Cathedral Head Coach Vincent Jefferson has been on their coaching staff for 13 years (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

After being interim head coach for most of the 2023 season, Vincent Jefferson will be taking the helm of the Cathedral Phantoms football team for the 2024 season. Jefferson has not only been on the coaching staff for 13 years, but he also taught at the school for 10 years.

“I teach cultural diversity to the freshmen, criminal justice to the seniors,” Jefferson said. “The one I love the most is diversity because I’m able to help these guys look at someone’s inside instead of their outside and make a decision.”

When he started coaching, his main priority was to get wins and losses on the field. Currently, Jefferson aims to preen his players to be “winners in life.”

“I want to give young men the opportunity to get into heaven, that’s a bigger level,” Jefferson said. “The way that I do that is teaching integrity, teaching character, making sure they’re doing things properly, classroom, at home.”

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Every week, he checks the grades for every player and benches players who do not have good grades.

Jefferson talks to his players one-on-one, and the players feel comfortable speaking with him about issues outside of football.

“Having good grades and being a good football player, it’s a good feeling,” said junior Malachi Kindle. “It’s way better than playing football, grades is really important.”

Some players on the team have been under the tutelage of Jefferson for several years. Junior Antonio Walton has been coached by Jefferson since the age of seven.

“My biggest improvement is blocking everybody out and leadership,” Walton said. “My proudest moment was probably coming to Cathedral.”

The Phantoms were banned from the playoffs last season, so they brought their playoff mindset into in-season games.

“We came together a lot more through adversity since not everybody got to play,” said junior Dominic Johnson.

For junior Zyaire Moore, Jefferson helped him regulate his emotions while Cathedral aided him academically.

“School-wise, everything has changed, my GPA, everything,” Moore said. “When my emotions took over, he showed me the tough route … and then I really sat and fixed my emotions and then everything changed.”

Sophomore Troy Taavao, who won a national championship with the L.A. Rampage 13U team, has the best GPA on the team. He improved his ability to handle adversity last season.

“Finding out that we didn’t make the playoffs last year, it was heartbreaking,” Taavao said. “It showed who was going to be a real man and all the dudes that was on the field, we was all real men out there.”

Phantoms junior Atticus Park plays to honor the legacy of his late grandfather who also played football for Cathedral.

“[Jefferson is] my first football coach and I think he has had a big impact on my playing years,” Park said. “He’s definitely been there for me, especially for my family with my grandma and grandpa passing.”

Sophomore Roger Alvarado mentioned how his mindset improved while competing with the JV squad last season. He enjoys how the school atmosphere is not distracting.

“It’s a small school and you focus on what you need to focus on and block out all the school drama,” Alvarado said.

The Phantoms finished their season with a 4-6 overall record and a 2-3 Angelus League record.