This is Ray Torres’ second year as head coach of San Marino High School’s football program, but he has all the enthusiasm of a wide-eyed rookie as the 2023 season approaches.
A year ago, Torres was busy filling coaching slots, selling himself to prospective players and familiarizing himself with the nuances of the Titans’ landscape. He still sees a season facing challenges, but has enough invested in the program to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train.
Torres was hired in June 2021 to replace Justin Mesa, who left to join the staff at Washington State University after the Titans’ season ended that April. Torres came to San Marino in July 2020 to coach running backs and defensive backs on Mesa’s staff.
As the season progressed, he had an increased influence on the overall offensive strategy and play calling.
Torres attended and later coached at Cathedral High School, leaving the Los Angeles campus in 2016 to become an assistant coach at Glendale Community College until he was hired at San Marino.
At Cathedral, Torres excelled as a player and coach. He played quarterback from 2004-07 for the legendary Kevin Pearson, and later played at Mount San Antonio College before Pearson invited him back to Cathedral to be a coach.
During his coaching career at Cathedral, the Phantoms made regular appearances in the CIF playoffs and sent multiple student-athletes to Division I football programs.
“It’s really good at times and then a little frustrating at times,” Torres said with a chuckle on Monday. “But it’s all good. We have more kids than we had last year, which is a big help for our practices. We are still super-young, but the majority of our starters are coming back.
they have a fair amount of experience, and we were able to add pieces around them. Now that I have had a full off-season, a season of spring football and our strength program up and running, things are looking up. We have also been able to add coaches and have a total of 11 this year.”
The Titans finished 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the Rio Hondo League a year ago and will be leaning on a solid roster of receivers and defensive backs when the squad holds its annual Blue & White game on Saturday morning. Brady Beck and Riley Short have waged a back-and-forth battling for the quarterback position.
“Both of them have improved and competed really well,” said Torres.
San Marino has a long list of young men for the quarterbacks to throw to, including Coleman Morning, Sid Danenhauer, Justin Levy, Nick Escamilla, Mikey Yessaian and Ryan Park. Ryan Singhal, a running back, has shown signs of his old self after battling back from a serious knee injury he suffered last year.
“That is where we have the most depth and the most returners,” Torres said of those who are manning the skilled positions.
The numbers are a little less optimistic on the offensive and defensive lines, but are improving.
The return of Singhal has bolstered the program.
“He has worked really hard to get back in shape,” said the coach. “If he is healthy, that is a huge break for us.”
The Titans open at home on Aug. 19 when Norwalk High School visits at 7 p.m. but Titan Stadium will be buzzing Saturday at 9 a.m. for the Blue & White Game, which features student-athletes from all four classes.
“We look forward to seeing everyone out there,” Torres said.