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RBV squad ready for takeoff

08/20/2016, 2:30pm PDT
By Rick Hoff

Coach with pedigree will attempt to steer Longhorns straight

Rancho Buena Vista coach Joe Meyer says playing good defense is a must for winning in the North County.

— As the young son of a high school football coach, Joe Meyer had an important pregame task for his dad’s games at Oceanside High.

“One of my earliest memories is cutting up confetti with my mom before the games,” said Meyer. “I remember throwing the confetti, but by the end of the national anthem, I was probably asleep.”

Fast forward some five decades, and Meyer has another task at hand, only this time it involves more than confetti. The son of legendary coach Herb Meyer has the job of reviving the Rancho Buena Vista High football program after taking over as head coach prior to the start of the 2016 season.

“The first few days of practice have been great,” Joe Meyer said during the Longhorns’ first week of workouts. “We have a good group that is eager and ready to go.”

Meyer, 55, is facing a situation similar to what Paul Gomes inherited when he was named head coach at RBV in 2012. Gomes, who previously lifted a dormant Escondido High football program into a perennial championship contender in the 2000s, came to RBV after the Longhorns hit bottom the previous season at 0-10.

RBV showed immediate improvement with Gomes at the helm, winning six games in 2012 before a breakout 2013 campaign that saw the Longhorns win 10 games and a share of the Avocado East League championship. But after coming up just one win short of a trip to the section finals, what followed for RBV was another slide to back-to-back one-win seasons.

Gomes stepped down as head coach following the 2015 season, though he remains on staff at RBV teaching physical education.

After a five-year stint as head coach at Scripps Ranch, Meyer joined Gomes’ staff last year as the quarterbacks coach. During Meyer’s five seasons as coach at Scripps Ranch, his teams advanced to the playoffs four times.

Rancho Buena Vista came out of the gate as a championship football team, winning back-to-back section titles in 1988-89 under Craig Bell in the first two years of the program’s existence. Those are still the only section championships for The Ranch.

To return RBV to winning status, Meyer will rely on his past experiences as a player and coach.

“When is comes to winning in the North County, the No. 1 thing in the past has been to play defense, and play good defense,” Meyer said. “That is something we need to instill in these guys.”

Herb Meyer’s 338 victories in 45 years of coaching at Oceanside and El Camino rank third all-time among California high school football coaches and the most in San Diego Section history. The Wildcats won a section crown in their first year of play after Herb Meyer took his services across town from Oceanside to El Camino.

Joe Meyer was a sophomore at El Camino when the Wildcats won their first title, and he played quarterback for his dad during his junior and senior seasons. After graduating from El Camino in 1979, Joe Meyer went on to play college ball at MiraCosta College and Sonoma State University.

Meyer, who lives near RBV with wife Cathy, daughter Lauren and son Scott, said he likes the prospects for the Longhorns in 2016.

“Our numbers are up,” he said. “We currently have 46 players on varsity, 45 for junior varsity, and we had 47 guys turn out for the freshman team.”

The Longhorns will be moving this season to the Valley League, where the rivals will be Escondido, Fallbrook, San Pasqual and Valley Center.

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