Sandy Valley hires football coach

By Todd Reed Press-News Sports Editor Published:

One man has emerged from 40 applicants, 14 interviews and five re-interviews.

Taking over Sandy Valley's football program is Dover graduate Zach Gardner.

Gardner replaces John Groff, who led the Cardinals for five years before retiring this winter. Sandy Valley was 4-6 in 2012.

Gardner graduated from Dover in 2001, lettering three years under Coach Dan Ifft. He graduated from Kent State University in 2006 with a social studies degree.

He has coached at Indian Valley for eight seasons, serving as defensive coordinator the last three years.

As the defensive coordinator, Gardner helped lead the Braves to three winning seasons, and back-to-back playoff appearances in 2011-2012.

"When the job opened up, I saw an excellent opportunity to build a program and Sandy Valley, to get things turned around," noted Gardner. "This is sort of the same situation I encountered at Indian Valley. I know we can turn things around here and get to the playoffs.

Gardner has not decided on what kind of offense he will run.

"I need to look at some film, evaluate our personnel, and get with the assistants and map out our offense in the next few weeks. We will put our kids in the best possible position to win.

"Defensively, I like the read 3-5. But defense is defense. You have to be able to tackle, have good pursuit angles, and have the proper attitude and effort to make plays."

Gardner will meet with the team today (Feb. 21).

"The tools are here to turn this program around - and we will turn it around. The support of the administration has been great. We need to get in the weight room, get everyone on the same page, and make Friday nights at Sandy Valley the place to be."

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.