Valor Christian’s new football coach offered some interesting team bonding this summer.
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Brett McGatlin, who came over from Chatfield High School, took his squad to his father’s ranch. His dad is veteran high-school coach Don McGatlin, who won two state titles in football and three more as a track coach at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood.
The elder McGatlin will help a couple of days a week.
“He (his dad) has to be a part of football. Or he’ll die,” Brett McGatlin said. “He has to be involved in it. He loves it. I’m glad our kids got to experience that.
Seven players who saw significant playing time last year graduated. Running back Gabe Sawchuk gained almost 800 rushing yards last season and scored 12 touchdowns. Defensive back/wide receiver Trey Stott amassed 63 total tackles, including 19 unassisted efforts.
Valor Christian’s football team came up a win shy of a state football title a year ago
“We’re not too worried,” said two-way player Roman Bradley. “The past is in the past. We have a new coaching staff, and we have a lot of young guys stepping up. We’re kind of focusing on Aug. 26 (the season-opener and the home opener) against Regis Jesuit).”
Stott said his team doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the proverbial “target on the back” approach of some teams.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a target,” he said. “Even if it were to feel like that, you put it behind you. You play the game because you love it, not because people don’t like you.”
The Eagles will be playing out of state this fall against someone.
“Colorado is an underrated state for football. To bring that exposure to the state and to show the talent Colorado has is important,” said lineman Tanner Morley.
“It was difficult to leave a place I called home,” Brett McGatlin said. “These guys have been really good to me. We’ve bonded and become close. It’s been fun. I’ve grown a lot these last fourth months. These guys have been pretty awesome welcoming me in.”
“it’s been a great change for us,” said lineman Brody Bliek. “We have one of the best coaching staffs in the state, combined with their resumes and what they’ve done. It feels like family. The tempo of our team is going to be different.”
McGatlin said he’s been familiar with the Eagles’ program for a long time. He attended church across the street for 10 years.
“I always saw Valor over there,” he said. “It’s a cool place where I get to be a coach. I got to be a teacher for 22 years. But coaching, to me, is an art form. They allow me to coach 365 days a year.”
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