CLINTONVILLE — A new era of AuSable Valley football is set to begin.
Kyle Nolan was named the 12th head coach in program history by the school’s Board of Education in March.
He played for the Patriots from 2000 to 2002 and spent the last few years overseeing the JV program.
“It’s what I’ve been trying to get my whole life,” Nolan said. “I wanted to coach as soon as I got done playing (with the Plattsburgh North) Stars, and coach (Ed McCallister) got me into it. Once I started to do it, I loved it and just knew I wanted to advance. I finally got the job.
“Like I said, it’s a dream come true, so I’m excited.”
Nolan takes over a 2-7 team that posted a runner-up finish in Section VII’s Class C.
Among AuSable Valley’s returning players include 1,000-yard passer Evan Snow and Luis Perez, who finished second in Section VII receiving with 737 yards.
However, the team lost 12 players to graduation.
“I think we’re young,” Nolan said. “We definitely have some growing pains that we’re probably gonna have to go through. We are a very fast team; we have a lot of speed.
“I think they just really understand football pretty well. They’re good athletes, and they’ve been in the same system now for a couple years, so they got it down pat. I think that we’re just gonna start with baby steps and try to advance a little bit more as the season goes on.”
Nolan said Snow will continue quarterbacking responsibilities after earning that right last year, and Perez, Carter Matzel and Eli Douglas are expected to be primary targets.
The first-year coach said multiple backs could get touches, including sophomore Nate Doner and junior Kyle Bradley.
Doner led the aforementioned duo with 32 carries for 86 yards last year.
Nolan said the offensive line has a mixture of size and speed but only one returning starter.
“I think we have one returning starter, which is Joey Lloyd, who is a senior this year,” he said. “The rest is a brand new squad … the guys that got moved up from JV. We’re young on the offensive line. That’s for sure.
“They’ve all put in a lot of hard work. They work as one unit, and they’re aggressive. They’re young, and they’re hungry. They want to play, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Nolan will be calling the shots on offense.
“I would say it’s gonna be a balanced attack,” Nolan said. “The game plans are gonna change from week to week, depending on the team and the defense. We’ll go from there.”
Nolan, who is designating the defense to assistant coach Danny Zborowski, said Doner and Mason Dubay — both linebackers — will anchor the defense.
Grady Tender, Austin Dukett and Noah Prentiss could see time on the defensive line.
Perez returns to the secondary, where he recorded five interceptions last year, and will be accompanied by Douglas.
The Patriots will be vying for their first sectional championship since 2015, when they captured their first postseason title since 2006.
“I think that’s every team’s goal is to win their class and then go on from that point, so that’s what we’re striving for in the preseason,” Nolan said. “Hopefully, we achieve it.”
Nolan’s tenure with AuSable Valley will begin against Beekmantown, the defending Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and Section VII Class B champions.
“Beekmantown’s always a big, physical team,” Nolan said. “That’s for sure. It will definitely be a good test for us to see where we’re at.”
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