Golden Valley High football coach Dan Kelley doesn’t deny that greater expectations grace the shoulders of his record-breaking senior wide receiver entering the 2017 season.
Kelley, though, believes Jalin Lewis is up to the challenge.
“He’s a different player, just everywhere,” Kelley said this month at the Saugus Under the Lights Passing Tournament. “… He’s really trying to get to the next level as well. He has a lot of colleges looking at him. He broke GV records as a junior. In his eyes, he needs to come back and do even better.
“That’s tough for a football player to try and reach further than last year when we had such a great year and he did so well in the stats.”
Kelley said he’s seen Lewis worker harder both in the classroom and on the practice field after a 2016 season in which Lewis broke single-season program records for catches (67), touchdown grabs (11) and receiving yards (1,122).
Lewis, who has received interest from Washington State and Colorado, according to Kelley, is focused on improving his route running and on keeping his eye on the ball this summer.
He’s certainly more comfortable at the varsity level now then he was at this time last year when he was a junior varsity player trying to find his way.
“Now he’s a varsity player,” said Kelley, who led Golden Valley to a CIF semifinal last year. “You saw him run that crossing pattern against Hart (at the Saugus passing tourney) and catch the ball full stride. In pads, I think that’s a touchdown.
“His burst ability after the catch and route running and his understanding of what he needs to do to get open has really increased, and that’s what you expect out of a guy like that.”
Lewis said at Saugus’ passing tournament that he felt a little extra pressure heading into the 2017 campaign. For one thing, is adjusting to playing with new, young quarterbacks after teaming up with senior Josh Valano last year.
“We have to get used to each other,” Lewis said.
Another newcomer may lighten the load for Lewis. USC-commit De’Gabriel Floyd, who transferred to Golden Valley from Hawkins High of Los Angeles after last season, is expected to be an impact player for the Grizzlies on both sides of the ball.
Kelley said Floyd can play linebacker, safety, running back and receiver.
“(Floyd) brings, especially with Jalin, a balance to what we’re trying to do, especially with the passing game,” Kelley said. “You can’t double cover like Hart doubled Jalin a few times. … If you don’t have those (other) playmakers to get open, having one great player isn’t going to take you where you want to go.”
Does Lewis, who has impressed Kelley with his play at cornerback this summer, have any personal goals for 2017?
“Yes, I do,” Lewis said. “To try to break records again.”
Mike Herrington calling plays again
Hart High head coach Mike Herrington will call plays this season for the Indians after relinquishing the duty during the 2016 season.
Patrick Dietz served as Hart’s offensive coordinator last year, when the Indians went 8-3 and averaged a little over 30 points a game.
Dietz left the position for a job opportunity, according to Herrington, who became Hart’s head coach in 1989 but didn’t take on the role of offensive coordinator until 2008.
Hart averaged 31 points a game in 2015 under Herrington’s direction.
“I like to do it,” Herrington said recently. “I probably made more suggestions last year than (Dietz) wanted to know because I know what to look for.”