Sweetwater head coach Brian Hay turned a struggling Mar Vista program around and looked to be content at the Imperial Beach school until Sweetwater came knocking and Hay couldn’t resist the challenge of bringing back the rich tradition to the National City school. Hay knew they always had some talent but just needed the right coaching to bring the Red Devils back to the promise land.
And that promise land was the south endzone at Mesa College as Sweetwater scored the lone touchdown of the game with 2:58 left by calling a halfback option play for the 16-yard touchdown.
Brian Hay explained how the coaching staff had to teach the players the fundamentals of football, how to read plays and make adjustments. And over the season the players progressed to the point of giving input to the coaches on what they might do to make adjustments.
Hay also instituted a know profanity rule for his coaches saying “the last thing you should do is yell and cuss at a kid, that should never happen in sports.”
The similarities between Sweetwater (9-4, 4-0) and Monte Vista (7-6, 2-2) were glaring. Each has a similar offensive game with the ground it out wing-t with the forward pass used as a gimmick play. First and second year head coaches who came in with extensive head coaching experience who were trying to turn around programs that had struggled even to reach the playoffs recently. Not to mention a similar color scheme on the uniforms.
The Red Devils turnaround season was similar to Crawford’s magical season. Sweetwater fell one-win short of their first 10-win season since 1993 and this was the first winning season since 1999 (7-5). The Red Devils had not made a playoff appearance since 2004. The last league title was in 1987 (8-3, 4-0).
Sweetwater junior Antonio Garcia ’15 summed it up by stating that “our team, this was the best moment of our lives.”
Sweetwater Football History
Sweetwater was originally known as “National City High”
First game: 1910 (lost to Escondido 10-0)
10-win seasons: 10
First 10-win season: 1970
Last 10-win season: 1993
First CIF title: 1972 (def. Lincoln 22-12 at San Diego Stadium)
Last CIF title: 1984 (def. Vista 28-13 at Jack Murphy Stadium)
Last playoff appearance: 2004