Keswick Christian moved quickly to find a head football coach, hiring former standout quarterback Blake Englehardt.
Englehardt, a three-year starter for the Crusaders (2003-05), becomes just the second coach in the program’s 16-year existence. He replaces Rick Sanson, who left in March to pursue other teaching opportunities.
“Blake was the logical choice for us,” Keswick principal Fred Meinke said. “He’s grown up around the program and knows what it’s about.”
Englehardt attended Keswick since elementary school and played at every level there from flag football to varsity. He led the Crusaders to three straight playoff berths and set numerous passing records, including most yards in season (2,058 in 2004). That year, Englehardt also threw for a school record 402 yards and six touchdowns in the regular season finale.
Englehardt was a walk-on at Middle Tennessee State. He’s spent the past few years as an assistant under Sanson and is a teacher at the school.
"I never really envisioned becoming a head coach down the road when I went to school here," Englehardt said. "When I came back I thought it was a great opportunity to teach and work under a great coach in Rick Sanson. But I thought when the job opened up and I applied I would have a good shot at getting it."
The biggest task for Englehardt is boosting the numbers. The football program has had about 20-25 players on its roster the past few years. Englehardt said the team will most likely have a scrimmage instead of spring game this year because of the transition in coaching staff.
There also is the possibility of opening up the offense. When Englehardt was a quarterback at Keswick, the team went four wide and operated out of the shotgun.
Will Englehardt do the same as a coach.
"We'll be balanced, but I'm a quarterback at heart so we'll throw the ball when we can," Englehardt said.