A familiar name has returned to Ohio Heritage Conference football. But instead of continuing a successful run at Triad, Payton Printz will be hoping to do the same at Southeastern High School.
Printz recently was approved by the Southeastern Local School District to be its football coach. He succeeds Greg Bonifay, who resigned earlier this spring to accept a similar position at Greater Western Ohio Conference member Stebbins.
Printz took a perennially losing program at Triad and transformed the Cardinals into an OHC power during a 15-year run as coach at the North Lewisburg program. Last season he was an assistant at Minster, which overcame a 2-4 record to play in the Division VII state championship.
NEW COACH: Printz succeeds Bonifay with Trojans
Southeastern was 3-7 last season, the most wins since the Trojans were 5-5 in 2012. Southeastern is a Division VII, Region 28 program.
Here’s what Printz had to say about all that and more:
Q: You seemed to have it all at Minster, a job, success and you’re in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Why return to the OHC to a rival program?
A: It became apparent to me I needed to be a head coach. I need to be the one in charge. Don’t get me wrong; it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had to be involved with that staff under Geron Stokes at Minster. The trek to the state championship game was memorable. Just a whirlwind.
Q: You’ve experienced small-ball football in two conferences. What’s the difference?
A: People have asked me for years, what’s the difference between the MAC and the OHC? It’s a different breed of (MAC) kid. It seemed very obvious to me. A lot of it is genetics. These kids are just huge, a lot of them. They come from great two-parent families. They have a Catholic upbringing and there’s no youth sports there to speak of. No soccer.
When we played Marion Local, 19 of their kids walked by me who were bigger than me. I thought, my goodness, what have we got ourselves into? It was unbelievable. I’d never seen that many big kids up close on the same high school football team. Minster has 97 boys and 72 are on the (football) roster. They’re in the weight room 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. three days a week and they’re never late. They never miss. It’s a different mentality.
Q: Why Southeastern?
A: That’s the main reason I’m doing it; it’s a great challenge. When I got to Triad it was the same situation it’s going to be at South Charleston. I surrounded myself with good people and I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to try and build a staff with somebody who buys into what we’re about and what we’re trying to do. I’m going to try and change the culture.
Q: What can Southeastern players expect?
A: These kids are not going to expect some of the things that’s coming at them. We’re going to work extremely hard and the cream is going to rise to the top. We had a similar philosophy at Triad. You’re going to put in the work and if (you do that) you’ll benefit from it and it’ll pay dividends down the road for you.
We did things at Triad that nobody in their right mind should ever have done. That’s a school that predominantly had never won. We went to the playoffs five times and six other times we were either ninth or 10th in the region and just missed qualifying. It was an exceptional run for those young men and we hope to do some of the similar things at Southeastern.
Q: How do you do that?
A: Southeastern has great athletes. You see it in basketball. You’ve got to get some of those kids out (for football). You have to get the good athletes throughout the building and get them out playing football. If we can do that we’ll be competitive again. We have five D-V schools, three D-VI and two D-VII teams on the schedule. If you win the right games, we could turn into some playoff-bound teams.
It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a challenge from top to bottom to get ready and it’s exciting. I can’t wait.
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