Delfino Quintana To Coach Sundevils

Delfino Quintana was promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the Española Valley High School football team. Quintana replaces Miguel Medina, whoresigned July 22 for personal and health reasons.

Delfino Quintana To Coach Sundevils

By George Morse

The Española Valley High School football team was constantly reminded Aug. 5 that things had changed. No longer was standing around or walking going to be tolerated. Today was the first official day of practice for the 2019 season.

“From now on gentlemen, everything is done at full speed,” Española assistant coach Rudy Martinez said.

Under a hot afternoon sun on a day when the cooling clouds of afternoon thunderstorms failed to develop, the Sundevils sweated through conditioning drills, tackling and other defensive drills, as well as offensive drills like firing off the ball and hitting the blocking sled. The heat took its toll on some more than others.

On the plus side for the Sundevils is that after the sudden resignation of head coach Miguel Medina July 22 for personal and health reasons, Española did not waste time finding a replacement. Assistant Coach Delfino Quintana was promoted to head coach. A long-time assistant coach under several head coaches at Española, Quintana will make the transition easier for the Española players.

“I’ve been with these players since they were in seventh grade,” Quintana said. “I have very good rapport with them.”

A graduate of Escalante High School in Tierra Amarilla, Quintana has been through the ups and downs at Española. He was there in 2015, when the Sundevils were 9-2, were ranked as high as fifth in the state and made the state football playoffs for just the second time in school history. He has also suffered through the 1-9 and 2-8 seasons that followed. Last season under Medina, who returned to Española after leaving the team following the 2015 season, Española was 3-7 on the season.

The same coaching staff also returns, including Martinez. Española had about 30 players show up for the first official day of practice.

‘We’re going to work hard and never lack for effort,” Quintana said. “The toughest part for me is learning the administrative part of being a head coach.”

The Sundevils will open the season Aug. 23 against long-time rival Los Alamos High School. The Sundevils have not beaten the Hilltoppers since 2002, although one-point losses 35-34 and 21-20 to Los Alamos in 2016 and 2017 still linger in the Sundevils’ memory. Last season, the Hilltoppers dominated Española 57-12 in the season opener.

“The  goal every day is to get better and that’s the challenge I’m going to give to the players and coaches,” Quintana said. “That breeds teamwork and being a team is what wins games. You have to be a team no matter how great the athletes you have. You will go as far as the team takes you.”

The Española Valley High School football team practices their tackling technique (above) on the first official day of practice Aug. 5 at Española. The Sundevils also went through conditioning drill under the hot August sun (below).