Timmy Hernandez wasn’t always making over-the-shoulder catches in the corner of the end zone.
There was a time when he was at Mountain Pointe’s stadium and cared very little about what was going on with the Pride.
“I was about 5 and I really wasn’t watching,” Hernandez said. “I wasn’t paying attention.”
If he had, the Mountain Pointe senior wide receiver would have gotten a glimpse of what his future held. That’s because back in the early 2000s there was another Hernandez making leaping, drive-extending grabs like he did in the win over Bishop Gorman.
Hernandez’s oldest brother, Brian, ended his career at Mountain Pointe with his name all over the program’s record book and with his pro career on a temporary hold as he has joined the Pride coaching staff.
“I think, regardless, I’m here for the rest of this season,” said Brian, 29, who received an injury settlement with the Eagles during the 2012 training camp because of a recurring ankle injury. “I’ll try the NFL again next year and if that doesn’t work out I should have opportunities in the CFL.
“But right now, I am happy to be part of this staff and team.”
The elder Hernandez is the team’s wide receiver coach where he’s getting an opportunity to tutor one of the most talented groups in the state as the Pride (1-0) prepares to host North (0-0) at Karl Kiefer Stadium this week. He can often be seen pulling a player aside after a route, even if it is in a warm-up drill, and work the little intricacies of a route.
A lot of position coaches do the same, but it comes with authority from a guy who was in the NFL camp just last year and played professionally with the Indoor Football League and United Football League before signing with the Washington Redskins in May of 2012.
“He does a good job,” Pride coach Norris Vaughan said. “He’s new to coaching and he’s still figuring things out a little bit, but he does a good job of getting his message across.”
His brother has worked exclusively with him for years, but once they are on the practice field their relationship changes.
“He is like any other coach,” Timmy said. “He is not really a yeller but when I get home he’ll let me have it.”
While he’d prefer to be on an NFL roster heading into the final preseason week of the year, getting a chance to work with his brother during his senior year is something he couldn’t pass up when the opportunity presented itself.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Brian, who played at Pima C.C. and Utah in college. “We’ve worked hard over the years and this is his senior year, so to be part of his final year at Mountain Pointe is special.”
It certainly got off to a great start as Hernandez took advantage of his opportunity last week on the national stage. The Bishop Gorman defense bracketed Jalen Brown, who is considered one of the nation’s top wide receivers, and focused on Emmanuel Butler, who has an offer from Northern Arizona, as well.
It left Hernandez in one-on-one situations all game long and he came away with four catches for 87 yards, including a nifty over-the-shoulder touchdown catch and a leaping, bobbled ball down the center of the field for one of the Pride’s biggest gains of the night in a 28-21 win.
“I knew they probably didn’t know much about me and I’d get a few shots to make plays,” said Hernandez, who had one catch all of last season. “I made some plays and helped us win.”
Brian did that as well with his team as the Pride won a region title in 2000 as a junior and when he finished playing, he ranked first in receptions in a season (49) and second in a career (75), second in catches in a game (8), second in receiving yards in a season (699) and a career (1,233).
He did all that while wearing No. 2.
Of course the current No. 2 has pushed Hernandez and anyone else who has ever worn the Pride colors down the ladder.
“That’s alright,” he said with a laugh. “I’d rather see someone I am now coaching get them all.”
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