Trinity Classical Academy football coach Les Robinson’s feelings about his team entering Saturday night’s opener against Silver Valley of Yermo in some ways mirror his feelings about his quarterback.
Robinson sees the potential for great things, but he won’t know for sure until he sees both entities between the white lines.
The quarterback is Phineas Yi, a junior who missed most of last season due to injuries. That combined with the fact that Yi didn’t play football as a freshman in high school means Trinity’s big-armed QB is still getting his feet underneath him.
“He has a big body. He’s 212, 215 pounds,” Robinson said. “He runs better than people think he can run, and he has a strong arm. I still think he is nowhere near his potential, but if we have been successful in what we tried to deposit in his game, if it shows up, he’s going to be the difference-maker for us.”
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Yi began playing football when he was 7. He saw longtime NFL quarterback Peyton Manning play on TV and wanted to emulate him.
In high school, Yi started out at Chaminade of West Hills. The daily commute, though, was draining, and a few weeks into the semester, Yi transferred to Valencia High.
He shifted gears again as a sophomore and headed for Trinity, where he was injured in the season opener, and he estimates he played the equivalent of a regulation game over the course of the year because of ailments.
Now, as a junior, he’ll lead a group that returns seven starters on each side of the ball. The Knights, however, didn’t play a scrimmage like most high school teams because of a school activity, Robinson said.
“When we play Friday night, we’re basically untested,” Robinson said. “I don’t know how we hit. I don’t know how we respond to getting hit. Friday is going to be quite a journey for us. I’m hoping it’s going to be great, but I kind of feel like Forrest Gump: I don’t know what I’m going to get.”
The situation appears all the more daunting because of the opponent. Trinity lost to Silver Valley 34-0 in last season’s first game.
“We started off that game crippled,” Robinson said earlier this summer. “We just imploded and we did not play.
“We are a much better team now.”