First-year Everett coach likes what he sees in the early going in terms of attitude, talent
By Joe McConnell
High school football fans know all about tradition, and what history means to the sport. Tonight (Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.), Justin Flores will be making his debut as head coach of the storied Everett High School football team against Xaverian, a perennial Super Bowl contender, on its own Westwood campus.
Flores understands all of this, because he played for the late, great Woburn High School coach Rocky Nelson, and there’s no doubt the legendary Tanner mentor will be looking down proudly, while watching his protégé begin his Everett coaching career against the non-league Hawks. Flores will never forget playing for a legend, and his winning strategies. “It was a great experience playing for coach Nelson after a number of my family members did, as well,” he said. “We won a lot of games during my first two years in the [Woburn] program, and I learned how to never give up and always fight for every down under him. Many of my other philosophies and styles also came from a number of college coaches that I had worked for and with the last seven years.”
Putting it altogether, Flores has the experience of listening to and observing others while tweaking their ideas into his own strategy that will definitely benefit the Crimson Tide to take that next step into becoming a legitimate Super Bowl contender, once again.
The first-year Crimson Tide coach likes what he sees so far from his club. “There have been steps forward daily in practice. I have been impressed by our captains – Pedro Rodrigues, Dominic Papa, Jaiden Prophete and Christian Zamor – and also a few young guys, who will be stepping into large roles,” he said. “The entire team has looked solid, but the goal is always to get better, no matter the outcome.”
The strengths of this year’s team lie in the offensive line, skilled positions and linebackers. The only weakness, according to Flores, is that both coaches and players haven’t been together very long, because he only got the job on July 1.
Flores’ staff is made up of Holvin Pena (assistant head coach, quarterback coach), Oscar Flores (running back, strength coach), Malik Love (wide receiver coach), Claudy St. Juste (defensive line coach), Jon Solomon (defensive coordinator, linebacker coach), Lubins Figaro (outside linebacker coach), Lubern Figaro (defensive backs coach), Chuck Leo (sub-varsity head coach), Bobby Goss (sub-varsity defensive coordinator) and Joe LaMonica (sub-varsity assistant coach). Flores is also responsible for the offensive line.
The 2023 schedule was already made up long before Flores came to Everett, but he still wouldn’t change a thing, even if he had the opportunity. “It’s always good to start a season against a top opponent in the state in order to get ready for a long season,” he reasoned, while also adding, “I feel good about everything. We just need to put it altogether on the field Friday night. Our only goal this year is to win each day, whether it’s at practice or at a game.”
After Friday night’s game against host Xaverian, the Tide returns home to get ready for the home opener against Greater Boston League rival Somerville on Sept. 15, starting at 6 p.m.