• Patton football coach will focus on fundamentals

  • There’s a new football coach in town and he has new ideas for the Patton Junior High School program.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    There’s a new football coach in town and he has new ideas for the Patton Junior High School program.
    Dave Parrish, Patton seventh-grade head football coach and assistant director of transportation, maintenance and grounds for Unified School District 207, has coached high school football for the past 35 years, his most recent coaching job being two years with Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kan.
    “I dedicated my life to coaching football,” Parrish said. “I had a pretty good understanding of the game as a player. Then, I ran into some guys that were in the coaching profession and they asked me to come and help.”
    Keith Mispagel, superintendent of USD 207 schools, said Parrish’s experience contributed to the decision to hire him.
    “Dave brings successful experience of coaching football as well as a love of the game,” he said. “We look forward to this coming year.”
    Though Parrish’s main experience is in coaching at the high school level, he said it won’t change the basis of his coaching.
    “Football is football. You got to teach the fundamentals no matter what,” Parrish said. “This game all comes down to blocking and tackling. That’s what I pride myself in teaching. If we can block and tackle better than the people we play, we’re probably going to win. That’s the philosophy of the game.”
    Parrish said the military aspect was one of his biggest draws to the position.
    “This situation at Patton is so unique because the kids I will have on next year’s team, come Aug. 1, some of them will still be living in Texas, still be living in New York, still be living in Georgia,” he said.
    “Come Aug. 13, we’re going to try to put that all together. That’s almost like a college scenario. I just found that fascinating because I have no idea who my quarterback will be, who my center is going to be and I think that’s kind of interesting. It’s a unique situation and I think it could be something special.”
    Parrish said the feel of the season will center around respect.
    “I’m not a dictator, but we’re going to demand respect from the kids,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want it to be a first-class, first-rate program. I’m not saying we’re going to win every game, but when we step on the field, people are going to respect us. That’s what I want to see.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Parrish said the first-rate program initiative includes grades.
    “These athletes are students first,” he said. “They check eligibility weekly (and) we talk about that daily at practice. If you’re having a problem in a class, approach a teacher and say, ‘What can I do?’ Ask them. That’s what a teacher is there for.
    “When college coaches come around, that’s the first thing they ask in this day and age,” he said. “If you say he’s just average or below average, they’re going to go on.”
    Parrish said, to him, football is more than just a game.
    “The game of football is very common with life,” he said. “The ups and downs and the sudden changes that you have to approach as you’re going through life. It’s the good and bad and it’s very similar to life.”
    He said his favorite thing about coaching is seeing the development and the familial aspect.
    “I’ve had kids over the years that probably weren’t the best athletes in the world, but they became pretty good football players after being around for a while, and I would like to think that I taught them that. That’s the gratification for me,” he said.
    “The family approach is big in football as far as the team. We’re family. We go to battle together on game days.”
    Mispagel said his hopes for the team are the same each year.
    “My hope … is to foster a sense of competition, sportsmanship and team spirit,” he said. “In some instances, students in USD 207 have never had a chance to compete in formal sports teams due to their mobility. We always intend to provide a competitive football program for our students.”
    For any interested students, dates to note are as follows, Parrish said.
    Helmets will be fitted and uniforms sized Aug. 9 at Patton Junior High School. Time is to be determined.
    The first day of practice is at 3 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Patton practice field.
    A mandatory parents meeting is at 5 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Patton theater. The meeting will include a tackling demonstration, and T-shirt order forms will be distributed. Completed order forms are due Aug. 17.
    The first game is at 4 p.m. Sept. 5 against Mill Creek Middle School. Seventh grade will play at Mill Creek and eighth grade will play at the USD 207 Sports Complex on Normandy Field. Throughout the season, seventh and eighth grade will alternate away and home games.
    Parrish is putting together a club for the mothers of the players.
    Page 3 of 3 - “When I played, my mom was important to me,” he said. “She was always involved and very supportive.”
    The Mom’s Club is meant to be a support group for the team, providing sack lunches for away games and snacks for practice. Parrish will also offer an hour demo for the moms to learn about the football equipment and what each piece does. For interested parties or for more information, e-mail Parrish at dparrish@usd207.org.
    For necessary forms required to play, such as sports physical forms, and more information about the Patton Football program, visit https://patton. usd207.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=262505&type=d&pREC_ID=974559. All forms are due before the first practice.
    “I just want to thank Keith Mispagel and Ryan Wiebe (Patton principal) for making this opportunity possible for me,” Parrish said. “My big goal is to teach the game of football. If you teach it right, winning and losing takes care of itself.”
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