SUNNYSIDE — John Lobbestael is entering his fifth year as Sunnyside High School football head coach and exuberated excitement for their upcoming season by expressing his team’s goal to win all league games.
The Grizzlies had their traditional black and white team-scrimmage on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Clem Senn Field. The aim was to simulate game speed and work on different play calls.
Coach said his team was excited to get on the field and improve upon their hard work.
Lobbestael is building a culture that consists of, “people who are accountable and want to work really hard year around,” he commented.
Keeping players safe while exposing them to full contact game-like scenarios requires tactfulness. Coach was adamant about not allowing his quarterbacks to get tackled before the season opener.
The team has two padded days of practice. The other lighter days do not include major impact between players. Lobbestael added, “You can get hurt walking across the street. . . people need to know what it’s like to have full contact before the first game.”
He recalled last season’s home opener against rival Prosser, “There’s a mystique around Prosser… they’re always good… it was nice to win the first year, but now it’s just a good rivalry game.” Last year, Sunnyside defeated Prosser in a close 22-19 matchup.
Lobbestael highlighted his team’s defense as one of their strengths. “On defense especially, our team speed is really good,” and it doesn’t stop there, Junior Jose Munoz, cornerback and wide receiver has blazing speed. At 5’10’’ 161 pounds, Munoz is expected to compete at a high level for the grizzlies.
Looking forward to starting the season strong again, the Grizzlies will visit rival Prosser for their first game of the season on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., Art Fiker Stadium.