Ray Humphrey, who was an assistant at Santa Monica High for 12 years, is about to begin his second year as the head football coach at Malibu High.
He had five assistant coaches to preside over the varsity and junior varsity teams last season. Now he has 10, some with a Santa Monica background.
Tim Connelly, who played at Santa Monica High and Santa Monica College before reaching the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, is regarded as an outstanding teacher on the football field. Dylan Smith, who played quarterback at Santa Monica High, Santa Monica College and Kansas, is working with sophomore Dusty Kramer, who figures as the Sharks’ quarterback.
“I learned last season we needed more assistant coaches and more players,” said Humphrey. “I recruited on campus, talking to guys who should have come out but didn’t. Now our squad has 48 players instead of 24.”
The Sharks, who were an independent last year, will join the Frontier League, which includes Fillmore (the largest school), Villanova Prep (11-1 last season), Bishop Diego and Santa Clara.
“I like it,” said Humphrey. “A league allows you to know who you’re going to play year after year and it creates rivalries, which are good. In addition, three of the five teams are likely to qualify for the CIF playoffs.”
The Sharks will be without star running back Miles Edmond, who graduated after gaining 1,700 yards. Sophomore Shawn Conrad, who comes up from the junior varsity, is expected to be the tailback.
Three sophomores are listed as starters – Kramer, Conrad and tight end Justin Hale.
Humphrey is counting on Miles Booth to provide senior leadership. Booth, a receiver and defensive back, is considering several Ivy League schools for his college choice.
Another important senior is center Josh Branson, a 4.0 student.
Some other key returnees are defensive end Jake Jesson, linebacker Chris Pindo, cornerback Tim Sarmiento and fullback Brooks Ellis.
Humphrey had his team play about 30 passing league games and is pleased with the team’s development.
“We’re looking good,” he said. “We’re a little thin in the line but we still have time.”
Humphrey said he learned a lot in 2005 his first year as a head coach.
“The important lessons were about game management,” he said. “Whether to go for a field goal or not, how to be organized. I learned the little things are important. I learned a lot about what not to do.”
Most high school football teams will begin their season on the Sept. 9 weekend but Malibu will open Sept. 2 against Bellarmine-Jefferson. The non-league game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Malibu.