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2014 HS FOOTBALL New coaching regime leads to new direction for John Glenn

 By Loren Kopff


0-10 overall last season, 0-6 in the Suburban League, seventh place, 13-37 overall last five seasons

Head coach: Vince Lobendahn (first season)

Lost 17 seniors out of 38 from 2013 opening day roster

Last time made the playoffs: 2002

2014 schedule

Aug. 28           Magnolia (6-6 overall last season)

Sept. 4Pioneer (3-7)

Sept. 12          Santa Ana Valley (7-3-1)

Sept. 19          Gardena (1-9)

Sept. 25 (HC)  Bellflower (5-5)

Oct. 3              BYE    

Oct. 10 @       La Mirada (4-7)

Oct. 17            Mayfair (5-6)

Oct. 24@        Cerritos (2-8)

Oct. 30            Norwalk (13-1)

Nov. 7 @         Artesia (6-4)

Once again, John Glenn’s football program will begin a new season with a new leader as Vince Lobendahn becomes the school’s ninth head coach since 1999. Lobendahn, formally the head coach at Lakewood, was once the freshman coach at Glenn as well as an assistant here. He takes over a program that hasn’t seen a lot of good days. Glenn went through its third 0-10 season since 2003 and has only fielded a .500 team (2009) once in at least the past 16 seasons.

But Lobendahn is confident that this program will turn the page beginning this season. Over 70 students came out on the first day of practice. He says he’s going to run what is going to be the philosophy that will help the program out. That means he’s not going to run what the parents or the community wants him to run. He says he wants the kids to experience “W’s”.

“There’s a program that you have to set up here,” Lobendahn said. “And that’s kind of the area that I figured I would put my biggest fingerprint on. I felt I had to build a culture of the weight room. I also built a culture of line. I am the line coach, personally. So, I’ll make sure I put my fingerprint on the line. If you’re going to come to John Glenn, you’ll be able to say Vince Lobendahn is the one who coached me on the line, as well as being the head coach.”


Once Lobendahn took over the program, he broke down all 10 games from last season and counted more negatives than positives from a large majority of the possessions. He looked at the number of dropped fumbled snaps and the turnover ratio and said the team averaged two negative plays for every positive play.

The offense struggled mightily last season to the tune of 122 points and failed to score more than seven points six times. In the other four games, Glenn scored 15, 20, 26 and 29 points. Senior Aaron Conrad, a transfer from La Mirada, will be the signal caller while senior Erick Galindo will be the backup. Senior Dominick Enriquez is slated to get the bulk of the touches in the backfield as he rushed for 524 yards on 124 carries last season. Also expected to see a lot of time alongside Enriquez is senior Jamal Burns (199 yards on 17 carries). Juniors Elijah Cendejas and Juan Duarte are also in the mix.

While Glenn rushed for 1,869 yards last season, the Eagles had problems in the air department where two quarterbacks combined to complete 35 percent of the passes for 650 yards with half a dozen touchdowns and the same number of interceptions. Juniors Mark Arzate and Martin Sanchez, along with Miguel Ochoa are the leading targets for Conrad. The line is top heavy with upperclassmen with four seniors-left tackle Carlos Jurado, left guard Anthony Varoz, center William Ruano and right guard Diego Gomez, a transfer from Savanna. Junior Justin Martinez will occupy the right tackle position. Louis Hayes, who has coached at Long Beach Poly, St. John Bosco and Servite, has been added to the coaching staff on this side of the ball.

“We are going to be running an offense that isn’t going to give us challenges with snaps, fumbles and interceptions,” Lobendahn said. “We’re going to run an offense that’s going to be benefiting a program and allowing all of us to be selfless and more active in a team approach to winning a game.”


If the offense was bad, the defense had its share of issues as well. The Eagles allowed fewer than 30 points only once, and that was a 14-7 loss to Santa Ana Valley with the deciding touchdown coming in the third quarter. Lobendahn brought John Washington over to help with the defense. Washington was the former head coach of nine years at Fremont High.

Jurado, who had 28 tackles last season, is the top guy on the line. The rest of the positions have yet to be announced. The secondary will feature junior Alan Solorzano, Burns and Enriquez (52 tackles) while the strength of the defense figures to be the linebackers, where senior Christian Borrayo, juniors Diego Banuelos (37 tackles) and Andrew Castro, Arzate, Duarte and Galindo will all vie for the spots.

“Both areas, to me, are sound,” Lobendahn said of his team. “They can line up and they know most of their assignments. I would worry about the defensive plays in the box. If it’s a bubble and they come down and they miss a tackle, can that turn into a house call, defensively speaking?”


The most noticeable change in Glenn’s schedule will be the seven home away from home games as the Eagles have ditched Excelsior Stadium for the friendly confines of Goodman Stadium on the campus of La Mirada, which has a field turf surface. The reason for the move, much like when Norwalk played its home playoff games last season at La Mirada, stems from the poor field conditions at the outdated and rundown Excelsior Stadium.

“Let’s just say I’m trying to keep safety for everybody because of our field situation,” Lobendahn said.

All four non league opponents are rematches. Glenn and Pioneer will meet for the sixth straight season with the Titans holding a 3-2 series advantage. Glenn and Santa Ana Valley will also meet for the sixth straight time but Glenn has one victory against the Falcons. Gardena’s lone victory last season was a 47-0 home win against Glenn. The Eagles have lost 11 straight league games on the field and since 2003, are 8-58 in the circuit. Glenn has the most homecoming games against Bellflower (five) than any other league opponent this century but has lost the previous four.

“Regardless of who it is, all of those teams handled this team so well that we have a big statement to make in any game with all five of those teams, specifically with the four preseason games,” Lobendahn said of his non league schedule. “There were two games that Glenn battled pretty well-the Santa Ana Valley and Pioneer games. I’m expecting in our first four games to challenge those teams enough to say we’ve changed.”


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