Each month, Legend Rings sponsors a Q&A with a champion high school coach. The supplier of custom championship rings has worked with many championship teams over the years, outfitting coaches and players with keepsakes following memorable seasons.
Jonathan Ellinghouse has been the head coach at Sierra Canyon School (Calif.) for the last 13 seasons. He led Sierra Canyon to CIF championships in 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
FNF Coaches recently connected with Ellinghouse for an interview.
You’ve been racking up championships over the last few years. What has been the key to your success?
“We have a small independent school, and I really think we’ve been fortunate with a mix of smart kids who are talented physically. We create teams that are tight-knit, and the players care about one another. It’s not always the most talented team that wins the championship. When push comes to shove, you want kids who want to be there to fight for their teammates. That’s what we’ve had.”
What type of scheme do you run on offense and defense?
“We run a 4-2-5 defense, and we’re multiple on offense. We’ve gotten to where we’re good at running as an RPO team. We have lots of fronts, motion and personnel groupings.”
How do you stay on top of the trends of high school football?
“Part of it is just trying to be creative and staying ahead of defenses. We’re always going to clinics and tapping into college coaches. We spent a week at the University of Utah watching film and dissecting what they did. We try to stay on the cutting edge, but it’s always good to be strong up front along the offensive line regardless of what you’re running.”
What are you doing during this time of year for team-building exercises?
“Our program is pretty unique. We’re not competing at the highest level of competition in California. Our staff works as one. We don’t have JV or freshmen programs, so we basically have starters and futures. We develop them on a daily basis and practice as one team. Those guys get to know us at a young age and what we expect. A brotherhood forms when they’re together for four years. They figure out how to be good leaders and find out what the guys before them did.
“We won a championship last year, and the freshmen were a big part of it. We found a niche there. We do overnights and barbecues. We really sit down with kids and explain what we want it to be like, how we want them to act, and how to take care of each other.”
Do you identify your leaders each season, or does that happen organically?
“That’s all forged in the weight room. A big part of it having a kid who is a leader is taking other kids under his wing. When they can see how another player made them feel great, that’s how you create leadership.”
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When you’re looking for a partner to trust in creating your Championship Rings, choose Legend Rings.