Miners enter season with new head coach

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San Manuel Miner

The San Manuel football team will enter the 2014 season under the direction of recently hired head coach David Ward. He takes over the Miners’ football program with 16 years of coaching experience, including two years at the college level as an assistant. He’s spent nine years as a head coach and previously won a state title in Louisiana.

Ward expects to improve a Miners’ team that finished with a record of 4 – 6 in 2013. Eight starters return from last season – four each on offense and defense. Shane Kelly, a fourth-year varsity player, is one player Ward expects to be an impact player this season. Kelly has rushed for over 1200 yards and 16 touchdowns during his varsity career. He also averaged over six tackles per game as a junior. He expects to put up bigger numbers in his final season as a Miner.

Manny Chavez, Armando Sierra, Michael Sanchez, and Bryan Chavez are other players Ward expects big contributions from.

Ward was asked what he expects from his players on and off the field.

“Play sound, hit hard, and know multiple positions,” he answered, simply stating on-field expectations. “Off the field, do not let (players’) egos think they have special privileges. We hope many will join FCA and perform community service to improve the school and maintain its nice appearance.”

Remaining focused, despite setbacks and intense practice habits are among the mental and physical attributes the Miners must display in order to be successful, according to Ward. The team’s ability to run the ball and avoid injury are other keys to success.

Like many football coaches across the state, Ward wants his players to “live in the weight room” when then not on the field. Increasing strength is the foundation of building a successful football program.

The Miners open their season on Friday, August 29, 2014, at Thatcher. The game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Andy Luberda (229 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.

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