Trevor G. Browne Bruins making noise in 2022 season

Story by Noelle Blumel 

Trevor G. Browne High School’s football program has had its best season start since 1983, with back-to-back shutouts and a 5-1 overall record so far this season.

The program had been on a downhill spiral for the past decade, with two seasons of 0-10 and roughly two coaches for all three teams. That was until 2019, when a new, full coaching staff came in, and the team evened out the ratio, continuing the incline ever since.

“We’ve lucked out these past three years,” head coach Francisco Rangel said. “We’ve put 13 kids in college, and I hear from them regularly…That’s the relationship I want.”

But the success has come from much more than athletic talent. Rangel preaches the theme of family and makes it a point to instill confidence in his players so they do not conform to negative stereotypes about the tough reputation of the school’s surrounding area.

“I don’t want to fit the perception that everybody has of us,” Rangel said. “I want people to look at our kids and realize how amazing they are and that the streets don’t define them.”

Rangel added that the coaching staff does this by making communication with each player a priority, with constant check-ins with the players about life off the field.

Defensive Coordinator Malek James shared an instance in which he realized the reality these kids go through, encouraging him to make check-ins a priority as well.

“One time I asked them like ‘why are you guys always playing catch on the sideline and not paying attention, and they were like we can’t play catch at the park cause we’ll get shot,” James said. “And when they said that, I was like, ‘damn’ this is just their time when they can have fun, and I really felt that. After that, I was like, I understand.”

Defensive back coach Dion Jones said he preaches the gravity of choices and options to the players, emphasizing that one decision can make or break their life and that the lessons they teach in football apply to real-life situations.

“No matter what you do at the end of the day, there are options…you can change your life by making one move,” Jones said. “And that helps because with them being here, it brings them to something positive and stays away from something negative.”

Jones added that the reason they instill the tough love culture within the program is that the kids themselves are making the time to be there and be productive, despite the unusual pace of life they are going outside, such as paying bills and raising themselves.

“It’s different for these kids than other kids who have advantages,” Jones said. “But these kids here, they’re fighting for something; they’re fighting for their lives, basically.”

James said there are, unfortunately, some kids who have left the program because they have chosen to take a different route. He said the thought of it takes a toll on him as he thinks back to the impact football had on him and how it saved his life.

“There’s so much more out there than just this, and a lot of these kids just know this, but this game could give you a whole new life,” James said. “And that’s it right there, that we just want them to be successful young men and eventually one day make it somewhere.”

Rangel, Jones, and James all said their most important goal is ensuring their player’s tenure in Bruin football is not simply a window of time in their life that passes by but a memory they can reflect on and remember a coaching staff that was always in their corner.

“I want to be there for my kids, not just for the touchdowns and tackles, but for when life happens,” Rangel said. “I got them no matter what.”