Mitch Crossley takes reins of Mount Shasta High School football program
It’s a new season and Mount Shasta High School has hired a new head football coach. Mitch Crossley, who will also be teaching math at the school, has coached a number of football programs in a 28-year career, most recently in 2016 at the large division school Lemoore High in the Fresno area.
Crossley, an Oregon native, has also coached at schools in Oregon and Arizona. This included a stint at Brookings-Harbor High School, where he led the Bruins to a state title game.
The Bears tentatively open the 2020 season on Friday, Aug. 28 at home against Colusa.
Crossley, who is searching for a home and plans to move to Mount Shasta soon, said he is excited to coach football again and is happy to have that opportunity in a small school setting like Mount Shasta.
Crossley said he has been impressed with the players so far, although there are only 15 at this time. After all, the team had just 15 players last year under head coach Dave Kindley and made it to the semifinals of the Northern Section Division 4 playoffs.
Crossley believes more players will join the team once they get their required physicals.
The Bears football program began workouts and conditioning drills on Tuesday evening. The team will resume its four-day workout routine starting Monday.
To participate, players must have a current physical, fill out paperwork and turn in athletic packets. A physical can be obtained for $35 at the Mercy Community Clinic in Mount Shasta, Crossley said.
A concern, of course, has been how to be safe while practicing, training, and playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crossley said he and his staff are closely following the Center for Disease Control guidelines to make sure everyone is taking precautions.
This includes following social distance guidelines as well as wearing gloves at all times, and helmets with a clear visor over the facemasks. Hand sanitizer is readily available. The team will also will be working in small groups.
“Safety is our first priority,” Crossley said, “We’re going to treat these kids like they are our are own.”
To Crossley, it helps that the number of COVID-19 cases in Siskiyou County is low in comparison to other areas. He said it would be more challenging to have a season if this was an area with higher reports of cases. He believes a football season is, indeed, on the horizon.
“If I was coaching in the Bay Area, I would be concerned, but I’m not concerned up here,” Crossley said. “We're all excited and ready to begin.”
Crossley said he enjoys building positive relationships with the players, their family members, the school, and the community as a whole.
“You get to know everyone much better,” he said.
On offense, Crossley said he has always liked using motion, formations and shifts to try to confuse the opponent and get an advantage. He said he believes he will continue to do things this way in Mount Shasta.
On defense, Crossley likes his team to be “very aggressive and put a lot of pressure on the opponents.”
He added that he is pleased with the commitment and talent the Bears will have on the field this season. Crossley said they will be especially strong on defense and plans to use the team’s excellent speed to their advantage.
He said he has a great coaching staff full of dedicated people who will help the program succeed.
The defensive coaching staff includes Kindley, Ryan Reginato and Crossley himself. The offensive coaching staff includes Julio Lopez, Jerry Oldham and Carlos Alcantar.
The junior varsity team will practice with varsity, learning offense and defense together, Crossley said. Coaching JV will be a team effort.
Crossley wants his players to do well both on and off the field and to “be a good example of what it is like to be a man ... and help them as a coach and in their lives.”
“I expect to win,” he said. “I believe the kids here will rise to the occasion. We have a lot of good players here. We have a team that wants to play. We also have great leaders. They are one of the best group of leaders I have seen in quite a while.”
Crossley said it helps the team is a close-knit group with the majority having played together for several years.
“These kids really like each other and have a close-knit bond,” he said.
His ultimate goal is to have a football program the entire community can root for and is invested in. Crossley believes a positive foundation has already been put in place to make this happen and believes he can do his part to help the Bears take the next positive steps in having a strong football program in Mount Shasta.
“We want everybody to get excited about football,” he said. “We want everyone to jump on board and are excited about our team. It’s going to be fun.”
2020 Bears football schedule
Due to the fluid situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, this schedule could change at any time.
Aug. 28: Home versus Colusa
Sept. 4: @ Etna
Sept. 11: Home versus Weed
Sept. 18: @ Central Valley
Sept. 25: @ Anderson
Oct. 9: @ Williams
Oct. 16: Home versus Willows
Oct. 23: Home versus Trinity
Oct. 30: Home versus Hamilton
Nov. 6: @ Modoc