Transitioning from Division IV to Division III in the ultra-competitive San Diego football scene is a hefty challenge.
And making this transition while sporting one of the youngest teams in the county is an entirely different beast.
Yet, Coronado High School, backed by sophomore quarterback Trey Arnold, is making the most of the promotion. The Islanders have started their stint in Division III with a 3-3 record, and it’s Arnold showing fans what is possibly yet to come for this young team.
First taste of football was Pop Warner 14U
When a team only has one starting returner there are going to be plenty of positions up for grabs—one of those being quarterback.
According to Arnold, he came into this season with a taste of varsity experience that paid dividends during the offseason.
Arnold earned a start as a freshman and lettered that year, which gave him the confidence to take on a leadership role for the 2023 season.
While Arnold is in the spotlight, he didn’t start playing organized football until he suited up for the Coronado Pop Warner 14U team.
And Arnold hasn’t looked back since putting the pads on a few years ago.
Off-season training camps
From off-season training camps to surrounding himself with some of the most talented pass throwers in the nation, Arnold said he’s been preparing for the moment he’d be the starting quarterback for the Islanders.
“Along with consistent weight room and conditioning sessions, I attended multiple QB camps in San Diego and across the country,” Arnold said. “I was fortunate enough to spend a week with the QB Magazine Recruiting Tour this summer. They took us to camps at Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky, Cincy and Louisville. Meeting head coaches, and throwing in those iconic stadiums really inspired me to constantly work on my craft.”
Meeting head coaches, and throwing in those iconic stadiums really inspired me to constantly work on my craft.”-Sophomore quarterback Trey Arnold.
The quarterback and leader role of the offense for Coronado isn’t an easy job.
According to Arnold, he knows the ways in which he’ll need to grow to fit this role and Islanders’ Coach Kurt Hines has high expectations for his young quarterback.
When it came to what Arnold did to beat out the team’s other possible quarterbacks for the starting job, Hines said, “Trey simply performed better when it came down to the final scrimmages and the practices during the summer.”
According to Hines, he loves Arnold’s passion for the game and hopes to see his new starting quarterback flourish in an expanded role.
As the season moves along, we’ll look to turn Trey into more of a student of the game and see him encourage the entire team to play as a unit rather than as individuals.”-Coach Kurt Hines on sophomore quarterback Trey Arnold.
“Trey’s got a real strong arm and loves playing the game of football. As the season moves along, we’ll look to turn Trey into more of a student of the game and see him encourage the entire team to play as a unit rather than as individuals,” said Hines.
Arnold’s strong arm was showcased in Coronado’s win Sept. 15 against Canyon Hills, when. Arnold connected with fellow sophomore Ryder Albin for a 72-yard touchdown.
After three straight losses following their opening season win, Arnold’s 101 passing yards and two touchdowns against Canyon Hills were enough to get the Islanders back in the win column. And the Islanders won on Sept. 22 in a blowout 37-6 victory over Mar Vista of Imperial Beach.
But Arnold said he and others on the team already have begun preparing for their next game.
“Our coaching staff installed a 24-hour rule. We can celebrate or mourn our results on Friday nights, but after that it’s back to work to prepare and watch film on the next opponent,” said Arnold.
Mentorship from senior Graham Bower
One way Hines has sought to grow his young quarterback is by implementing senior and captain Graham Bower under center as well.
According to Hines, Bower is the perfect player for Arnold to model his game after before he enters his upperclassmen years.
Earning the starting quarterback job at the beginning of the summer was a milestone for Arnold, but he embraces it with a level head as he’s seen in Bower.
We have a phenomenal leader on our team in senior Captain Graham Bower, so I try to model my leadership after him.-Trey Arnold.
“Once the whistle blows and we step into the huddle, we are all on an equal field and I want to play my best for my teammates and coaches. We have a phenomenal leader on our team in senior Captain Graham Bower, so I try to model my leadership after him,” said Arnold.
Get 1% better daily
According to Hines, the Islanders’ motto is to get 1% better every day.
Unlike the majority of varsity quarterbacks in San Diego County, Arnold has been placed into a role many players don’t see until their junior or senior season.
Hines understands he asks a lot out of Arnold and the rest of his young players, but the coach is confident that those expectations aren’t too much to ask as long as Arnold and everyone else is on the same page.
“We are building a great relationship both on and off the field,” Arnold said of his relationship with his coach. “With a very young team, we are hungry to be great, but it will take time to progress as a team.”