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Football: The man can coach

December 11, 2011 | 10:31 am

I've watched Harry Welch coach since he was at Canyon Country Canyon in 1982. Nothing surprises me about what he can do to make teenagers succeed. His mission in life is to lead. Now sometimes the journey is hard to get to where he wants you to go. You can follow him and perhaps succeed, or give up and years later wonder what could have been.

The man can coach. How he was able to get an inconsistent Santa Margarita football program to turn around so quickly and become the Pac-5 champion two years after his hiring is one of the most remarkable feats in Southern California coaching history.

Yes, coaches have come in and done things quickly. Jeff Kearin won a Division I title in his first season as coach at Loyola in 2005, but he inherited a solid program from Steve Grady.

People thought it would take several years before Welch could have an effect in the toughest division. People underestimated him. He's all about making things simple, practicing over and over and convincing his players to give their all. And it worked.

He has won nine section titles with three different programs. He seems a little calmer on the sideline than the days he'd growl, yell or try to intimidate when things happened that he didn't like. I think he took time to enjoy his moment on Saturday night, taking in the whole scene at Angel Stadium of screaming Santa Margarita fans during a 27-13 win over San Clemente.

He deserved it. And he's not finished. Santa Margarita will be everybody's No. 1 team in 2012. His mission isn't close to being done.

-- Eric Sondheimer