Sideline Spotlight

Scott Ashby – TPHS varsity football

The lights are bright, the Cardinal Chaos fills the stands and the football players rush out of the tunnel with sheer adrenaline and determination. The entire school waits for these moments all year. Win or lose, the Friday Night Lights atmosphere is unmatched. 

At the center of this is Varsity Head Coach Scott Ashby, a TPHS football coach of 30 years. After retiring from the position in 2014, he served as varsity head coach this season with the absence of Robby Collins. Ashby declined to comment further on why he filled the position.

This fall, Scott led the team to a 7-3 record, giving TPHS the number one seed in the CIF Division I playoff. But not only that, he also won the Los Angeles Chargers Coach of the Week award, an honor given to three high school coaches each week in Southern California during the high school football season [story on A20].

“It’s a great honor for TPHS, as well as myself,” Scott said. 

With the award, the Chargers donated $1,000 to TPHS, which will go toward the football program.

Scott’s coaching runs in the family, as his son, father and uncle have all coached football. 

“I always knew that I wanted to coach and teach,” Scott said. 

In fact, Scott’s son, Varsity Offensive Line Coach Jake Ashby, played for his father as a Falcon.

“The award highlights [Scott’s] 30-plus years of hard work and dedication to the TPHS community,” Jake said. “Outside of his recognition, it continues to place TPHS in the spotlight as the number one public school for athletics in the state of California.” 

According to Jake, part of that hard work and dedication includes Scott’s ability to make connections on campus that “foster a school culture.” 

John Prior (11), a defensive back who was awarded the honor of being named to the Avocado League second team defense, agreed with Jake’s sentiment. According to Prior, no coach in California “puts in as much work into preparation as [Scott] does.” 

Prior said that whenever he came to school before sunrise, the only car in the parking lot would be Scott’s — a testament to his dedication.

“Without a doubt, Coach Ashby is a worthy recipient,” John said.

Scott’s role on the team this year has also inspired Will Shreckengaust (11), who plays defensive lineman and was also awarded second team defense honors.

“Coach Ashby winning coach of the week is amazing for the program and him,” Shreckengaust said. “Winning a big award like that goes to show why he’s an exceptional coach.”

Ryland Wickman – TPHS girls varsity flag football

As he led the first-ever CIF girls flag football team at TPHS to a league victory, Ryland Wickman — TPHS special education teacher, girls varsity softball coach and former boys football coach — added yet another achievement to this season: a nomination for the Los Angeles Chargers’ Flag Football Coach of the Year. 

Prior to being named head coach of the girls flag football team, a new offering that attracted nearly 100 girls to try-outs, Wickman coached football for nearly 13 years at both La Costa Canyon High School and TPHS, as well as girls softball for 12 years at TPHS. 

Off the field, he has taught as an education specialist in the TPHS special education department for 16 years. 

“When girls flag football started up and I got offered the job, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it,” Wickman, a former professional football player, said. “But looking back, I really couldn’t be more stoked that I took the job — it’s been amazing.” 

One of Wickman’s favorite moments from the season was when the team won in their league, beating the LCC Mavericks in overtime on Oct. 26 and subsequently finishing the season with a 16-1 record [story on A20].

“It’s always good to beat our rivals,” Wickman said. “But what was incredible was that the girls were reading and seeing things on the field that they hadn’t before, telling me things and scouting themselves.”

Zoe Lau (12), a starter on the team, reflected on how Wickman’s dedication and commitment helped the team reach their league success. 

“Wickman is the most dedicated, tireless and focused coach I have ever played under,” Lau said. “He would drive for hours to scout the teams we would play, and his passion was evident. [He] pushed us as athletes to play not only for ourselves, but for him.”

Alina Hsu (12), another starter on the team, agreed.

“He was extremely enthusiastic and created a great atmosphere for us to play in,” Hsu said. “He was always willing to learn with us, and he really made sure to show his love for football and coaching.”

Wickman will continue to coach the TPHS girls flag football team for the 2024-2025 season.

“Watching the girls learn football was awesome,” Wickman said. “I’m super excited for the team, and I think I found something that I’ll continue to do until I retire.” 

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