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David Rach embracing smooth transition with South Range

“Continuity” is often one of a coach’s favorite words.

Maintaining continuity is exactly what David Rach was looking to do when he took over the program at South Range for longtime coach Dan Yeagley earlier this year.

After nearly three decades of success, the Yeagley era ended in a state title.

Now, the Rach era begins. But other than that change at the top, things are going to look very similar for the Raiders this season. With a completely familiar staff returning, Friday nights in Beaver Township aren’t going to be as different as you’d expect.

“The truth is, the transition has been really, I don’t want to say boring, but it’s been really, really smooth just because of those guys,” Rach said. “…I think part of (the transition), that maybe people don’t think about a lot, is with the kids. A different head coach is one thing but when you consider that we have 60 kids or however many guys on the roster, that have the same position coach as they had last year and the year before that. It’s really the same staff, minus Coach Yeagley, but it’s the same staff they’ve grown up watching and communicating with.

“When they come to youth camps, we’re the same guys that they’ve seen there for, however many years they’ve been around, so that’s probably been the easiest part. The kids have been the biggest asset I have certainly. The kids and the coaches and just the way they interact with one another.”

Arguably the biggest adjustment Rach has had to make in his new role is all the extra stuff the head coach has to worry about. Everything beyond the X’s and O’s that a head coach deals with is something that Rach has had to adjust. From the extra phone calls to ordering equipment and all other kind of stuff for the team.

“You don’t realize what all is involved with it until you’re the one having to do it,” Rach said.

Luckily for the Raiders’ former defensive coordinator, on the rare occasion some part of this transition doesn’t go smoothly, his predecessor is always close by with a listening ear. There hasn’t been a sense of pressure on Rach because Yeagley has been such a help throughout the process.

“It’s humbling that I had the support once Coach Yeagley was done and I feel really lucky to have been able to learn from him for so long as a player and as a coach,” Rach said. “I don’t really feel a lot of pressure about it, because I feel like I’ve had a great teacher and I still talk to him a lot. There’s still a lot of things that I have to ask him about, ‘How would you handle this’ or ‘What would you do here?’ and he’s a great friend of mine and he’s obviously been a great mentor. He’s happy to take my phone calls, no matter how many there are and no matter what time of day it is. That’s obviously helpful, and makes me feel a bit better.”

As for the on-field continuity, Rach didn’t go into too many specifics, but noted the offensive and defensive fronts are going to be pretty experienced as well as a complete return of the running back room.

“We have a pretty good idea of what’s going on and who’s going to be doing what (this season). Obviously a lot of that can change over the next month or two months in terms of shuffling guys around and stuff, but I think we’ll be pretty, pretty old upfront,” Rach said. “And we’re going to be really junior heavy with this roster anyways. Our junior class is really good, our senior class is good but there’s just not a lot of them. I think we’ll be alright moving forward.

“It’s going to take us some time, obviously. I feel the same way every July and every August where you’re not quite sure, so you move around and just see how things come together.”

South Range opens its season on August 18 with a road contest against rival Springfield.

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