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Heritage football preview: New coach has history of turning programs into winners

Timberwolves look to little things to build success

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 3, 2019, 4:19pm

Early in his head-coaching career, Dennis Moody took a California school that won four football games in six seasons and turned it into a back-to-back sectional champion and state qualifier by Year 2.

That’s when he learned things can quickly turn for the better.

“It can be done,” he said.

Moody, Heritage’s new head coach, isn’t predicting a whirlwind turnaround in one season for the Timberwolves, but think small to start, he said, and the turnaround will come.

“It’s the little things,” the coach said. “It takes time to create a whole new way of how you’re doing things and that’s what it takes here.”

This is Moody’s second season at Heritage after coaching the defensive line in 2018. Back now as a head coach, he’s implementing his system that goes back to before the season began. Heritage’s off-season work included attracting 35 freshmen — a high number for the program — and stretching out its 20 allowed spring-ball practices over five weeks to install new offensive and defensive schemes.

High school sports fall tab 2019

This article is part of The Columbian's High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online.

Change happened almost overnight, said seniors Cade Gardner and Skylar Scoggins.

The seniors know their class may not reap the benefits as much as future teams, but Gardner and Scoggins want to be the first to pave the way.

“This is so mind-blowing to me,” said Scoggins, an all-league linebacker. “I’m not used to this … I’m really excited for it and for the future of Heritage.”

Gardner and others have embraced the incoming freshmen, and sold them how change is happening for the better.

And it starts with the small things.

“I’ve always felt reaching out to the younger kids is definitely the big part,” said Gardner, a two-way linemen. Getting that bond and getting everyone closer will help us in general and on the field.”

3 things to know

— Head coach Dennis Moody spent last season as Heritage’s defensive line coach.

— QB Nikki Scott returns after season-ending knee injury last September.

— Coaching staff features three ex-head coaches (Mark Hasart, Mark Greenleaf, Will Ephraim)