SAN JOSE — Before Anthony Lombardi starts setting sights on the games next fall, the new San Jose High football coach has other priorities, like building a staff and getting to know his players.
“I kind of got in pretty late,” Lombardi said this week. “We’ve got spring ball starting in a month.”
Lombardi — a longtime coach in the area, most recently with the Mt. Pleasant and Oak Grove junior varsity teams — takes over a program that has mostly struggled for decades but had become competitive against mid-level competition under his predecessor, David Ashkinaz, who stepped down after last season because of family reasons.
San Jose won five games in 2016 but ended on a sour note. The Bulldogs lost to rival Lincoln 43-13 in the Big Bone game, an outcome that stretched the Lions’ winning streak in the long-running Thanksgiving Day series to 19 games.
Lombardi, who said he is thankful for the opportunity, obviously would like to find a way to end that streak. But once he gets through this spring, he said the focus will first be on the season opener against Mills and then trying to win a league championship.
San Jose has rarely finished at the top of its league standings.
When the Bulldogs won the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s “C” Division, the West Valley, in 2012 with a 7-0 record, the championship was believed to have ended the program’s 63-year drought without one.
San Jose has played in the BVAL’s middle division, the Santa Teresa, since then with mixed results in the won-loss column but mostly with competitive scores.
“Dave has done a really great job to keep that program stabilized,” Lombardi said. “I am just hoping to build off that.”
The Bulldogs will remain in the Santa Teresa Division this fall after finishing in the middle of the pack last season.
“Mills, league and then Bone,” Lombardi said, citing the team goals. “We can’t get too far ahead.”
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