FNF Coaches Announces Our 2020 Sports Attack Coaches of the Year


By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

At the start of FNF Coaches Appreciation Month, we are honored to announce our 2020 Sports Attack Coaches of the Year.

Selecting one state champion coach in each state proved to be a difficult task for our editorial staff with so many deserving coaches across the country.

Our criteria for consideration included all state champion coaches in 2020. While not all states had fall football, we looked for coaches that led teams to championships for the first time in school history, coaches who led championship runs as underdogs, coaches who helped players overcome adversity, and coaches who made tough decisions in the biggest moments to help their teams break through.

We couldn’t be more proud of our 2020 FNF Coaches of the Year. Congratulations to all who won and all other state champion coaches who were considered.


Alabama Linden Travis Lockett This year’s Linden team did something no other team that came before them was able to achieve: Win a state championship. The Patriots defeated Pickens County 32-8 to claim the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A Championship.
Alaska Colony Robbie Nash Robbie Nash took over for Fred McKenney, who stepped down after leading the Knights to the large-schools semifinals last season. Nash has also had tremendous success at the youth level, guiding multiple teams in the Mat-Su Steelers programs to a state title.
Arizona Chaparral Brent Barnes After a bumpy season filled with turbulence from week to week, being able to celebrate a state championship is something the Firebirds hardly expected to happen. The team missed the first three weeks of the season because of COVID-19 quarantine.
Arkansas Shiloh Christian Jeff Conaway Shiloh Christian came oh so close in 2019 before falling short, but the 2020 Saints would not be denied. Driven by that runner-up finish, Shiloh Christian rolled threw the 2020 season, and now the Saints are the 4A state champions with a 58-20 win over Rivercrest.
Colorado Durango David Vogt Durango won the Class 3A state football title – the first championship for the school since 1954 and the first outright championship in school history.
Delaware Sussex Central John Wells Considered an unlikely tourney contender after losing two of its first three games, Central (7-2) instead reeled off six straight wins to capture the program’s state crown.
Florida Seminole Sanford Orlando Eric Lodge Sanford Seminole celebrates their second FHSAA State Championship in school history after their 38-10 victory over Kissimmee Osceola. Seminole dedicates its season to Zi’Erric Wynn, a Fighting Seminoles running back who tragically passed away in a car accident just before the start of the season.
Georgia Marist Alan Chadwick Marist wins its third state title in the school’s 108th season of football, adding to championships from 1989 and 2003.
Idaho Oakley Brennan Jones Oakley won a game that was for the all-the-marbles Class 1A Div. I state football championship in Idaho. It was the third meeting of the season between Cassia County rivals — No. 2 Raft River and No. 3 Oakley.
Indiana Center Grove Eric Moore After falling just short in last year’s state finals, the Center Grove Trojans left Lucas Oil Stadium with some hardware.
Iowa Ankeny Rick Nelson The Hawks ran the playoff gauntlet and emerged with their first title in eight seasons by beating Southeast Polk 42-14 in the 4A championship.
Kansas St. James Academy Tom Radke St. James Academy was crowned king as the Thunder captured the Kansas Class 4A state championship with a 56-34 win over Arkansas City. This is St. James’ first state football championship.
Kentucky Ashland Blazer Tony Love It was a moment 30 years in the making as the Ashland Tomcats are once again state champions in Kentucky high school football. This the first time Ashland has been undefeated since 1958.
Louisiana Carencro Tony Courville No. 1 Carencro, behind an unexpected approach, unseated four-time reigning state champion Edna Karr, 35-19, for the Class 4A state title. The Bears (12-1) snapped a 28-year championship drought with their first state title since 1992.
Minnesota Moorhead Kevin Feeney The Moorhead Spuds won a “mythical” state football championship this fall, earning the top spot in the final Associated Press poll for Minnesota Class 5A. Moorhead also won state titles in 1971 and 1987.
Mississippi Oak Grove (Hattiesburg) Drew Causey Sometimes you just have to roll the dice. That’s what head coach Drew Causey did in Oak Grove’s 29-28 6A title win over Oxford. Trailing by one after Kabe Barnett’s 10-yard TD with seven seconds left, Causey called on Barnett, who hit tight end Trayvon Moore on a drag for the two-point conversion, win and banner. The win was redemption for the 13-0 Warriors, who fell in the past two championship games.
Missouri Jackson Brent Eckley The first title is always sweet. And the Indians grabbed theirs in a 2020 season of redemption. After falling in overtime in the 2019 title game, Jackson ran the gamut.
Montana Laurel Mike Ludwig The Locomotives steamed through 2020 with a 9-1 mark, erasing the schedule’s lone blemish with a 34-0 Class A title win over Billings Central Catholic. The championship is the school’s first in 18 years when Mike Ludwig, a Laurel alumni, led his squad to a 2002 crown in his first year as head coach.
Nebraska Omaha Westside Brett Froendt This was the year the Warriors finally climbed to the top of the mountain. After falling short in 2006, 2013 and 2019, Omaha Westside ran the table, going 12-0 and winning the school’s first Class A title since going back-to-back in 1981-82.
New Hampshire Souhegan Robin Bowkett The state championship is Souhegan’s fifth overall, first in Division II and first since 2010. The title game appearance was Plymouth’s fifth straight.
New Jersey Wall Tony Grandinetti The Crimson Knights won the unofficial Shore Conference championship with an 18-15 win over Donovan Catholic as they recorded their first unbeaten season since they went 11-0 in 1983. They extended their winning streak against Shore Conference opponents to 20 and their regular-season winning streak to 18.
North Dakota Bismarck St. Mary’s Dan Smekar The championship game between the Saints and the Miners was ultra-competitive with both squads staying true to what they do best – running the ball. Both teams got a first half touchdown and entered halftime tied 7-7. The Saints finished the season 11-0.
Ohio Van Wert Keith Recker The Van Wert High School football team won its first football state championship Sunday. The team had waited 109 years for this glorious moment.
Oklahoma Dewar Josh Been The Dragons (13-0) have more football tradition than many eastern Oklahoma small-school communities. They’ve never won a gold ball, but they were close twice. They were runners-up to Morrison for an eight-man crown in 2007 and to Fox for an 11-man title in 1985.
Pennsylvania Central Valley Mark Lyons After falling behind early and trailing at halftime for the first time all season, Central Valley (12-0) stormed out of the break to put up 28 second-half points en route to a 35-21 win vs. previously unbeaten Wyomissing (9-1). With the win, the Warriors captured their first state championship in program history — and erased the bitter memories of last year’s loss once and for all.
South Carolina AC Flora Dustin Curtis The A.C. Flora athletics program has seen state championship trophies adorn its property from sports such as baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis. Now football has its moment on that big stage.
South Dakota Winner Trent Olson No.1 Winner avenged a state championship game loss to No. 2 Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan last season.
Tennessee Summit Brian Coleman The state championship comes in the 10th year of the school’s existence and one year after the Spartans made their first state championship game appearance in 2019.
Texas Jim Ned Matt Fanning The Jim Ned football team used a 21-point comeback to force overtime, and then went for the win on a 2-point conversion to earn a 29-28 victory and the school’s first football state championship.
Utah Juab Mike Bowring Juab’s first football state championship in school history this season was decades in the making, and there was no way running back/safety Trey Lund was going to miss out.
West Virginia South Charleston Donnie Mays After a four-week delay at the start of the season due to Kanawha County’s status on the map, South Charleston outscored their six opponents by a combined score of 307-92.
Wisconsin Whitefish Bay Jake Wolter This season saw a special group of young men come together as a team and accomplish the goals they set for themselves in a time where they didn’t know if they’d be allowed to take the field the next day. In the end, they can proudly call themselves Conference Champions and the top-ranked Division 2 team in the state of Wisconsin.
Wyoming Southeast Mark Bullington Southeast defeated Lusk 35-16 back to win the conference and the right to host the state championship game. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this will be the first time in 11 years all state championship games won’t be played at the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.
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