La Costa Canyon is playing Carlsbad this week and that’s always an eventful edition of Friday night lights.
While we don’t who’ll win, we do know an LCC coach will offer a keen comment.
“He’ll have a couple observations and every one of them is right,’’ said Darren Bennett, the Chargers’ punting legend.
Bennett, who helps with the Mavericks, isn’t talking about head coach Steve Sovacool. Instead it’s Darren’s son, Will, and here comes Will to prove it.
“Coach, this guy is leaving a little early,’’ Will tells Sovacool during a game. “This other guy’s shading it the wrong way.’’
Darren laughs, and like when watching Will work, that makes everyone smile.
“He does that once or twice in every game,’’ said Darren, who’s still amazed, but no longer surprised.
At each LCC affair someone, at sometime, asks: “Who’s the kid down on the sidelines in the wheelchair?’’
It’s no kid — it’s Will, one of the Mavericks’ top coaches.
So what if Will got dealt a tough hand with Muscular Dystrophy — he plays his cards well.
So what if Will’s a senior, not older than some of the players — he’s been coaching since he was 12.
So what if Will’s new wheelchair prevents him from wearing his signature Fedora hat — he’s adjusted.
“He’s got a flat-brimmed one now,’’ Darren said. “He looks like a skate rat.’’
If so, he’s one that can land any jump and grind any rail. Will knows punting like Tony Hawk knows ollies, and that’s no stretch.
When the Cowboys cut punter Mat McBriar last year, his first call was to his Aussie mate, Darren. McBriar’s request? Could Will perform his eye-ball test and determine McBriar’s shortcomings?
“Can you bring out Will?’’ McBriar asked Darren. “Because he can tell what I’m doing different with my technique.’’
McBriar wasn’t joking.
“With Will,’’ he said, “it’s like having a video machine.’’
Will’s knowing grin never needs rewinding; it’s constant and contagious. He’s got a knack for evaluating punters and is quick to advise. That goes for NFL players and his brother, Thomas, an LCC punter.
“I think for a kid like Thomas, he can run around and the world is blur,’’ Darren said. “But Will is sitting in his chair and he sees the world, especially sports, in slow motion.
“And that’s not really unique to Will, a lot of MD kids are the same way. They have this ability to have these acute observations and see things that we don’t see.’’
Many a TV football Sunday features Will and Darren disagreeing on what just happened.
“I will grab the remote to review it and it is exactly what he said, 95 percent of time,’’ Darren said. “We say in Australia that whatever you lose on the merry-go-round you make up on the swing. He can do that with what he sees visually.’’
So Will is sought after and not just by punters, but coaches, too. Near the end of a Mavericks contest, Sovacool called a play. Then the buzz of Will’s wheelchair was heard.
“Uh, Coach,’’ Will said. “You know you can take a knee here and the game is over.’’
That’s Will, and it’s done with a reassuring nod and personality that makes him easy to embrace.
When Will speaks, everyone listens — if they’re smart.
“We call him Willapedia,’’’ Darren said.
We call your attention to the JBowl, next month’s fundraiser which helps Will and others fighting Muscular Dystrophy. A bunch of Chargers will attend, ditto some familiar faces in ex-Charger Jacques Cesaire and Darren.
It’s a fun night for a fun guy, and it’s Nov. 11 at the Kearny Mesa Bowl.
Not only can you demolish the pins, but you get to meet Will — if you hurry, as he’s a man on the move. He’s looking to continue his education, and coaching, at San Diego State or the University of San Diego.
Here’s a hint to those respective coaches, Rocky Long and Dale Lindsey: don’t sleep on this blue-chip coaching recruit.
“Everyone likes Will,’’ Darren said.
The kicker is Will knows his stuff.
Jay Paris can be heard talking Chargers football on 1090 AM on Monday and Friday mornings. He’s also the Wednesday morning co-host of “Hacksaw and Company.” He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jparis_sports.