and has been quarterback for this group since they were freshman—so the competition is pretty nice there,” he said.
Regardless of who the quarterback is, he will be looking to connect with senior Duy Tran-Sampson who at running back will be the go-to guy about 70 percent of the time, according to Coach Jarin. “He [Tran-Sampson] is going to be the guy lugging the ball most of the game. He has close to 3,900 yards in his career. He should carry the load for us.”
Hard at work for weeks now, the Wolfpack looked pretty good running drills in the relatively mild summer afternoon heat. Coach Jarin smiled as he noted that the team is bigger this year. There’s another reason to smile. Middle linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu is retuning and, as a junior, is already fielding offers from top colleges including USC.
Since the Palomares League was created two years ago, Claremont has gone 0-2 against the top three teams: South Hills, Glendora and Ayala.
“I really think when they developed this league, they [CIF officials] didn’t know they were going to put such a great league together. The coach and staff at Glendora is second to none. To be a champion you have to beat the champion, and they were champions in all divisions last year, freshman, JV and Varsity,” Coach Jarin said. “We did pick up the tempo as far as our off-season, so hopefully we will be a better football team.”
Following the Don Lugo scrimmage, Claremont will host Riverside’s Norte Vista on August 26 at 7 p.m.