While Santa Clarita Valley high school varsity football teams are halfway through the preleague schedule, a new freshman team is enjoying a season of firsts.
Fielding a team of all freshmen, first-year Castaic football head coach and former Hart High School coach Tony Uebelhardt has the daunting task of creating a winning football program from scratch.
“I have a lot of kids that have never played football before and, for some, that means teaching them the very basics of football,” Uebelhardt said.
The Coyotes aren’t in a league, yet, because they can only field a freshman team; but they’re scheduled to play the Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus and West Ranch freshman squads in their inaugural season.
Playing a 10-game schedule, the Coyotes started Aug. 22 with a 46-0 road loss at the hands of West Ranch.
Things did not improve for Castaic the following week against Uebelhardt’s former school, Hart.
Castaic lost the contest 34-6, suffering injuries to both their first- and second-string quarterbacks. Although Castaic didn’t come away with the win, they accomplished something equally as important to the program; scoring the first points in the program’s history.
“It was a lot of emotion that came out, especially between me and my assistant coach,” Uebelhardt said. “The next day on campus all the teachers and kids were excited. All the teachers have come from schools out here in Santa Clarita, and they know what it’s like.”
With the pressure of scoring in the rearview mirror, things began to turn around for the young team in a positive light the following game.
Heading out on the road to face the Lancaster Eagles for a mid-week contest on Wednesday, Sept. 4, Castaic earned another program first for the second week in a row — a win.
The Coyotes moved multiple players to new positions and scored a last-minute touchdown to secure the school’s first victory.
Following the victory, the Coyotes fell in the next two games and were shut out 28-0 against Alhambra and lost 50-14 to Golden Valley.
Castaic has a bye week this coming week. The Coyotes close out their inaugural season with a home game against Camarillo (Oct. 10), and two road games against Heritage (Oct. 17) and Moorpark (Oct. 24), before finishing out the season at home against Crescenta Valley (Nov. 1).
All home games are played at Castaic High School.