Returning for his 13th season at the helm, Gaithersburg High School head varsity football coach Kreg Kephart has seen it all. After a season in which "home" games were played at Richard Montgomery and Clarksburg high schools due to ongoing renovations at Gaithersburg, the Trojans return home in 2012 with a new turf field and eyes on a return to the postseason.
Gaithersburg Patch: You're coming off a 5-5 season that included a playoff berth. What are some successes from last season you look to build on and what are some areas of concern you feel your team needs to address?
Coach Kreg Kephart: Build on positive attitude and experience gained by underclassmen from last year. We ended up with five junior varsity kids starting on varsity by the end of the year last year. We need our youth to mature very quickly. We have some talented athletes at key positions that lack varsity experieince.
Patch: Last season featured a four-game winning streak to open the season immediately followed by a five-game losing streak, nearly keeping Gaithersburg out of the postseason. How do you handle the ups and downs of these streaks, both positively and negatively? What do you think your returning players learned about facing adversity during the tough stretch?
Kephart: Two of those games we gave away in the final minute. We beat ourselves. I believe [our returning players] gained a great deal of confidence and learned the importance of perseverence when all others doubt you.
Patch: Who are some key players to watch this season? What players did you lose and need to fill a void in the lineup? Who do you see stepping up in those roles?
Kephart: Returning: Solomon Vault (RB/DB), Ben Rockwood (OL/DL), Joey Kaisler (OL/DL) David Hayes (LB) Departed: Billy Brown (WR/DE), Simba Gwashavanhu(WR/DB), Lincon Reyes (QB). Quarterback is yet to be determined and wide receiver is a mix of returning veterans and juniors from last year's JV.
Patch: . What are your thoughts on the upgrade? What's been the reaction of your players to the new facility and will there be any adjustment time to get used to playing home games on Saturday afternoons instead of Friday nights?
Kephart: We won't have to paint the field. The players absolutely love it and are thrilled to have a home again. All home games in 2012 will be Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Old school.
Patch: What are your expectations and team goals for the 2012 season?
Kephart: We have the potential to make a run at the playoffs and if we can accomplish that, then it's a four-game season as long as you keep winning. We must mature and develop. Then again, according to some so-called "experts," we'll be lucky to win two or three games.
Check out the to vote Gaithersburg's season opener against Richard Montgomery.