Jerry Sarchet, the Avalon athletic director and head football coach who engineered a miraculous turnaround last season, is leaving the Gaithersburg private school.
Sarchet has accepted a position as head football coach at Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Va.
Sarchet, who spent four years at Avalon—including two years as the varsity head coach—said the move was a “family decision” made with counsel from his wife who recently gave birth to a child.
“It was an extremely tough decision for both of us,” said Sarchet, “because of how much we loved the school.”
During the 2010 campaign, Sarchet guided the Avalon football program to its most successful season in school history. The Black Knights finished 8-3 and won the Capital Area Football Conference championship game one year after a 2-8 finish.
The Black Knights offense was led by freshman quarterback Wyatt Karem and sophomore running back Rachid Ibrahim who finished the season among the area’s leading rushers.
Ibrahim, who rushed for over 1,800 yards and scored 27 touchdowns last year, was named the CAFC Offensive Player of the Year. He was also named to the CAFC first team defensive unit.
In October, Ibrahim broke the state record for most points scored in a game with 50 points amassed in Avalon’s 64-55 victory over the Model School for the Deaf. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound speedster rushed for 298 yards on 29 carries including six touchdowns. He also scored on a 67-yard touchdown reception and returned an interception 92 yards for a score and had a two-point conversion.
“Rachid had a heck of a game,” Sarchet recalled. “I was more concerned about the defense because we gave up 55 points.”
Ibrahim, who transferred to Avalon from Richard Montgomery, has already drawn recruiting interest from Division I college programs such as Boston College, Pittsburgh, UNLV and Kansas State.
“He’s one of the top players I’ve ever coached,” said Sarchet. “He’s a special kid and a great teammate. I think the world of him. I think he’s a better young man than a football player.”
Sarchet said he will also miss the relationships he forged with players such as rising seniors David Collins, Nick Herndon and Stephen Dowling.
“That senior class is special to me,” he said, “just because when I became head coach they were all freshmen.”
Sarchet, an Olney resident and Army veteran, joins a football program that finished 9-2 last season.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I can’t say enough good things about John Paul the Great,” he said. “They’re a school is something I admire. I’m humbled to have an opportunity to be their next head football coach. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”