New Souhegan coach ready for challenges
Thursday, August 22, 2013
It didn’t Mike Lochman long after taking over as the Souhegan High School football head coach to learn a good lesson.
“No matter how many years you’ve coached, you’re never quite ready to be a head coach,” Lochman said with a smile. “I’m finding that out pretty quick.”
The Sabers’ first-year head coach, who was an assistant at Hollis Brookline last season, takes over a program that had been led for 18 years by Mike Beliveau. In that time, Souhegan won four Division III titles and played in 10 division championship games.
This year, Lochman will be coaching a team that lost a lot of talent to graduation, and will play in a new division against some new foes.
“We’ve talked a ton about change,” Lochman said. “It’s not easy replacing somebody like Mike, who was here and really was the guy. I wanted to hit that head on in a respectful way. It’s a new format. It’s a new schedule. The playoff system is different. We graduated a ton of talent, we’re not blind to that, but we’ve kind of rallied around that.
“My message was change is a part of life. The only thing that doesn’t change is change. Life is base on how you react to that. It’s a clean slate for everyone of us.”
Lochman believes he’ll benefit from having a coaching staff that has a mix of new faces with holdovers from Beliveau’s regime. Those two returning coaches, Scott Prescott and Bob Petrella, have been at Souhegan for a long time.
“It’s a tremendous advantage because it provides some continuity for the kids, but it also helps the newer coaches kind of understand the lay of the land,” Lochman said. “They’ve been huge assets. We want to continue the tradition that has already been established here. From what I’ve seen as an outsider, and what I’ve seen now, the reason for that is because the kids have really good character and leadership skills, and they’re really dedicated to each other and the success of the program.”
The Sabers will play in the new Division II and be a member of the South Conference, along with Milford, John Stark, Trinity and Windham. Of those teams, four made the playoffs last year in their respective divisions. Only two will make the postseason in 2013.
“Looking at the conference, and of the film of the teams, we’re not in a finesse conference,” Lochman said. “They’re real smashmouth type teams, on offense and defense. We’re going to need to be a tough football team.”
Souhegan gets its first chance to prove what its got on Sept. 6, when it opens the season at Monadnock.