CONCORD -- Phillip Puentes had no idea this summer that, by the time the season began, he'd be running his own high school football team.
That's exactly what's happening at Ygnacio Valley High.
When former Warriors coach Tim Murphy, who had been coaching at Clovis East, announced that he was coming back to coach at Ygnacio Valley again, Puentes came with him. An assistant for Murphy in Clovis, the plan was for Puentes to continue coaching with Murphy for a few years and then look for his own head job.
In May, Murphy was offered and accepted an offer to become coach at Clayton Valley. That left The Warriors looking for a coach, and Puentes became the man for the job.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity," Puentes said. "I got to learn a lot from (Murphy)."
The first-year head coach definitely has a plan for his team. He wants to crack down on discipline, and with a requirement that his players achieve a 3.0 GPA or better, he's also cracking down in the classroom.
And, if things go according to plan, Puentes isn't afraid to set lofty goals for his team.
"We're trying to change the image and change the attitude of this program," Puentes said. "We have a three-year plan where we want to beat De La Salle."
The foundation for an uptick like that starts this season, and it starts with quarterback Jamari Pope. A senior, Pope is back for his third year as the Warriors signal-caller.
"What I like about him
To maximize Pope's potential, Puentes made a savvy move. Former head coach Chris Turner has returned to run the offense, which means the return of a multiple-formation, pro-style attack to Ygnacio Valley.
Also returning for their senior seasons are receiver/defensive back Robert Foreman and two-way lineman Gabe Zurita. They'll be important pieces as the Warriors try to shake off last year's 2-8 record and return to consistent success.
One other big change Puentes is making has to do with game times. Saturday home games are being done away with, replaced instead by Friday games that will start at 4:30 until the school can get permanent lights. The Warriors will rent lights for homecoming, a 7 p.m. game against College Park on Oct. 26.
8/24 at Hayward (Sunset) 7 p.m.
9/1 at Irvington (Tak) 7 p.m.
9/6 at Mission S.J. (Tak) 1 p.m.
9/14 MARSHALL-SF 4:30 p.m.
9/21 SKYLINE 4:30 p.m.
10/5 CLAY. VALLEY* 4:30 p.m.
10/12 at Concord* 7 p.m.
10/19 at Mt. Diablo* 7 p.m.
10/26 COLLEGE PARK* 7 p.m.
11/2 at Northgate* 7 p.m.