George Watkins: Golden Anderson on Carmel football

George Watkins: Golden Anderson on Carmel football


George Watkins: Golden Anderson on Carmel football


Maybe someone with football tunnel vision could have been able to predict as far back as 1996 that the Carmel High football team would someday become a weapon of mass destruction.

That’s the year current Carmel High coach Golden Anderson led the Mission Trail Athletic League in passing with 1,500 yards – nearly 500 more than the next best quarterback.

Anderson, 34, went to the University of Redlands after graduating from Carmel. He was a third-string quarterback as a freshman (he made the travel team). He moved to wide receiver as a sophomore but an injury subsequently ended his playing days. Anderson went to MPC for one semester, then it was off Stanislaus State, a school without a football program no less. He got his degree in social science there, and returned to Carmel High in 2003 to teach and become an assistant varsity football coach under Craig Johnston.

Johnston stepped down as head coach after the 2008 season, partly because the third of his football-playing sons graduated that spring. He continues, however, to be part of the football program.

Anderson was promoted to head coach in 2009 and in his first year guided the Padres to an undefeated season, their first playoff victory in school history and ultimately a CCS D-IV championship. The Padres scored 61, 59 and 56 points, respectively, in those three playoff victories.

It was the start of one of the most explosive eras in Monterey County high school football history.

From 2009 through last week Carmel has scored nearly 3,000 points in 60 games (2,968 to be exact), an average of 50 points for every 48-minutes of football.

During this now five-year span under Anderson the Padres are 55-5 overall and have never lost an MTAL game. In fact, they didn’t lose a league game in Johnston’s last year as coach either. The Padres’ league win streak now stands at 40 in a row — 19 short of Palma’s record 59-game MTAL win streak from 1989 to 1997.

As it nears its CCS D-IV semifinal game Friday against rival Pacific Grove at MPC, Carmel has a chance to become what is believed to be the first Monterey County public school football team to finish a season 13-0.

To get a bit of insight on Anderson and his thoughts and beliefs on Carmel football here are his responses to a few questions I posed to him Sunday evening.

Who helped influence how you coach: “When I was nine years old I played Little League baseball — it was my first year — and I didn’t make the all-star team. So I started taking hitting lessons from John Lucido and Guy Dubets (both former slugging Carmel baseball standouts). Looking back on those two, they helped me out a lot. They were always willing to work with anybody who showed up. And that’s what we do at Carmel.

“As far as coaching football goes, I think you pick up a lot from every coach you play or work with. Craig Johnston had a lot of faith in me. He moved up to the booth in 2005 (to call plays) and put me in charge of the sidelines. He put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders right away.

What coaches do you admire? “It’s a mixture of every coach I’ve ever had. You see good things and bad things and you learn from all those experiences.”

What’s the hardest part of coaching? The football part is not hard. But as a head coach you try balance all the things the kids do. We have a lot of high-achieving (academic) students. You make football part of what they do, but we’re not a year-round program by any stretch. We have nine days of spring practice, then don’t start football until after July fourth. We don’t have the fastest, strongest or biggest players. We may not have the best players, but we want our players to play the best.”

What’s the most time-consuming part of football? “Preparation. We focus on our team. It’s all about preparing us for kickoff. We don’t spend a lot of time looking at film. Everything goes into getting our team better.”

Is it harder to get to the top, or stay on top? “We had never won a playoff game until 2009. We didn’t believe we could win a playoff game. But once we did we pushed through to win a CCS title. The momentum started to roll. We haven’t coached any harder, but now we know what we’re capable of doing.”

Are you a pep talk guy? “We address things, but I’m not a rah, rah, rah guy. I don’t do a lot of screaming and hollering on the field. To me, that means you weren’t ready to play. We coach our kids really hard during the week. The games are easy.”

What drives you crazy, or bugs you about high school football? “The fans, and the community as a whole, take football way more seriously than any other sport on campus. Sometimes it bugs me when you see the reactions of a few. You never see parents in basketball or baseball yelling or acting like they’re out of control.”

What impresses you the most about today’s prep football players? “How well they do in high school. Most of our players are well-rounded. They play more than one sport and also take a lot of AP courses (advance placement, college-level courses). They’re in the band, drama, all these things. A lot of them never played youth football. But it’s neat to see them play football in high school and have a good experience.”

Your thoughts on social media and football: “Not a lot of kids see what they put out there as being totally inappropriate. We talk to our kids about that. You push the button and it could lead to trouble. It sure is different from when I was in high school. Hopefully they make smart decisions.”

What’s more important, beating Pacific Grove again or winning a CCS title? “It’s not really about beating P.G. twice. We’re in a semifinal game. When you get this far it means you’ve had a good season. When we beat PG (two weeks ago) it was 48 minutes of football — nothing more, nothing less. If we beat PG two, four or six times it doesn’t matter. It’s all about being in a CCS semifinal game, and if we win we’re in the finals.”



* The magical mystery tour of the Alvarez Eagles continues Saturday at home at 7 p.m. against one of the premier programs in the CCS – the Hollister Balers – in a Division I semifinal game.

The Balers are in the playoffs for the 17th time in 20 years since Chris Cameron has been head coach. They’ve won three CCS titles and have been in seven CCS championship games since 2000. They’ve also won eight straight CCS semifinal games since 1999, including a 34-13 win against Alvarez in 2001, a 14-13 win against Salinas in 2009 and a 30-13 win against Salinas last year.

In a season of firsts, Alvarez is out to win its first CCS semifinal game in school history. It will also try to become the first school team since girls wrestling two years ago to win a section title in any sport.

* Should Monterey find a way to beat top-seed Sacred Heart Prep in the other D-IV semifinal game Saturday, there’s a good chance Rabobank Stadium would be the site of the title game.

* This was the first year four teams from Salinas reached the playoffs in the same season. Make that five if you count Hartnell College in the Living Breath Foundation Bowl.

Assistant Hartnell coach Sunil Smith, who left Alisal last year after 10 seasons as the head coach, took the Trojans to the playoffs four times but was unable to get a post-season win. He finally got one Saturday when Hartnell beat Contra Costa. After it was over he hugged some of his former Alisal players now on Hartnell.

“We finally did it,” he said.

* The football stats you see today are regular-season only and don’t include playoff games. I’ve updated a few from last week that were missing, but other than that most everything else is the same. Thanks to all those who faithfully submitted their stats every week. It was a huge help.

George Watkins is a sports writer for The Salinas Californian. He can be reached at

or 754-4264. He can also be followed on Twitter at watkins_salnews.


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