Cavaliers focus on future

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If Augusta Prep's middle school football program struggles during its first few years of existence, don't expect Harry Bacheller to enact many radical changes.

The Cavaliers' first football coach wants to ensure his players have a grasp on the multiple offenses he plans to employ. He expects it to take two or three years for his players to become comfortable with the schemes.

The result might be a middle school team that struggles at times, but Bacheller expects his players will have a grasp on the system by the time they reach high school.

That's Bacheller's blueprint for building Augusta Prep's program from scratch.

His history of building programs is why athletic director Tom Holodak hired him.

"You want to build some momentum with the program," Bacheller said. "And you have to do it the right way."

Bacheller was in town Wednesday to meet with Holodak and sign his contract. He probably won't start until spring practice next May.

Until then, he'll burn up the interstate between here and Atlanta -- where he serves as an assistant football coach at St. Pius High School -- to meet with Holodak and get as much face time as possible in his new community.

On Wednesday, that meant taking in a local youth baseball game.

Holodak said future outings could include a barbecue meet-and-greet for Augusta Prep parents.

"There might be some people on the fence, and then once they meet the coach, say 'Hey, he's great,' " Holodak said.

Bacheller expects to have a staff of four coaches when his team takes the field next fall.

Cavaliers tennis coach Chris Dickson, who has been running football clinics at the school this fall, will probably join Bacheller's staff. And Bacheller said he'd like to bring in one of his fellow coaches from St. Pius.

Once in place, the staff will have a few months to implement Bacheller's two offenses -- the option-based veer and the Delaware, a variation of the Wing-T.

"The advantage is the (opposing) team has one week to prepare," Bacheller said. "They have to pick their poison. If they stop one package, we go in at halftime and come out with the other one."

Bacheller said he also might introduce the spread, which utilizes multiple wide receiver sets.

His defense might be a little easier for his players to pick up.

"We'd like to find 11 kids who know how to line up properly and recognize the other team's formation and have all 11 come to the ball in a bad mood," he said.

Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165, ext. 116, or stephen.fastenau@augustachronicle.com.

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