East County Sports

Monarch Schmidt reflects on championship success

Monte Vista senior Logan Schmidt





EastCountySports.com staff report


SPRING VALLEY – After everyone had long cleared out of the football stadium at Monte Vista High on Friday night, Monarch senior Logan Schmidt did what a lot of players have done for generations.

Not wanting to let go of that feeling – despite a 47-0 season-ending defeat at the hands of the Poway Titans in the first round of the San Diego CIF Division II playoffs – Schmidt headed down to his home field on game night one last time.

Knowing that a football career could be coming to a close is tough for a player of any skill level.

For Schmidt, his journey has a set of crossroads that many elite prep athletes experience.

At the college level, where many coaches and recruiters don’t even start to check out a player unless they meet certain physical requirements, Schmidt may lack the size four-year schools look for despite his high-level motor on the field and even higher-level cerebral approach to the game both on and off the field.

On the other hand, Schmidt would be an ideal talent at the community college level but his academic acumen is already ready for the highest challenges he can find.

At the end of the night, I suppose it was time for the Schmidt-era to end at Monte Vista. It was hard to leave the field. I stood on the MV logo and stared up at the lights for about 20 minutes after everyone had left. Enjoying the view. One last time. Walking off the field, a couple of the seniors from last year, Gerardo Arellano and Christian De La Cruz escorted me off the field. I asked them to play guard and I lined up at linebacker. They pulled and I read my guard. One last time on that field. – Logan Schmidt

Poway dominated on Friday night to advance to the division quarterfinals where they will face top-seeded Bishop’s.

The Monarchs still have the program and staff in place to continue the team’s success on the field, but Schmidt and his fellow seniors had to feel like a chapter in the program’s strong history may have just closed.

Lots of tears last night. My heart feels broken. But, I have to look back on my high school career and be happy with what I have accomplished. Starting at varsity linebacker my freshman year. Winning CIF my sophomore year. Going 9-2 and winning league my junior year while playing with the my brother, Blake, and Jahmon McClendon. And then my senior year. Changing the direction of my team’s season from 1-4 to 5-0 the last five games of the year. Beating undefeated Santana, never losing to Mount Miguel, shutting out El Cajon Valley and a very good West Hills team. It was very cool to do something like that. I have been very lucky to accomplish the things that I did. Not many people are as lucky as I have been to be apart of historic Monte Vista teams. Last night, I just think that the group of seniors was done. We accomplished everything that we wanted to. We were apart of a CIF team, we won league back-to-back. – Logan Schmidt

With around 25 seniors making up around 75 percent of the roster, Schmidt knows that these last few years have raised expectations on Sweetwater Springs Blvd.

However, he wanted to set an example for future Monarchs to try and keep the program where head coach Ron Hamamoto has lifted it back to recently.

I couldn’t have asked for a cooler group of dudes to play my senior year with. They were great to the very end. I am grateful for them always. It stings to leave. But nobody can ever take away what I’ve accomplished at MV with my brothers.

There is an analogy that Coach (Page) Culver uses when talking about leadership. He says that every team, if it is to be led to greatness, needs a rudder. Just like a rudder on a ship steers the ship and points it in the right direction, the rudder of a football team also needs to point the team in the right direction.

When we lost to Santa Fe Christian last year, the week after that I was already thinking about next year. I wanted to be the leader in all the ways that my brother couldn’t. I created an off-season program and, by the vote of the seniors, we used it during the off-season. It basically put the 30-40 dudes in teams and each team would get points based on class attendance, grades, and weight room work ethic. I don’t know if what I created had any bearing on the season, but that’s what I thought it meant to be a rudder. That I had to create an elaborate off-season program based on points and punishments and then I could be the leader that my team needed.

I wanted so badly to be a rudder. Coach Culver told me that Monte Vista didn’t have a rudder since Blake Lubic in the early 2000s. Not even Blake, my brother, qualified. So, that was one of my goals. But, after going 1-4, something needed to change. I needed to right the direction of the ship. I don’t know if it had any bearing on the team, but all I did was start sweeping the locker room. Throwing away any trash that was left behind. Mopping on Thursdays before the game. I started taking pride in the program and what we had. Culver thinks that my cleaning the locker room, with Ronald Barry and Jared Reinholdt, was what changed the direction of the season.

My teammates noticed and started playing better for it, they started taking pride in the program. I was so focused on creating a legacy and becoming a rudder that I didn’t stop to realize that it wasn’t in the grand gestures or big plans that made somebody a rudder, it was the little things. It was cleaning the locker room. Giving people rides home. Actually caring for my teammates. And that’s when somebody becomes a rudder. It can’t happen on purpose. It happens by accident. Somebody doesn’t become a rudder because they want to be one, but because they want the team to succeed and start doing the little things right.

Perhaps it took me too long to realize that. And maybe if I learned that before the Chula Vista game this year, which is when I learned that lesson, then maybe we could have beat Imperial and Henry. Who knows? Maybe we would been seated higher and would have had better success. I suppose I can’t think about those things now. It’s time to move on.

My sophomore and freshmen year, I was an (explitive), I was not a nice guy. I would look down on my teammates because I thought I was better than them. Then, I don’t know when it happened, but I didn’t like that version of myself anymore. I was arrogant, and selfish, and had the disease of me that is incompatible to a football team.

I couldn’t go on being that guy if I wanted the team and my friendships to last. I changed for the better. I became a team player rather than the selfish boy I was before. I hate who I was before. I wish I could take my younger self, shake him, tell him how it is. But, whatever happened was supposed to happen I suppose.

I asked Coach Culver last night if I had earned the title of rudder. He told me “Yes, you have.” Him saying that. Everything that happened or might have happened. That makes it worth it. Being the rudder for my team. Earning that title not because I wanted to have it, although I did, but because I truly was the rudder that my team needed to go from 1-4 to 6-4 and ultimately 6-5. Nobody thought that we could go positive without all the superstars we had last year. Well, we had something to prove. And we answered the challenge. – Logan Schmidt

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