Kennedy football coach remains positive despite struggles

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6C

The wins aren't there, but the effort is, and Matt Costa said he can live with that.

So can his boss at Kennedy High School.

Costa is the Cougars' first-year coach whose energy and positive attitude have been dampened just a bit this fall.

A season after going 0-10 under previous coach Henry Lusk, Kennedy is 0-7 overall entering today's Metro Conference game at Johnson (1-6).

The Cougars then finish the season against Metro powers Sacramento (5-2) and Burbank (7-0).

So Costa knows today's game is his team's best shot at victory.

"It's actually been a good experience this season, even though the record doesn't show it," Costa said. "The kids are learning the system and growing. We are really taking it week by week, and honestly, the ride has been a little rough, but all in all, things are OK.

"The kids wish they were winning, but they are by no means discouraged with their effort. They recognize the situation."

Last week against Florin, Kennedy drew a full crowd for homecoming. But the Cougars lost 34-0, and it was the fifth time they scored six or fewer points.

Kennedy has just two senior starters – leading rusher Devon Boyd and lineman Kenneth Eto – so most of the team can return next season.

Costa said he has heard criticism from a few parents, which he understands is part of the game.

"The toughest part is educating the parents that these things happen," Costa said. "Some people don't like it, but most parents applaud the effort. I've had a few people ask me if I will be back next year, and I tell them, 'Absolutely.'

"Win, lose or draw, I have found a home here. I love the kids and the school. Nobody said starting over would be easy."

One of Costa's biggest supporters is Kennedy principal Chad Sweitzer, who said his coach isn't going anywhere.

"(Matt's) attitude is phenomenal," Sweitzer said. "He's one of the most positive people I've ever known, and it helps. The team is in good spirits, and no one is quitting. They're still busting their butts, and we all feel like we're going in the right direction. Things will get better."

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