Piner football

Posted by: Press Democrat Staff Writer Rich Rupprecht

New Piner football coach Matt Tomlin is anxious to start practice. The Prospectors officially begin practice Aug. 17. Tomlin is a Santa Rosa police officer and a former baseball pitcher — University of Nebraska and Scottsdale Community College.

He was a quarterback at St. Bernard High in Eureka and his father-in-law, is former longtime Eureka football coach Jack Lakin. Tomlin has installed “The Fly” offense, where one back lines up wide and then races in motion behind the quarterback. The quarterback can either hand it off or drop back and pass. Tomlin said there figures to be five receivers in some of the formations.

“The kids picked it up pretty quickly,” Tomlin said of the new offense, which the team ran at a Tomales football camp. Piner will also participate in an upcoming Montgomery camp. During spring practice 55 players were on hand for both varsity and JVs.

Logan Stiles returns at quarterback for Piner and the top running back figures to be junior Jabari Young, who was injured for much of last season.

Tomlin said he also has a large line, which should help the passing game.

Tomlin figures to have a busy schedule. He plans on working the graveyard shift (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) as a patrol officier (he has been a police officer for eight years and six in Santa Rosa) and lives with his wife and three children in Hidden Valley near Middletown.

“I always wanted to coach high school football,” Tomlin said. “I love the strategy part.”

Tomlin also has a coaching staff that includes Sonoma County sheriff deputies Jason Little (who played at SRJC and Eastern Oregon) and Greg Piccinini. Little is the assistant head coach and will work with the offensive line and special teams. Piccinini will work with the defense. Glen Solis will be the JV head coach.

Tomlin heard of the coach’s opening at Piner through Prospectors basketball coach Mike Erickson, who coached Tomlin his freshman year at McKinleyville High.

Tomlin has coached high school baseball at Fortuna and was pitching coach at College of the Redwoods. He was an undercover narcotics detective the past three years, before switching to patrol.