Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Female Running back Looks to Start, while Head Coach Looks to Jump Start Wolfson

Wolfson High School- It was a New World Order at Wolfson High School as new Head Coach Rodney Gnat began his head coaching career at his alma mater. Gnat played at Wolfson High School from 2004 to 2006 and was a highly recruited defensive end. He decided to attend Louisville where he completed a successful college career, which translated into a professional football career in the arena football league. His experience at Wolfson and in the professional ranks is one that certainly equips him with the knowledge of the game, however it’s Gnat’s experience in the middle school ranks that may just give him an edge in player development.

Gnat spent the last few years as an assistant coach for Fletcher Middle School. He led a defense that propelled Fletcher to three straight championship game appearances, winning a title in 2015. His hallmark on those teams was discipline and that was the focus of the Wolfson 12:01am practice as well. Gnat and his coaching staff got back to the basics in their practice, which is essential in rebuilding a program. “ I don’t care how many people we have out here, it’s just us, but one thing we will be is disciplined” said Gnat to his team as they ran through line drills.

Ironically for Gnat, one of the line drill leaders on his High School team was a thorn in the side of his middle school team. Christal Smith, the only female on the Wolfpack team, played football at Matthew Gilbert Middle School where she started on defense and played fullback for the reigning Duval County Middle School Football Champions. She looks to play the same positions at Wolfson this year as she did at Gilbert Middle, and in Pop Warner at Lake Shore in previous years. Smith, a rising ninth grader was observed hustling through drills, showing great technique through exercises and exhibited focus on the field. She led by example Monday Morning as she looks to become the only High School female football starter at a skill position in the area. Gnat also looks to break barriers, as the first Coach to post a winning record at Wolfson since 2004. He began his coaching tenure by inviting several former Wolfpack players to play in a flag football game, a DJ and food trucks to the field, in hopes of jump starting a program that is in desperate need of new life.

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