During the week, Bryan Smith is out of the house by 6 a.m. and doesn’t get home until around 7 p.m. Such is the life for many high school football coaches, where juggling work and family life can be quite a chore if one is not prepared for the grind.
Fortunately for Smith and his wife, Marla, they’ve had plenty of experience in this delicate balancing act. Smith was the offensive coordinator at San Benito High for nine years before succeeding former coach Chris Cameron this season, so he’s got plenty of experience on how to make the most of each day.
That means leaving the football stuff behind and focusing on family once he gets home.
“The first thing I do when I get home from practice everyday is sit down at the table, have dinner and talk about our days,” said Smith, who has a 5-year-old son named Cadence. “I always ask Cadence about his day at school, whether or not he was respectful and what he learned. I cherish that time.”
Indeed, time is a precious commodity for high school football coaches, as most of them spend an inordinate amount of time breaking down film, scripting plays and preparing for the upcoming opponent. Every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Balers coaching staff meets at school to talk about anything and everything, from Friday night’s game, to the following week’s opponent to finding a way to get in a seldom-used player who works hard in practice.
“More than anything, we laugh, have fun and enjoy spending time together,” Smith said. “We talk about our young men and how can we help them build and grow.”
Saturday is the one quality day in which the Smiths have together, which usually start out with watching Cadence play soccer. The Smiths also have a Sunday night tradition: watching Sunday Night Football on NBC. Of course, every high school football coach wouldn’t be able to balance the work and family life if not for a strong wife providing a steadying presence.
“Marla has been nothing but supportive,” Smith said.
Last week’s rewind
The Haybalers’ 37-20 win over host Alvarez kept them perfect at 5-0 overall and 1-0 in Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division play. They took a 30-7 lead after Colby Noble blocked and recovered an Alvarez punt before reaching the end zone. The Eagles managed to get to within 30-20 with 5 minutes, 5 seconds remaining, but that’s as close as they would get.
Hunter Nye rushed for a game-high 143 yards on 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 23, 8 and 16 yards. The Balers totaled 320 yards of offense to the Eagles’ 245. They also received a TD from Zack Alnas, who scored from a yard out in the first quarter, and a 24-yard field goal from Nik Hernandez, also in the opening quarter. Alnas finished with 42 yards on nine carries, and Hunter Raquet was 5 of 11 for 66 yards. Smith was particularly pleased with the team’s special-teams play, as San Benito blocked two punts—Dimarco Del Curto also blocked and recovered one deep in Alvarez territory, setting up the Hernandez field goal.
Backup kicker Jesus Reyes also had an impact, as he delivered a pooch/onside kick that the team recovered in the second quarter. Noble also had an interception, playing one of his best games of the season.
This week’s matchup
The Balers host Monte Vista Christian on Friday in a battle of unbeatens. The Mustangs also come into the game at 5-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. Even though MVC is undefeated, it hasn’t played anyone with a winning record. However, Smith said the Mustangs are a formidable foe who will present plenty of challenges.
MVC, which won last year’s matchup, 22-20, spread teams out horizontally and vertically, testing a defense’s ability to cover in space, communicate well and make solid reads. If the San Benito defense is lacking in any of those areas Friday, it could make for a tough night.
“They run their schemes extremely well,” Smith said. “In that sense in formation we have to prepare and be much more sound in our approach. They have a QB who makes some really good decisions.”