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Elsie Allen High School salvages football season, will start play next month

It seemed, just briefly, that the Elsie Allen football program had finally achieved some stability.

Derek Hester served as head coach last season after a year as defensive coordinator and a season leading the junior varsity squad before that. He knew the kids and the school.

He even led the Lobos to their first victory in four years - a 26-9 triumph over St. Vincent de Paul, the program's first win since November 2013.

But during the last school year, he decided his own young children needed to come first and he resigned.

The program was left without a head coach once again. The school also has changed principals and athletic directors.

With time shortening before this season, it appeared the Lobos might have to scrap their football program entirely.

Enter Dallas Packard.

“We do have a football season. We do have a coach,” said new athletic director Nathan Good.

Packard is the brother of an Elsie Allen teacher and a former El Molino assistant coach.

So the 2018 season will go on, though with a late start.

The Lobos' first game, which had been scheduled to take place Friday against Cloverdale, had to be nixed. Actually, the whole non-league season had to be scrapped.

Elsie will open its season hosting North Bay League-Redwood rival Montgomery on Sept. 28.

Good hopes for more stability with Packard.

“He knows football inside and out. He is not only knowledgeable, but he has great energy,” Good said. “One of the things we place a lot of importance on is morale and never getting down on yourself if you lose a game.”

Since November 2014 until Hester's tenure, Elsie Allen had seven coaches come and go - including one who came and went so fast hardly anyone remembers his name.

Packard is No. 9. Maybe No. 10, depending on how you count. Another coach was hired briefly this summer but backed out for a better-paying coaching job at another school at which he would also be teaching, Good said.

Elsie and Packard will have their work cut out for them again, with a small roster of only about 20 kids so far. But Good said another 10 or so may sign up and be cleared soon.

“We had talked about, what do we do now? Do we make the team JV or go full varsity? We don't have enough for both,” Good said. “But as it stands, the program consists of one varsity team.

“They will be prepared to play.”

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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