After spending the last 12 years as an assistant coach in various sports at Santa Monica High, Ray Humphrey is ready to run his own program.
Humphrey is the new head football coach at Malibu High and is optimistic about the team’s chances despite heavy graduation losses.
The Sharks, who play in the CIF’s Division 13, were 10-2 last season and made the playoffs. One returning player is tailback Miles Edmond, who gained 1,550 yards last season as a reserve. The Sharks’ ground game was so outstanding the starter had 2,000 yards.
“We have some talented players who have experience and knowledge,’’ said Humphrey. “I’ll have a better idea when we start practicing August 22 but I have a pretty good idea now of what we have.
“We’re a smaller school than Samohi playing in a lower division and we don’t have as many players. But it’s a really solid program. That’s what attracted me here.’’
Malibu is an independent but may be placed in a league within the next few years. The CIF is considering it.
“I would prefer to be in a league,’’ said Humphrey. “But I’d like our enrollment to be higher before going into a league with several strong teams.
“Right now, without a league affiliation, we have to apply for a playoff berth. Last season we got in, but there are less teams in the Division 13 playoffs and you just take your chances.
“Another factor is that without a league our players miss out on having all-league recognition on their resume.’’
It’s different in the higher classifications. In the Ocean League, for example, the first three teams, including Samohi, were invited to last season’s playoffs. Going into the season, teams pretty much know that is going to be the case.
Most of Malibu’s key players are experienced, but that’s not true of the quarterback. Bennett Sherman was an all-league water polo player the last three years but is playing football for the first time.
“It’s something he wanted to do before he graduated,’’ said Humphrey.
Edmond is the tailback in an I-formation. He’ll be aided by fullback Alex Sherwood, often the primary blocking back.
The receiving corps are led by Garrett Brizendine. Two outstanding linemen are 270-pound Matt Hale and 220-pound Zach Rheuban.
On defense, Humphrey will count on linebackers Mike Gwyn and Sherwood, safety Ross Ellis and cornerback Miles Booth.
Four of Malibu’s five home games will be played at night even though the school’s football field doesn’t have lights.
“Portable lights are brought in,’’ said Humphrey. “Malibu High has been doing that the last few years. It’s done with a crane and generators are part of the operation. It’s costly, but more fans are able to attend night games.’’
Among the opponents are a couple of Westside schools. Malibu will play at Brentwood Oct. 7 and St. Monica at St. Bernard High Oct. 28.At Samohi, Humphrey earned praise as an enthusiastic and able assistant. Twelve years is a long time to wait to become a head coach, but he’s there now.