MODESTO -- For Central Catholic football fans, the measure of success cuts a line through the outfield lawn in a John Deere cart, donning a baseball cap and shades.
"The coaches and I re-seeded it ourselves," Mike Glines says of his baseball complex's rich natural carpet.
Glines is prepping for his 16th season on the bench for the Raiders' varsity baseball team, but on this day, he's distracted by an old love.
For the second time in school history, the football team practices in preparation for a state championship game and Glines, the school's legendary but retired football coach, just can't help himself.
"When it comes to X's and O's," Glines says of Roger Canepa, his hand-picked successor, "he knows what he's doing."
Glines' football coaching career was derailed by major back surgery, and to some extent, a sense of contentment.
His 2007 Raiders, led by Louis Bland, became the Stanislaus District's first team to reach a CIF State Bowl, where they'd eventually fall to St. Bonaventure in the Division 3 game.
Glines never would coach another game for the Raiders, closing the book on an unbelievable era in California high school football. His teams once won 61 straight games, 205 in all and his 23-year career showcased 12 Sac-Joaquin Section titles, including seven straight.
"The bar has been raised and it is going to be there for a while," former Patterson coach Rob Cozart said in a 2007 interview with The Bee. "It will stay there, no matter who takes over for him."
Still, there's one achievement even Glines can't lay claim to
a trophy he can't cradle as his own a Northern California bowl victory.
That jewel belongs to Canepa, now in his fifth season.
The Raiders clinched their second state bowl berth in five seasons with last week's 42-12 victory over McClymonds in the inaugural Northern California Division 4 Bowl, and they'll face Santa Fe Christian (11-3) for a state title Friday in Carson.
"It's harder than people think to be a good football coach," Canepa said. "You have one bad game, you can't win league or go to sections. One bad game in the playoffs and you're done. That's why you don't see a lot of people going back-to-back to state. It shows you how hard it is to get there. To get there twice in five years, it's pretty impressive."
By Central's lofty standards, Canepa's first four seasons at the private school powerhouse were some of the leanest in program history.
Relatively speaking, that is.
Central Catholic (13-2) has gone 52-13 under Canepa and reached two section finals. Any other program and any other fan base would be thrilled with those highlights and credentials.
But on a campus and community that measures football success on a 1-to-Glines scale with "Glines" being the highest mark of achievement Canepa's best never was good enough.
"I think there's always going to be that outside talk. We all hear it as coaches. People want to criticize," Glines said. "That's why I don't sit in the bleachers. I watch it from a (different) area, because I don't want to hear it. The program has been successful and he's been successful. They just hadn't won section."
The Raiders, bitten by injuries, fell flat to Hilmar in the 2008 section final, halting that magical run at seven consecutive blue banners.
Canepa finally would crawl out from beneath that black cloud this fall, winning his first section title in 18 years as a head coach.
The wait had been long and grinding, but a 52-10 victory over Escalon in the D4 final quieted his critics. The loudest of which, Canepa said, echoed from within.
"When we lose, I take it personally. I'm a bad loser," said Canepa, whose section championship drought overshadowed another remarkable streak: in 18 seasons, Canepa's teams have missed the postseason once and that team finished 8-2.
"I wanted to keep the tradition. I wanted to keep winning section titles. If they (critics) were around our practice, they knew we were working hard. It just didn't happen until now.
"Winning is a little more important at our school.
Escalon expects to win. Oakdale, they do too. So when you're not winning, it's like 'Oh, we hired this guy?' I don't know how much of that happened, but it never bothered me."
There's still one shadow left to contend with, and it's the one cast by Glines, whose presence still can be felt on the campus at Carpenter Road and Maze Boulevard.
"You never get out of Mike's shadow and I think that's OK," said athletic director Billy Hylla, who has served under both Glines and Canepa. Hylla is the team's defensive coordinator.
"When you have a coach who has accomplished as much as Mike did, you don't want to forget or stop acknowledging it. But this is definitely Roger's team and program."
At Canepa's request, Glines joined the coaching staff in an unofficial capacity last month. Since then, he's been used as a floating assistant, working with the special teams units and quarterbacks.
"We keep him busy," Canepa quipped.
Glines appreciates the work and the opportunity to peek under Central's hood.
Canepa has returned the Raiders to the showroom floor with a brand of football that is both high-performance (think Ray Lomas, Rey Vega) and hemi-powered (think Johnny Mundt, Blake Escobar and Spencer Stark).
And on Friday, with one final acceleration, Canepa has the chance to reset the standards for success at Central.
"Central has always been measured differently. They want to see you win championships and win section," said Glines, whose baseball program also is tops in the section with 11 championships. "If this group goes down there and wins, this team will go to the top of that pyramid.
"Central has been about winning and tradition. In Roger's four years, with all of his hard work, he's gotten them back there."
CIF State Championships
WHO: Serra of Gardena (13-2) vs. Oakdale (14-1)WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m.WHERE: Home Depot Center, CarsonTV: Comcast SportsNet California
WHO: Santa Fe Christian of Solano Beach (11-3) vs. Central Catholic (13-2)WHEN: Friday, 4 p.m.WHERE: Home Depot Center, CarsonTV: Comcast SportsNet California or Comcast SportsNet Plus (depends on provider)