Dons adapt to Stone’s coaching style, philosophy

 

The season hasn’t started and Santa Barbara High’s football team already has shown it’s a resilient bunch.

The Dons have adapted to a coaching change and are excited to play for new mentor JT Stone and his staff. Stone was named the interim coach after Doug Caines was removed from the position after two seasons.

“It’s been a complete culture change,” said returning All-Channel League cornerback Russell Enholm. “The overall feel of the program is different, in a positive way. It’s sparked a feeling in everyone to work harder in practice.”

Stone, a former star quarterback at Dos Pueblos and SBCC, is pleased how the players have responded to his style and philosophy.

“The attitude is great,” he said. “It’s like any kid, they want discipline. I think the changes we’ve made and my vision of a program, the kids have totally bought in. They can see that with the proper guidance, football can be a really great thing. They’ve bought in and they’re happy.”

Stone has a lot to be happy about, too. He gets to work with a strong-armed quarterback in Brent Peus.

Peus started as a sophomore and threw for 1,675 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 59 percent of his passes.

In addition to guidance from Stone, Peus will have former Santa Barbara High All-CIF quarterback Poncho Renteria in his corner. He guided the Dons to a CIF title in 1989.

“He’s getting it from two good coaches,” said Stone, who also earned All-CIF honors as a quarterback at Dos Pueblos.

Stone’s plan is to simplify the offense for Peus.

“I’m looking for Brent to be efficient. We don’t need him to do a lot,” the coach said.

“We’re simplifying things and it’s worked for us,” he added. “Our playbook has gone from 100 pages to about 20.”

Peus is all for it.

“We understood that a certain amount of simplicity will help us execute consistently,” he said. “In terms of the scheme, it’s keeping every one of the players happy. It’s lot more efficient, knowing that we’re solid on each thing.”

Stone noted that in addition to having good skills, Peus has a high football IQ.

“It makes our job a lot easier to have a guy who understands football and understands the X’s and O’s part. We’re definitely privileged with that,” he said.

“When you’re a high school football coach and you have a guy like that, it puts us in a good position.”

Peus will be working with a young group of receivers and a young backfield. But Stone says the players are talented and have good speed.

“When you have Brent in the mix, everybody steps up their game,” said Stone.

Junior Victor Garcia leads a solid group of running backs. Senior Danny Vallian will be used in various positions on the offense

The offensive line is much improved over last season, according to Stone.

“We’re light years ahead of where we were last year,” he said. “We’re senior heavy on the line, which is good. The guys took it upon themselves to get better. It’s a tight-knit group. Everything starts there.”

Enholm at defensive back and Garcia at linebacker lead a young defense. Senior Adam Ebling will play a major role on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and linebacker.

2014 Santa Barbara High Football Schedule

Aug. 29 Oxnard 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 St. Joseph 7 p.m.

Sept. 12 at Channel Islands 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Rio Mesa 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 Royal 7 p.m.
Oct. 3  at Pacifica 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 Ventura* 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Dos Pueblos* 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Buena* 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 —-Bye—-
Nov. 7 San Marcos* 7 p.m.

Home games in bold
*Channel League game

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