A new era of Heritage High School football has kicked off.
The Patriots named Dave Fogelstrom as the school’s head football coach. He replaces Don Sanders, who resigned following the 2019 season.
Fogelstrom saw the opportunity to guide the Heritage program as another chance to fulfill the goal that he had in 1992 when he started teaching at Antioch – to make a difference in the lives of students and athletes.
“I came to Heritage when it opened to help build the culture of a new school and make it a great place of growth for young people,” Fogelstrom said. “Taking the football job is just an extension of what I have been trying to do my whole career. It’s exciting to build something, plus a ton of work.”
The job ahead of Fogelstrom is certainly not an easy one. The Patriots have generally fielded strong football teams since the school’s inception. The more recent past, though, has brought more of a struggle. In 2019, the Patriots went 2-8 overall and 1-4 in Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) play. The year before, they were 1-9 overall and 0-5 against BVAL opponents.
Fogelstrom noted that high school football is often fairly cyclical. In order to get Heritage on a good part of the cycle, the job of the coaching staff will be to ensure that the best athletes on campus remain with the Patriots.
“With so many kids looking to transfer to wherever they think things will be better, I believe that my coaches and I have to recruit this campus as hard as possible,” he said. “The players also have to help sell the program and get everyone we can out on this team. If we can get the athletes on campus out, we can start to see things improve.”
Of course, some of the struggles over the last two seasons can be owed to a strong league. The BVAL has emerged as a powerhouse in recent seasons. For Heritage to be more competitive, Fogelstrom stated that being in the weight room is essential.
“Our kids know what they have to do (to) be competitive,” the coach said. “The absolute necessity of the weight room has been the primary focus so far. We now have five potential sessions a week. Those doors are open. It’s my job to text them, call them, and remind them of this, daily.”
With the beginning of football season being months away, only time will tell what will materialize on the field, but the early returns are promising.
“I love the energy I am seeing from these guys right now,” Fogelstrom said. “We had 107 guys come to our first meeting, and right now we have 155 kids on the potential roster. The morning weight room sessions have been packed. It’s amazing to see guys show up in the dark to start training before school. It’s encouraging, and the kids are pushing each other to work hard.”