Mountain View High School spring football practice

Mountain View High School head coach Joe Germaine tells players their next drill during spring football practice, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Mesa, Arizona. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

Joe Germaine is the first to admit the 2022 season was out of character for Mountain View football.

A program built with tradition at the forefront, the Toros had one of their worst seasons in history winning just two games. They dealt with bout with adversity in the form of injuries, including to key starters.

But at the end of the day, Joe Germaine said they just simply couldn’t get it done.

“It was a difficult year, for sure,” Joe Germaine said. “No excuses. We just weren’t good enough to get it done. It’s an opportunity for us to look ourselves in the mirror and correct the things we weren’t good at.”

Joe Germaine, now in his third year as head coach of the program he once led to a state title as a quarterback, has goals set in place for this year’s team.

Many revolve around personal accomplishments for his players. But the most important is figuring out who they are as a team.

Mountain View has hit the metaphorical reset button. Simply put, the Toros are looking for a new identity this spring and into the summer.

“I think we’re just trying to form a new identity,” Joe Germaine said. “Who are we as a program? That’s what we are trying to figure out. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll use these next couple of weeks to figure out who we are.”

Joe Germaine doesn’t want to stray far from the tradition of the Mountain View football program.

It was a powerhouse under Jesse Parker, who passed away in 2017 and has the field named after him. Joe Germaine played under the legendary coach, where he led the Toros to the 1993 state championship.

Parker, along with Bernie Busken who succeeded him at Mountain View, led the program to seven state titles between 1983 and 2002. The Toros were widely regarded as a contender every year with the two coaches at the helm at different times.

Now, Joe Germaine and his players want to reestablish that image for the program.

“We want to make Mountain View good again,” sophomore defensive lineman Tavita Ta’ase said. “We want that to be known to everybody in the Valley. Mountain View is still great. We still have dogs over here. That’s what I want to prove to everyone.”

The youth of the Mountain View program will play key roles in helping establish a new identity.

Mountain View’s 2025 class is littered with talent. Ta’ase, who has had two older brothers come through the program, started as a sophomore along the defensive line. Behind him was a group of linebackers that were primarily sophomores. They received postseason honors and two of them — Beckham Barney and Jackson Bogle — led the team in tackles.

Sophomore free safety Dominic Girard was also among the top tacklers on the team last season.

He, along with Ta’ase and others, aim to continue growing and improving. They know spring football is short lived, but they can accomplish a lot. More than anything, they’re motivated to get better after last season.

“I think all of us have a poor taste in our mouth,” said quarterback Jack Germaine, Joe Germaine’s son. “We were all disappointed in last year. I think we’re all a little more motivated on the field, in the classroom, in the weight room, out in the community. I think we all have a little bit more energy to get better this year.”

Part of Mountain View’s struggles last season came due to injuries. Perhaps the most key was Jack Germaine’s.

The junior went down in the sixth game of the season with a torn ACL. It was the third time he had suffered the injury in his career.

He felt defeated for a short time, confused by how he could have the same injury that is feared by many football players for the third time. But just like his last two, he put his head down and attacked the rehab process. Now about seven months out from when the injury took place, he has gained his full range of motion back and is practicing with the team.

Jack Germaine has yet to be fully cleared for contact, but there’s no need to rush into it with the pads staying off until August. But he knows he’ll be ready.

“Everything is going smoothly,” Jack Germaine said. “Getting stronger and faster is my main focus right now. But I got my range of motion back pretty quick and started running at the two- or three-month mark.

“God tests us every day. This is just another challenge.

Like other programs, Mountain View is in the middle of spring football, a period of three weeks where teams get together and practice. Some teams install offense or defensive schemes, others simply use it for conditioning and some 7-on-7 work. Technique for specific positions is also taught.

The spring period will end a couple of weeks before the school year. Then, the summer work begins.

Joe Germaine knows time will go by fast. Before he knows it, he’ll be passing out equipment to his players. That’s what makes the next week of spring ball and the summer so important for Mountain View.

Establishing a new identity is never easy, but sometimes needed. Joe Germaine believes they’ve taken steps in the right direction so far, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“It’s been good to get out on the field and officially start working,” Joe Germaine said. “Our players have done a nice job this off-season putting the work in. We’re excited to see how it can translate to actual football stuff.”

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at (480)898-5630 or Follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira


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