If success breeds success, then Lynnwood’s football team should be headed in the right direction.
While the Royals struggled through a 0-10 regular season last fall, two other Lynnwood teams experienced the kind of success the football team yearns for. The boys basketball and baseball teams both advanced to their respective state tournaments in 2009.
Football coach Dorian Manza expects those teams’ success to filter down to the gridiron.
“I think it’ll help change the attitude a little bit,” said Manza, who’ll be entering his third season as head coach.
Some of the players on the basketball and baseball teams also play football.
“I think it’ll improve the all-around confidence with our athletes,” Manza said.
Lynnwood wrapped up its spring football workouts in June. The Royals met four days a week for three weeks.
Manza saw some talented skill players, but the numbers, which started out all right, got smaller and smaller as the spring drills continued.
“We’re really talented at some of the skill positions,” Manza said. “We’re thin on numbers.”
Lynnwood returns senior-to-be quarterback Michael Stanley, who started at defensive back and also saw limited action at quarterback. Stanley also plays baseball and was the player who hit a walk-off grand slam home run that sent the Royals to the state tournament.
“He throws a pretty good ball,” Manza said. “He’s a really intelligent quarterback and he’s got a good arm.”
Two receivers Stanley will be throwing to include Coleman Bryant, a three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and runs track, and tight end Conner Brock.
A newcomer Manza expects to make a big impact is Typhis Cochran, a transfer from California, who will be one of the faster players on the team.
“He’s really explosive,” Manza said. “He’ll definitely make his presence felt.”
Lynnwood should be a team with decent speed but not a lot of size or depth, potential problems in the Western Conference South Division, which includes a number of 4A schools.
“We’re pretty thin at linebacker,” Manza added. “I think our returning receivers are pretty good. … We’re not big on the line and we’re not big defensively.”
What the Royals do have going for them is that they are moving into a brand new school in the fall. Once everyone settles in, Manza expects to see a rise in the numbers and enthusiasm for football.
Manza will be looking for “renewed excitement, a fresh start and a fresh program. We’ll have a new field and a new weight room. We hope to gain a lot of momentum from that.”
Until then, Manza is hoping to see a strong commitment from the returning players to hit the weight room and to build some confidence.
“We need a lot more people out consistently,” Manza said. “We need our guys lifting weights year-round, working out year-round. Until we get a consistently high number who are lifting weights and participating in the offseason, it’s going to continue to be a rebuilding process.”