North Stafford 2018 (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
South Lakes and North Stafford have new head coaches
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
Just a week after his hiring, new South Lakes coach Jason Hescock feels like a kid at Christmas time
“I’m excited and ready to go,” said Hescock, who earned his first head coaching job with the Reston school after spending the past seven years as the defensive coordinator at West Potomac. ”We have a brand-new offensive staff, and a new scheme package that we are almost ready to put out for the kids. It’s like getting ready to unwrap a bunch of packages from under the tree.”
There are many other reasons for the new coach’s optimism. At South Lakes, he will take over one of the region’s most successful teams of the past four years, and one that has gone 20-5 over the past two seasons while allowing just a shade over 12 points per game.
For the 36-year-old Hescock, his new position is a defensive coach’s dream. Ironically, it was the Seahawk offense, in its first year without star running backs Spencer Alston and Albert Mensah, that saw its production drop in 2018, but the corps still averaged 30 points per game.
But for now, there is still a waiting game for the new head whistle. Hescock is still the assistant doctor of activities at West Potomac, and as the school’s game manager, is still required to spend many evenings at the Alexandria school, overseeing basketball contests and other nightly events. On the free days, he leaves West Potomac after school to face the 45-minute commute to Reston.
“Fortunately, my wife just started a job in Chantilly,” added Hescock, and the family may relocate from their current home in the Kingstowne region of Alexandria.
It’s not an unfamiliar feeling for Hescock, who took a circuitous route to Reston. After playing for Canisius College for two years, he transferred to Southern Connecticut State and began his coaching career as a student assistant. After graduating from SCS with a bachelor of science degree in exercise science, Hescock turned his sights toward the education arena, and moved on to the University of Delaware, where he earned an M. Ed. In high education administration in 2009.
An internship with the Athletic Development office parlayed into a coaching job with the Blue Hens after his graduation as Hescock oversaw the outside linebackers during the 2009-2010 school year.
“I loved the college game, but I decided to learn the high school game,” said Hescock, who started as an autism/special education teacher in 2010, but transitioned to Physical Education in 2012, which was just about the same time he ascended to the defensive coordinator position for the Wolverines.
Hescock brings a variety of talents to his new position. Along with his work as a teacher, he is also a certified personal trainer. And his college coaching career has given Hescock experience in recruiting, although he won’t need a plane or train to get kids on the Seahawks.
“I plan on being out there in the hallways, finding kids.” He said, adding that three “offensive linemen sized students” had sought him out recently as Hescock oversaw the weight room at South Lakes.
In fact, if a Seahawk student wants to find the new football coach, the weight room will be a good place to start. “I call it the dojo for the weak,” said Hescock, who also worked as the West Potomac strength coach. “I love to create a culture of competition and to teach kids how to be successful at something they may not have done before.”
South Lakes will retain a wealth of talent from last season’s 9-3 squad. Marcus Miles will be back at quarterback, while top receiver Joseph Dagbe and tight end Noah Seneca return for their senior seasons. On the line, rising junior Gabriel Gibson (6-0, 205) will return to “create havoc” and James Earl will plug back into his outside linebacker spot.
Hescock has no big changes for the defense, since he already knows how it was put together.
I worked with Coach Murray (SL defensive coordinator) at West Potomac. He’s a very intelligent guy and I learned a lot from him. He is great at game planning and putting guys in the right places. We’re going to let them fly around, but we’re going to keep it simple.”
In the long run, simplicity will be key.
“A lot of successful teams keep it simple. They just execute better than other teams. On offense, we’ll open up the playbook, but we’ll keep running. We have to believe that the other team could know what play we are going to do next, but because we do it so well, they can’t stop it.”
For now, Hescock holds nothing back when he says, “I’m excited and ready to go.” And after “years of waiting my turn” for a head coaching job, he will manage to hold on for a few more months until he can get to Reston every day.
Sullivan Tapped as New North Stafford Coach
North Stafford did not have to look far to find their replacement for Joe Mangano, who resigned as the team’s football coach earlier this year.
Wolverine defensive coordinator Neil Sullivan was approved by the Stafford County school board on Tuesday night and will assume the reins of the North Stafford program immediately.
Sullivan, 30, who currently teaches English at North Stafford told the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star “I knew it was a dream position. A really good fit.”
The new coach played his college ball at Randolph-Macon and started his coaching career with a six-year run at Madison, in Vienna, before accepting a coaching position with North Stafford before the 2016 season.
– Jim McGrath