STOCKTON -- The man who coaches the Titans can’t help but remember the "Lunatics."
La Te’f Grim, the first-year Chavez football head coach, was an assistant for Lincoln in 2013 under Brian Gray. And the often-deafening “Lincoln Lunatics” student section stuck in his head.
On Friday, Grim gets to watch the student section from the opposing sideline donning black and gold, as Lincoln entertains Chavez at 7:15 p.m. at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
“The student section had a nice little buzz about them. They were always hyped, jazzed,” said Grim, a Franklin High and Delta College graduate. “It didn’t matter if we were winning or losing.”
For a fiercely competitive guy such as Grim, who won two Sac-Joaquin Section championships as Brookside Christian's coach (2004-2012), losing has grown old quickly in his new job.
Chavez (0-4) has dropped close games to Los Banos-Pacheco and Cordova and lopsided affairs to Modesto-Gregori and Tokay. Lincoln and Chavez are former San Joaquin Athletic Association foes. Ironically, they haven't played since 2013, Grim's lone season at Lincoln. So, the focus for Grim and the Titans is to try and silence the "Lunatics" he remembers so fondly.
“Definitely, that is the goal,” said Grim, whose sons Derrion and Malik Grim are Delta College wide receivers. “I don’t want to hear (Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye).”
The Trojans recently ended a losing streak of their own, after an 0-3 start under new coach Anthony Martinez. Lincoln out-slugged Modesto-Downey 54-38 last Friday, as senior quarterback Aaron Thomas passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more.
“We had an amazing week of practice,” said Martinez, Gray’s offensive coordinator in 2015. “Losing three weeks in a row, it’s more powerful than winning games. They came together as brothers and they played for each other Friday.
“We’re going to ride this through the rest of the season.”
Martinez was the freshman coach during Grim’s year at Lincoln, before Grim became the offensive coordinator for McNair from 2014-2015. The two aren’t close friends, having only spoken a handful of times, but share a mutual respect.
“He’s a really good guy. He’s really structured in what he’s trying to do,” Grim said of Martinez. “He’s what you’d call a players’ coach.”
Said Martinez: “Grim is a great coach and I know that he’s going to bring it.”
In fact, some of the Trojans’ quarterbacks and receivers worked with Grim in the offseason.
“They showed tremendous improvement,” Martinez said.
The Trojans have beaten the Titans in all eight of their meetings. Lincoln has won in a rout every time, scoring as many as 66, and scoring at least 41 in each matchup.
Grim hopes to stifle Thomas, and keep him from using his legs.
“That’s our gameplan, is to get Aaron to move a little bit, and make him be a true quarterback this Friday,” Grim said. “Don’t let him 'dual threat' us.”
— Contact reporter Thomas Lawrence at (209) 546-8272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/sportsblog and on Twitter @RecordPreps