In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to say THANK YOU to all veterans out there serving our country.  Thank you for the dedication and determination you have lived for.  I have no idea what it is like to serve our nation the way that you have and do.  Thank you for the trips overseas, time away from your family, for the conditioning you do that makes football two a days seem like a walk in the park.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made that we will never understand.  Thank you for the freedom you have protected, and you have bestowed on others.  Thank you for making this land our land.  Thank you that my kids have the opportunity to grow up in a free country.  Thank you for protecting our flag, so that my 3 year old daughter can yell “Hey daddy, the American flag!” every time she sees it.

Here are the kids, now grown men, I’ve coached who have served our great nation! (If I missed anyone, please let me know!)

From Linfield Christian

Shane Raftery

Shane is one of the top two hardest workers I’ve ever coached. And he was one of the most decorated. He was an All State Offensive Lineman at Linfield Christian in 2002.

Shane, here a senior at Linfield Christian, had 151 tackles as a Linebacker.

Marvin Mallari

Marvin was always “yes sir, no sir” on and off the field.

Mallari worked his tail off every single day in practice, and was one of the most diligent players I’ve coached.

Chris Garland

Chris wasn’t very big for a freshman, one of those kids you think about asking to be your water boy! But he didn’t care, he would hit anyone.

Not so little anymore!

Mikey Mallari

Mikey is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached. My favorite story of him is when we played over against Baldwin High School of Maui, the #4 team in the state at the time. They were a large public school with some BIG dudes. We were a tiny private school; supposed to play a school our size, but got stuck with Baldwin. They whooped us, but Mikey impressed them. The night after the game, at our luau, some of the Baldwin players were working it, carrying the pig, those big Hawaian kids. They were all asking for Mikey, where Mikey was! They complimented how hard he ran for such a little dude.

Years later, in the Navy, Mikey won First Place for his weight class for his bench press. Benched 335, 2.34 times his body weight! Impressive.

Corey Melander

I can’t think of one teammate who would outwork Cory in the weight room. He was a hard worker, and demanding of his classmates, a good leader.

Cory was a beast of a defensive end, terrorized QBs; but one of those kids who truly cares about people. He is one of those friends who is always there for his friends.

Ian Irby

Ian Irby ran with determination and desire that most high school kids never find. He was relentless when he carried the ball.

From 12 years of coaching, Irby (right) is one of top 5 I would want to be next to be in a firefight. He would finish the job, no matter the cost.

Mike Napolitano

Mike was a fullback, low to the ground, hardly an ounce of fat on him, and churned his feet well! We loved giving him the ball with a yard to go!

Erik Backlund

From Capistrano Valley Christian

Jared Gardner

Jared (77) did a phenomenal job as a guard for us!

Jared always knew what the team was thinking, a great sign of a great leader.  I was able to have some great conversations with him about our team one on one, in my office, over the years.

James Gardner

James, third from right, was a tackle. He was a big kid. Wish I had him more than one year because he didn’t get great coaching before our staff was there, and he really became a good tackle quick under Coach Blaylock.

Nick Cutsforth

Nick was a fullback who did a fine job of running straight through the holes. His mind and desire sometimes ran faster than his feet!

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