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December 30, 2009 > Silvernale named Vikings football coach

Silvernale named Vikings football coach

By Gary van den Heuvel

Irvington High School has called on one of its own to lead the football program, hiring 24-year-old Zach Silvernale to coach the Vikings.

Silvernale is a 2003 graduate of Irvington, and for the last two years has been working as a quarterbacks coach for the Vikings as well as teaching social studies at the school.

Irvington has struggled on the field over the last three seasons, with an 8-22 won-loss record, but the decision to replace former coach Casey Kester with Silvernale was because the school wanted to have an on-campus coach.

The new coach sees his responsibility as not just building a winning football program, but to prepare his players for life after high school.

"Student athletes need to know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, whether that be the team, their student body or the Irvington community at large, and that being a part of that carries with it certain responsibilities," said Silvernale. "But winning makes that growth process a lot more fun."

Silvernale, who played quarterback for Irvington's varsity in 2001 and 2002, doesn't consider himself strictly a passing- or running-oriented coach. "The offensive system in place is one that can be adapted to the talent with which we are given from year to year," said the coach.

He acknowledged that any coach would love to be a "run-first" coach and have success with that style, because it would minimize the necessity of using higher risk plays.

"But let's be honest, there aren't too many teams who can get away with that these days," he said.

Among the coaches who Silvernale mentions as influences on him are four men who will be part of his assistant staff next season: Skip Cain, Wayne Stone, Darrel Lutz and Rodderick Jefferson, who between them have over 60 years of Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) coaching experience.

"Three of them were actually coaches of mine when I played," said Silvernale. "I couldn't think of a better way to start to build a coaching staff than to bring back the men who had a significant role in not only my own success, but Irvington's past and future successes as well."

Also part of Silvernale's coaching network is none other than the legendary Coach I himself, Jim Ingram, the icon of Washington High School who for the past few years has helped out with Irvington in a part-time role. Ingram won't be part of the everyday staff, but "any contribution he can make, we'll surely accept with open arms," said Silvernale. "Rest assured, he'll have his own reserved parking spot right next to the practice field."

After graduating from Irvington, Silvernale attended CSU Chico, earning a history degree with a minor in religious studies in 2007.

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