District 4-A1  Lions International
Lions  All  Star  
    Football  

North Coach - John Ward  (Chavez)

John Ward is just finished his 5th season as the Cesar Chavez High School Football Coach. He is the SJAA  Coach of the Year.   He graduated from Franklin High School in 1991, lettering in football, wrestling, and track.  While participating in football at San Joaquin Delta J.C., he received an A.A. in Fire Science and earning league honors for the Golden Gate Conference.  From there he continued his football career in Germany with the Hildeshiem Invaders.  During his 2 year venture in Germany they won a Championship for the 3rd League being name MVP/Best Defensive Player 1995.  Upon returning to the U.S. he started coaching wrestling and football at Stagg High School for 4 years under former head coach Joe Nava.  During that time he returned back to school to get a B.A. in Kinesiology. 1999 Stagg won the SJAA league title and had overall record of 11-1 and coaching in the Lions All Star Game.   In 2000 he went to Sac City J.C. as a part time instructor and coaching the LBer’s winning the Captial City Shrine Bowl 2000.  2001 he returned to Stagg High to teach and coach football and wrestling again for 4 years.  In 2005 he opened Chavez High with the lower levels.  Once again returning to Stagg in 2006-2010 under current head coach Don Norton.  In 2010, while coaching the Lion’s All Star game for the second time, the Chavez  position became available and 5 years later here we are.  John is married to his lovely wife Jamie Ward for 6 years, and has a son Luca Ward 10yrs old.  John has mention several times that he is honored for the opportunity to coach the North in the Lion’s All Star.

Assistants:

Mario Gray   QB's, Offensive Cord.

Jesse Vasquez  Off Line

Scott Mackey  Rec's

Albert Alonzo Def Line

Michael Chicago  Def Backs

John Ward  LBers, RB's

South Coach - Jeremy Plaa (Downey)

Coach Plaa has been at TDHS since 2004 & has been the Varsity Head Coach since the 2007 season.  He is a graduate of Turlock HS, San Francisco State (BA in History/Kinesiology), & the University of Texas-Tyler (M.Ed in Sport Psychology).  He has coached football since 1995.  In 2003, he was selected the Modesto Bee’s Coach of the Year after a 12-1 season at Gustine High.  He also was selected that year to coach the South Team in the Lions’ All-Star Game, & his coaching staff has been selected to coach the 2015 Lions' All-Star game.  In 2012 & 2014, he was selected MMC Coach of the Year after the Knights went undefeated in league to win MMC championships.  Coach Plaa teaches AP Government & Geography-Religions.  His wife Brooke teaches English at Downey, & is an alum of TDHS.  They have three children- Braden, Tanner, & Jenna Rose.

 Assistants:

Chris May   Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
Coach May has been at TDHS since 2005, and coordinating the defense since 2010.  He is a graduate of John Adams HS in South Bend, IN; and DePauw University.  He was a three sport athlete, participating in football, wrestling, and baseball.  Coach May is the Foods teacher on campus & the leader of our upcoming Culinary Institute.  Before becoming a teacher, he spent 25 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  His wife Karen is a Downey alum.  They have three children & one grandchild.

Lynn Zwahlen       Offensive Coordinator
Coach Zwahlen has been coaching at Downey since 2009, and coached at Davis High the previous 25 years.  He attended Davis High, and then attended BYU on a football scholarship.  After BYU, he earned his DDS from Baylor Dental School.  He currently maintains a general dental practice in Modesto.  Since Coach Zwahlen has come to Downey, the offense has consistently been tops in the section in total yardage, points per game, & total offense.  He & his wife Sue have five sons & one daughter.

Ernie Sanchez   Linebackers

Coach Sanchez has been coaching at TDHS since 2007. He is an alum, class of 1999. He played football and track for the Knights, and also assists with the Throwers in the Track program. He was a Lions' All-Star selection, and continued his playing career at Northern State in South Dakota. He was also an active Rugby player. He has a Bachelor's degree in Spanish, and is working towards his teaching credential. He currently works on campus as a supervisor. He and his wife Lisa have two sons.

Ruben Platt   Special Teams Coordinator/Inverts

Coach Platt has been coaching at TDHS since 2010. He is also an assistant coach in our Track program. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, participating in football, basketball, and track. After graduating high school, he continued playing football at Mt. San Antonio College, and then on to the University of Connecticut & Southern Connecticut State, before ending his collegiate career at Humboldt State where he received his Bachelors of Science in the field of Cellular/Molecular Biology & Athletic Training. Coach Platt is a teacher at Somerset Middle School. His wife Vanessa is an administrator for MCS.


Albert Platt      ​
Running Backs   Coach Albert has been coaching at TDHS since 2010. He is also an assistant coach in our Track program. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, participating in football, basketball & track. After graduating high school, he continued playing football at Mt. San Antonio College, and then on to the University of Connecticut & Southern Connecticut State, before ending his career at Humboldt State where he received his Bachelors of Science in the field of Cellular/Molecular Biology and a minor in Athletic Training. Coach Albert is a Substitute teacher in Modesto City Schools and is single.

Charles Butler Wide Receivers     Coach Butler has been coaching at TDHS since 2012. He is a retired Fire Captain from the Modesto Fire Department after 29 years of service. He also worked as a Fire Officer & Hazardous Materials Specialist. He has a business degree from Chabot College and a Fire Certificate from Modesto JC. He has spent many years coaching youth basketball and football. Coach Butler and his wife Kelly have two sons- Brett & Branden, & a daughter-in-law- Jessica.

Russ Garcia   Safeties
Coach Garcia has been coaching at TDHS since _____. During that time he has also had stints at Modesto High & Ceres High. Coach Garcia was the Head Coach at TDHS from 1992-96, and served as Defensive Coordinator under the powerful 80's teams at Downey. He also coaches girls' basketball & Track. On campus, he is a special education teacher. He and his wife Sue have two children- Anthony & Lauren.

Chris Cloward  Quarterbacks 

Coach Cloward has been coaching at TDHS since 2014. Prior to that he was the Head Coach at Davis High School from 2011-13, and has been coaching high school football locally since 2000. He was a three-sport athlete at Calaveras High School. He received his Bachelors' Degree from Chico State in Humanities/Health. He and his wife Ellen have a daughter-Avery, and a son-Flynn.

Casey Carver    ​  Offensive Line Coach Carver has been coaching at TDHS since 2014. He is an alum of TDHS, graduating in 2006. He went on to play football at Modesto JC in 2007 & 2008 and earned a scholarship to Delta State University.

Anthony Castro      ​  Cornerbacks Coach Castro has been coaching at TDHS since 2014. He is an alum of TDHS, graduating in 1999. He played football at Modesto JC for two years and earned a scholarship to Northern State in South Dakota, where he earned his Bachelors' degree. He spent five years coaching Defensive Backs at Central Valley HS, and then three years at Modesto JC coaching Cornerbacks. On campus, Coach Castro teaches Special Education. He and his wife Valerie met while going to school at Downey.