There are always some unknowns when a football team gets a new head coach.
But the Stratford Eagles have settled in nicely with the return of Mark Farriba to the program. Farriba, who coached the Eagles from 2003-06 before heading to Prince Avenue Christian of the GHSA, replaced Rodney Collins after last season.
The Eagles won their first two games in impressive fashion and host Deerfield-Windsor on Friday.
“There certainly has been progress, and we’re doing some things well,” Farriba said. “There are other things I wish we were doing better, and you always wish you were a little bit farther along with the knowledge of the system. But the players are playing hard, and they’re working hard, and that’s all really you can ask for.”
Never miss a local story.
Farriba’s wing-T offense has been all quarterback John Mitchell could have asked for entering this season. Mitchell has had a strong start to his season, but he is quick to credit his teammates and the system the offense is running.
“The wing-T is the ultimate team offense in the ultimate team sport,” Mitchell said. “It puts guys in positions to make plays, but it’s hard to give credit to one player because it takes the other 10 players doing their job to let one player make a play.”
Mitchell, however, has looked comfortable in the offense. He has 15 carries for 79 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 11-of-14 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Eagles beat Westwood 28-7 to open the season and knocked off Pinewood Christian 27-6 last week.
“I am happy with how he has played; he has done a lot of really, really good things,” Farriba said. “I’m sure he would tell you there are some things he can improve on, too, and he’s working hard to get better every day.”
Mitchell said he enjoys the day-to-day work and points to Farriba for that.
Farriba, a Stratford alum and former Eagles assistant coach, went 27-20 in his first stint with the Eagles. He took over the Prince Avenue program in its third season and steadily built a winner. The Wolverines won 13 games two years ago and reached the GHSA Class A semifinals, and last year they finished 11-3, losing to Eagle’s Landing Christian in the Class A private school championship game.
A win Friday would be Farriba’s 150th as a head coach.
“Coach Farriba brings a ton of energy to practice and a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team,” Mitchell said. “Our practice tempo matches our game tempo, and he has really been a big boost to our program.”