Belmont High School Football team’s game and the season didn’t start the way Yann Kumin had hoped.
Belmont’s head coach – his first ever in charge of a program – saw Stoneham High School recover the on-side kick on the opening kickoff under the Friday night lights on Stoneham’s forlorn grass field on Sept. 12.
“Not the way to start,” commented Kumin when the referee pointed towards Belmont’s side of the field.
Despite the hope for a big performance on the first game under a new football mindset, the Marauders stumbled in the season opener, losing 30-0 to the Spartans.
“Disappointing,” said Kumin after speaking to his team, greeting people he knew from when he was Stoneham’s associate head coach last season and receiving congratulations from Belmont Athletic Director Jim Davis.
“I’m proud of my guys. We fought and we were a discipline football team from start to finish. That’s what we wanted to be. We worked hard but we did not get the result we wanted,” he said.
What Belmont could not control was the quickness and football IQ of Stoneham which ran a variety of rushing plays that found gaps in and around Belmont’s front line. Stoneham’s players experience within a system that relies on technique and speed paid off for the Spartans as they made plays that the Marauders could not.
Kumin said the team was not beaten in the physical portion of the game “but [Stoneham] is a team with three years of really quality coaching and teaching them how to tackle. We have had three weeks of coaching so it’s going to take a little bit more time for us.”
“You have a series of bad habits that have been instilled and repeated over and over again,” said Kumin of Belmont’s past football culture.
“So when our guys find themselves in situations where they’re ‘behind the eight-ball’, it’s easy to revert back to what they’re comfortable doing, So all we, as coaches, have to do, day-in and day-out, is to break those bad habits and get great habits in place,” he said.
Throughout the contest, Kumin and his young assistant coaching staff were either making every play – and mistake – into a teachable moment or encouraging the effort of players. And Kumin saw great promise in several aspects of the Maruaders’ game.
“The positives exist in the fact that we are capable of making mistakes and coming back and try to do good things. We moved the ball really well and by the end of the second quarter, our offense was clicking,” said Kumin.
As he was walking off the field, Kumin told a Stoneham acquaintance that “you’ll have to come next year to [Belmont’s] Harris Field and we’ll be ready for you.”