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John L. Braese
NYSSA – JoJo Sanchez knows the football field of Nyssa High School very well. He has heard the cannon go off after a score and knows where the field dips towards the sidelines. Sanchez returns to the field this fall, but this time as the newly named head coach of the Bulldogs.
“Coaching at Nyssa is just something I always wanted to do,” said Sanchez.
It was just the football season of 2019 that Sanchez was on the field, not with a whistle and clipboard but in a Dawg uniform. After graduation, the four-year varsity starter and three-time all-conference defensive player took his talents to Idaho State University to play for the Bengals.
Returning home after three years, Sanchez is continuing his education with a goal of teaching physical education and health. While attending school, he is also doing autobody work.
“I want the players to enjoy football and have fun,” Sanchez said of the upcoming year. “I want to show these kids hard work does pay off and treat them like adults.”
Sanchez, in addition to head coaching duties, will call the defensive plays. Although still early in the summer, the new coach stated 25 players are showing up on a consistent basis for workouts.
Sanchez inherits a team that finished 3-5 last season with one of those wins coming against league opponent McLoughlin. Although the 3A Special District 4 sees the loss of Ontario (the Tigers are back in the 4A ranks this fall), Umatilla returns to the 3A ranks after a few years playing 9-man 2A ball.
Sanchez and the Bulldogs open the season on Friday, Sept. 1 with a road game in New Plymouth to meet up with the Idaho Pilgrims.
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