LONGMONT — It may be a bit late in the game, but the Longmont Christian High School football team is getting a new head coach just in time for the 2015 football season.
Longmont Christian graduate Joshua Mendenhall stepped down on May 15 after just one year at the helm of the team he led to the eight-man Elite Eight in 2006 as a player. One month later, Longmont Christian has announced that Anthony Barela will be taking over the position.
For a program that went 0-9 last season and will be led by a third coach in as many years, Barela’s arrival comes just early enough for the Warriors to start working on turning things around.
“I’m excited about the job and the potential there,” Barela said. “I tried to learn everything about them from the school’s website and MaxPreps.com and everything else. The sense of community at the school really drew me to it. They do things the right way and they deserve to have a winning program so hopefully I can help with that.”
The 28-year-old graduate of Sheridan High School in Denver will be assuming his second head coaching role. Barela was most recently the head football coach at Pinnacle Charter Middle School in Thornton.
Not only has Barela arrived with a go-getter attitude, he has brought an entirely new coaching staff with him in offensive coordinator Darran Donahue, defensive coordinator Alex Barela, as well as receivers and defensive backs coach Nguyen Nguyen.
“The main thing we’re going to bring is a foundation,” Barela said. “We won’t be settling for doing things half-right whether it’s a drill or in the classroom. We’ll be striving for perfection.
“It wasn’t a huge emphasis to bring in my own guys but when you’re trying to lay a foundation, it helps to have a staff that already knows what my expectations are. Especially taking over so late in the summer, that will help us to catch up to those teams that have been doing stuff since March.”
While Longmont Christian athletic director Melody Jauregui said she was sad to see Mendenhall leave, she understood that he was considering a move in response to his job transferring him and likely wouldn’t have the time to coach this season. But after last year’s transitional season, Jauregui said she thinks Barela and his vision are exactly what the program needs.
“He’s already started breaking down film from last year to see where adjustments could have been made and he has a lot of knowledge,” Jauregui said. “He doesn’t just want to build a varsity program, he also wants to build a youth program and a middle school program to help feed the high school team. That’s something we’ve never had at Longmont Christian.”
A team made up largely of sophomores last season, Longmont Christian graduated only one senior in May. The team also returns junior quarterback Luke Puchino, who threw for over 1,800 yards last season, and junior receiver Cameron Jauregui, who caught 65 passes for 1,040 of those yards.
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