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Just look to the back of Heritage football’s shirts and one will find what this program is all about under new head coach Dave Fogelstrom.
“You will see the phrase ALL IN on the backs of our shirts,” Fogelstrom said. “We want our players to make a deep commitment to the program from the very start. That commitment is affirmed by players and coaches showing up to workouts and doing their part to become better.”
That commitment is seen in everything the Patriots are doing under their new leader, who took over for Don Sanders after he resigned following six seasons at the helm.
One of their core values is from former college football coach Urban Meyer, whose “4 to 6, A to B” mantra lives in everything Heritage does. Because the average duration of a play in football is around 4 to 6 seconds, he wants them to understand the importance of that timeframe and give maximum effort during those moments.
“We emphasize short bursts of full effort in our program,” Fogelstrom said. “Kids need to experience what it feels like to give everything for 4-6 seconds and become comfortable with the idea of being in momentary pain and then recovering to do it all over again. If kids give full effort and are fully committed, we have a great chance at being a good team.”
Updated 2020 football schedule – now happening in 2021! Let's all do our part to get us here! #GoPatriots #WeBleedBlue pic.twitter.com/P9EW92ej37— Heritage Athletics (@HeritagePats) July 31, 2020
Updated 2020 football schedule – now happening in 2021! Let's all do our part to get us here! #GoPatriots #WeBleedBlue pic.twitter.com/P9EW92ej37
And they are making sure those efforts pay dividends when the season does roll around, which now begins against Dublin on Jan. 8 with football being pushed back to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last couple of years featured some tough times for Patriots football by going a combined 3-17, but the Bay Valley Athletic League play has morphed into a premier league on the state level – featuring one of the winningest programs, Pittsburg, go for a Northern California title in 2017 and Liberty winning its first-ever state title in 2018 under then-head coach and now Ferris State assistant Ryan Partridge.
But Heritage has consistently been a winning program, and Fogelstrom knows that well. He was a coach for seven years there under Jeff Haagenson when the school first opened a little over a decade ago, a time when they averaged seven wins per season and won a North Coast Section playoff game at mighty Pittsburg.
Recently, Heritage did win playoff games in 2016 and 2017 – one of which was an incredible comeback win over San Leandro in the NCS quarterfinals in 2016 when the Patriots overcame a 32-0 deficit before falling to eventual champion Monte Vista, followed by a victory over Monte Vista one year later to open up the postseason.
Those two Patriot squads combined for a 15-9 overall record.
“One of the things that made those teams strong was a sense of commitment to the program,” Fogelstrom said of the teams when he was an assistant at Heritage. “Those kids worked hard for each other. We have to get back to that attitude of full commitment and effort. That’s why we use the phrase ALL IN in everything we do. Coaches have the Urban Meyer “426/A2B” phrase on the back of our shirts. Kids see it, they hear us talk about it and we have drills designed to reinforce that full effort.”
What Fogelstrom wants is to recruit more players to the team. With a plethora of one-sport athletes on campus, he hopes to instill what Heritage once did and add to their roster through some of those athletes.
The numbers have been impressive already, though. Varsity and JV combined had 90-plus players, and they are instituting some changes to usher in this new era of Patriots football.
“I really wanted to make a statement that things were different,” Fogelstrom said. “We are changing the varsity uniforms and helmet color, the weight room now has strength club boards and we incentivized it with t-shirts for accomplishments. And we are trying to do all the right things to give our players a chance at success.”
So far, everything is going according to plan and then some. The numbers are high, players are buying in and the community has backed the newest installment of Heritage football.
They are all in.
“We want our players to fully commit to the program, give us everything they have and trust the process,” Fogelstrom said. “We never talk about wins and losses, but we talk constantly about doing the right things that lead to wins. We want steady improvement from our players over time. Let’s end better than we started and give everything we can to do that. You can paraphrase John Wooden’s definition of success by simply saying it is the peace of mind knowing you did everything you can to improve.”
Let’s go! #AllIn #HeritageFootball
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