Welcome to another installment of Friday Night Lights. Every Friday from now until November, we will be posting an interview with a different high school coach. This series will highlight different high school programs around the country, with an attempted focus on high schools that are recruited by Mountain West Conference schools. The hope is that through this journey we all understand a bit about what goes into coaching at the high school level, what teams do similar and different from one another, and also learn more about the teams that recruits are coming from each year.
Lawndale High School in Lawndale California was recommended to us by a parent of one the football players there. The parent went on to say the coaching staff there was top notch and they have had quite a few players with Mountain West offers and commitments both this year and in years past. Through our research, we discovered Lawndale high school was closed back in 1981, but later reopened (obviously) in 1998. So in many ways, the school is only 20 years old. This means the program and the funding that goes into it is also relatively young. Head football coach Travis Clark was kind enough to speak with us about his program and how it fits into the California football landscape.
How would you describe the culture or identify of your program? What do you think might make you unique compared to other schools?
The culture and identity of our program is persistent and relentless. What makes us unique is that we are able to accomplish what we’re able to accomplish with minimal to no financial support, with access to minimal facilities and coaching staff.
Some of those accomplishments were on display last year, when the team finished 11-1, including 5-0 in the Ocean League. Their season finished in a 22-20 loss in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
What styles of offense and defense do you play?
Our style is whatever talent we have in the stable at the time. It is very difficult to put a title on it, we don’t run a certain scheme, we run what’s best for our program at the time.
What are some specific ways your program develops players or helps them improve from freshman to senior year?
Developing our players are essential to the success of our program, we don’t have the depth most programs have, so it is imperative that we develop our kids. They develop in the classroom, as young men, and as sons.
What’s something about your team/program that not many people know about?
Most people do not know or would not know that we do not have an adequate weight room. This is due to the lack of financial support and limited resources that was discussed above.
How do you as a team balance the current high school season with players being recruited by colleges or how might you help a high school recruit with that process?
Assisting our players with the recruiting process is one major reason I am in the coaching profession, that balance comes very naturally for us.
Who are some of the prominent players from your school who have gone to D1 programs and where have they gone?
I have been at Lawndale for 3-years now, and before our arrival Lawndale hadn’t sent any kids to school from their program in school history for football. Since I have been there we have sent:
- Bryant Perkinson RB (Sacramento State)
- Jalen Walker DB (Boise State)
- Chris Murray QB (Montana State)
- Jalen Hamler QB (Cal-Poly)
- Jasyhi Johnson DB (San Jose State)
- Many others to D2.
Who are some of your top players this year getting D1 looks or offers?
Some of our top players this season include:
- Jordan Wilmore RB (20+ Offers including USC)
- Naki Fahina DL/FB
- Sione Tai OL/DL
- Stanley Livingstone DB (SJSU commit)
- Robert Fafita OL
- Keyahn Pinkstone DL
Also, a few 2020 Student Athletes:
- Makell Esteen DB
- Elijah Jackson ATH
- Tuli Tuipolotu DL
- Jalon Daniels QB
Want your team to be part of a future Friday Night Lights series? Contact @Mike_SBN or @MWCConnection on Twitter.