High School Football

Lopez: From the moment MC hired Ryan Green, it just smelled wrong.

Consider it a crisis averted.

The Modesto Christian football program was dealt a big blow after Ryan Green shockingly resigned as Crusaders head coach after three months on the job. He had been hired in January after the respected Mike Parsons stepped down.

There was a lot of promise heading into the 2019 season for Modesto Christian, which reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinals last season.

Green had brought his son, Beau, who starred last year at Downey, to be the quarterback while MC returned defensive lineman Xavier Carlton, who is one of the top recruits in the nation.

A few months later, it all went awry.

First, it was learned in late April that Carlton transferred to a high school in Utah. Then, a few days later, Green quit. In a span of about 72 hours, the program lost its coach, Ryan Green, its likely heir-apparent young quarterback Beau Green, and the team’s best player in Carlton.

Carlton’s family has ties to Utah, and the reported reason for his departure was that his mom got a job there.

But you can hang the the lost months of planning for the 2019 season — and the hours of angst without a head coach a week before the start of spring practice — on the school.

Green should never have gotten the job.

From Day 1, it just smelled wrong.

There were rumors that it was school boosters who forced Parsons to leave. Those same boosters were rumored to have hand-picked Ryan Green, he of no coaching experience but father of a talented, strong-armed quarterback in his son, Beau. He likely was the replacement for the talented Hayden Sauser, who was a senior.

There was some doubt even if Beau Green could start in Week 1 given the California Interscholastic Federation transfer rules. Some in the football community felt the new coach was simply looking for a vacant quarterbacking spot after his son got injured last fall in Week 5 and was replaced by Downey junior quarterback Bryce Gouker, who led the Knights to a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II road victory. Would Green or Gouker be the Downey starter in 2019?

There also was the press release announcing Green’s hiring and a reference to his coaching at Downey, which was disputed by some in the Downey program.

Now, when a private school that has struggled to stay afloat and has boosters that donate to a program, it’s hard to say no. But look at the short-lived fallout and its impact on the program and its athletes.

Said Crusaders Athletic Director Robb Spencer: “It’s all about the kids and I feel bad. It’s a whirlwind.”

Luckily for the school, Spencer found a quick — and seemingly steady fix — in Brett Butler, who was hired this week to lead the Crusaders.

Born and raised in Modesto, a Downey High graduate who most recently coached at Modesto Junior College, Butler is someone who will provide a steady influence for the players and the program — something that’s been missing for most of this year.

Can the Crusaders have the same success this fall as in previous years under Parsons? That will be difficult in Year 1. More likely, when school officials look back on a tumultuous 2019, its biggest victories might have come in May, on the days Green left and Butler arrived.

Family history in All-Star Game: Here’s a cool piece of information I was sent from Six-County All-Star Game Director Bobby Cole, which is Friday at Modesto Junior College.

In 2000, Rataya Williams, a Modesto High graduate, played on the girl’s blue team in the game. This year, her son, Malachi Butler, a Downey senior, will be on boy’s blue team.

It will be the first time a parent and child have played in the event.

Ripon High coach Justin Graham, who played in the game in 2006, will coach the blue team.

Turlock High girls coach John Williams will coach his daughter, Jaydon for the last time.

And then there’s Atwater sisters Kelsey and Lexi Valencia, who will battle against each other.

Kelsey will be on the Red squad while Lexi on the Blue.

Both signed with Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota on April 30.

The girls game will start at 6 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students (K-12).

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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