Essex hires new assistant

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A season after leading the Hornets to a 5-5 record and within sniffing distance of the playoffs, John Essex head coach Jerome Antone has a new assistant coach.

Antone handed the offensive play calling duties over to Brad Daniels, who makes his return to coaching at John Essex.

“He’s old school, a disciplinarian,” Antone said of Daniels. “He’s a go-getter. The kids love him and he already has a good relationship with them. That’s a great asset for our program.”

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Daniels has prior coaching experience at Spanish Fort Middle School and at Vigor High School, where he worked six years.

“I really look forward to doing it because it’s a smaller club and I get more invested with each player,” Daniels said of the switch from Class 5A Vigor to Class 1A John Essex. “These boys are very talented, very receptive to people teaching them. There’s a lot of very raw talent. I’ve never seen kids so willing to give you everything they have.”

“He’s been around winning programs. He knows what he is doing,” Antone said. “He takes a whole lot of weight off me. Not only is he the offensive coordinator, he’s also the special teams coordinator.”

Daniels, whose wife Brandy is a Demopolis native, will get his first crack at overseeing the offense this year.

“We basically run out of the pro set,” Daniels said. “I like typical, south Alabama football, smashmouth.”

Daniels, who teaches English at John Essex, collaborated with Antone for the first time in a game situation last week when the Hornets traveled to Georgiana for a Jamboree contest. Essex managed 18 points in the loss, but saw quarterback Travis Tripp rush for scores of 16 and 17 yards while Denzell Charleston had a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.

John Essex will open the regular season at home Friday night against St. Luke’s. That game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.