Jentsch more than coach, he's also the para familia
The Eagles kick off their 2009 season with their fifth head coach in the past seven years.
The team goes to Waco-Texas Christian Academy (TCA) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28 at Stars Field.
Jentsch, an Eagles assistant for the last two seasons, replaced Tim Berg who left Milano for Meridian after one season.
He lists key returnees as senior quarterback Matthew Jentsch, senior offensive linemen Michael Griffin and Christian Serna, running back Thomas Sanders and linebacker Mayson Gibbons, both juniors.
Jentsch, Griffin, Serna and Gibbons were all-district selections in 2008, w ith Gibbons earning the district's special teams player of the year.
With Jentsch moving to head coach, a position became available for an assistant.
It was filled by Sean Connor, an ex-Marine and Texas A&M graduate. He joins Robbie Robinson, Andrew Applewhite and Jayce Rasberry on the staff.
"I like the coaching staff we have in place," Jentsch said. "They have good work ethic and the kids believe in them."
Milano finished 4-6 last season and was in the District 26-A cellar last year at 0-5, something that is driving this year's returning starters.
Sanders knows the team can turn things around this year.
"That 0-5 didn't feel good," he said. "We've already bought into this system and have confidence in our team."
Some players hit the weight room this summer to try and better their conditioning.
Griffin didn't miss a day in the weight room this summer in preparation for making the move from tight end to tackle. He managed to add 15 pounds to his six foot frame.
Matthew Jentsch and Sam Walker (who returns after sitting out football his junior year) hit the weight room, but also played in the "Showcase Series" baseball tournaments across Texas and in Colorado over the summer.
Milano scrimmaged Somerville and Chilton in preparation for its season. During Friday's scrimmage in Chilton, coach Jentsch said his team did well against a powerful Pirate squad.
"Chilton was very big up front and had a lot of speed," he said. "We have to keep on improving in all areas have to keep on getting in football shape."
Scouting Waco Christian
Last season, Milano defeated the Stars 27-0 behind a four touchdown, 175-yard rushing performance by Matthew Jentsch. Milano has beaten TCA in the schools last three meetings.
TCA, a member of TAPPS Division IV District 3, is coming off a 1-10 season with just three seniors on this year's squad.
Stars head coach Darrell Selke said key performers for TCA this season are seniors Tim Weatherly (5-11, 160) and Kyle Lovinggood (5-11, 180), both starters on offense and defense. Weatherly was a first team all-district selection last year. TCA lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs in 2007.
The Stars head coach, in his ninth season, said his team is still a work in progress.
"We are better than we were last year," Selke said. "But I think we are still a year away of being able to compete (for a playoff spot)." TCA's sophomore football players are the most talented, according to Selke.
Milano and TCA matched up well for Friday's game. The Eagles have just 30 varsity players and the Stars have 27.
The Stars also run the spread of fen se a nd spl it defen sive schemes. Milano returns 14 starters (seven on both sides of the ball), while TCA returns 18 (nine on both offense and defense).
If you go
To get to Stars Field at 5000 Bagby Avenue in Waco, Milano fans should go north on U.S. 77 to Robinson. Take Loop 340 to the west (towards Richland Mall); go over IH35 and take the Bagby Avenue exit. Turn right onto Bagby and the field is 1 1 .2 miles on the left.
What—Milano (4-6) at Waco Christian (1-9). When—Friday, 7:30 p.m. Where—Stars Field (2,500 capacity, grass) Last year—Milano won 27-0.
MILANO SEASON STATISTICS
Rushing—Matthew Jentsch, 158-849 12 TDs; Thomas Sanders, 93-452 8 TDs; Chris Juhl, 38-142; Shawn Pustejovsky, 66-244 1TD.
Passing—Jentsch, 13-49-5, 148 yds. Sanders, 7-24-3, 116 yards, 1TD.
Receiving—Thomas Sanders, 3-61; Taylor Whitmire 1-44; Michael Griffin, 3-40; John Paniagua, 4-41, Chris Juhl 2-32, Mark Russell 1-16, 1TD, Robinson 1-7.
*District Champions (Milano won district titles in 1965-66 and 1975 in 6-man football.)