DeKALB – Quarterback Jack Sauter and his teammates on the DeKalb football team didn’t know who their head coach would be in late May, shortly after Marty Sanders stepped down from the position.
What the junior did know is that he didn’t want his team to interrupt its normal schedule at an important time of the offseason. So Sauter, a perceived front-runner to take over for graduated quarterback Brian Sisler, took to his phone and to Facebook to gather his teammates for seven-on-seven drills at the high school’s stadium the weekend after Sanders’ resignation.
“Most of the stuff that’s going on, we have no control over. It’s up to the administration,” Sauter said.
“I think the most important part is to keep everyone focused and make them realize that the only thing that we have control over is how hard we work, how much time we put in, and our commitment level.”
It’s been a hectic month for the DeKalb football program. Some players said they were blindsided by Sanders’ resignation, and there were questions as to what their offseason would entail.
“We never really knew why our coach quit and we didn’t know who our coach was going to be,” junior Drew Paszotta said. “We tried to get here and work as hard as we could so that when we did get that figured out, we could start up.”
Within a few weeks, assistant coach Todd Hallaron was named the interim head coach, and he decided to continue with Sanders’ schedule for the offseason. The District 428 School Board, which is scheduled to meet Tuesday night for a regular meeting, is set to consider personnel action items at that meeting. On that list is appointing Hallaron as head football coach along with Chris Davenport as head girls varsity basketball coach.
“With the end of school, and with final exams, it’s a very difficult time to gather everyone together,” Hallaron said. “The kids really stepped forward and stepped up.
Order should be restored, somewhat, if Hallaron is accepted as the next head coach. Senior Joe Diedrich, one of three returning players on the offensive line, is confident that the veteran players, along with newcomers like Sauter, will take the adjustment in stride.
“We’ve got a lot of returners for the offense coming back,” Diedrich said. “I’m very confident in our returning starters.”
Though he’s waiting to divulge his detailed plans as head coach until he’s approved by the board, Hallaron said there would be systematic changes both offensively and defensively if he is approved.
With questions surrounding the DeKalb football program, he’s ready to get started.
“There are a lot of people holding their breath, waiting for what the next turn will bring,” Hallaron said. “I think everybody’s just excited to get the season started, but we’re kind of waiting for it to start. We’re at the starting line and we’re eager to hear the word ‘go.’ ”