On Sunday, most of the Bay Area will be rooting for the 49ers to win and move on to the Super Bowl. But at Marin Catholic High School, it will be a homecoming game for one of their favorite sons. And a lot of people will be wearing Lions jerseys as a result.
After an impressive playoff win over Tampa Bay, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff talked about what it will mean to travel to the Bay Area for the NFC title game.
“It’s nice to go back there in front of my friends and family and in front of a lot of my loved ones,” he said. “And play in a place I’ve played a bunch of times.”
One of those places is the football field at Marin Catholic in Kentfield. The Novato native graduated from there in 2013 and it’s hard not to know that because Jared’s name and picture is just about everywhere.
He holds most of the school’s records, throwing 93 touchdowns in just two years as starter. In 2012, he took the small school to a NorCal championship, coming just four points shy of a State title, playing against a much larger school.
“He made things look easy, you know? The simple passes he made look easy, the tough passes he made look easy. It made you feel like you could do it…even though you actually couldn’t,” said Marin Catholic’s head football coach Mazy Moayed, with a laugh.
While he could see Goff’s talent, Moayed said he worked to keep him humble by playing him in a rotation, early on.
“I think we made him a little more tough minded, you know?” he said. “Always kept him uncomfortable, on his toes. Just never let him get too comfortable. That was the thing when he was here. He was so talented, you didn’t want to fail him, so you just kept pushing him.”
That may have helped Goff to overcome a lot of doubt and adversity while playing for both the Cal Bears and the L.A. Rams. But now in Detroit, it feels like Goff has found a home away from home, with Lions fans chanting his name during his entire pre-game warmups.
“Jared Goff! Jared Goff! Jared Goff!…”
And his former history teacher, Lynn Maloney, said it’s shifted a lot of loyaties around Marin Catholic, as well.
“I am a born-and-raised 49er fan, but on Sunday I’m a Detroit Lions fan, because I’m a Jared Goff fan,” she said. “What he represents for Marin Catholic…he’s the true definition of a Wildcat. So, I’m all in on the Lions.”
“I want the Niners to win still, but I think for a lot of people it’s gonna change,” said sophomore Reese Johnston. “A lot of people are going to want him to win.”
“Yeah, I think it IS enough to make them root for the Lions,” said freshman Cavan Mullen. “I mean, it’s cool to have someone playing in the NFL that went here, you know?”
But despite all the success and adulation, Coach Moayed said he expects Goff to stay grounded.
“He’s a humble guy, and he’s one of the best players,” said the man who helped make him that way. “We did our part… and he did his!”
And the nice thing is, no matter who wins Sunday’s game, the Bay Area will have someone to root for in the Super Bowl.