Zanesville assistant coach Nate Brownrigg looking forward to his return to Tri-Valley


By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

Last season, the Tri-Valley Scotties blasted their way into the Ohio High School Football Championship after a lone loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary to start the season. All along the way, the offense, led by then-assistant coach and offensive coordinator Nathan Brownrigg, averaged a stellar 30.5 points per game.

After falling in the finals, 27-19, to Trotwood-Madison, all focus was on a return to the Final Four for redemption.

Then, head coach Justin Buttermore announced he would be leaving the program for a job in Granville with the Blue Aces. It was a move that surprised many fans, but opened the door for long-time assistant Brownrigg to take the reigns.

That never came to fruition, as the Scotties went in a different direction, opting for recently retired, Hall of Fame coach Kevin Fell instead. Soon after, Brownrigg moved on to Zanesville for the same position he held at Tri-Valley.

Having spent over a decade with one team, leaving the place he knew best was bittersweet. But, on Friday night, Brownrigg will return to the place he called home for so many years. Only this time, he’ll be facing the team he still holds near to his heart.

For him, it’s a moment he anxiously awaits.

“I was really close to the kids at Tri-Valley. So I know a lot of them personally,” he said during practice Wednesday. “I know a lot of what they do, but they’ve been coached to do some different things now, and they’re doing a really good job of coming out and executing what they’re doing now. You know, I’m really excited to go back and see some of those guys. I’m excited to go up and show them what our guys can do.”

The announcement for Brownrigg came via a tweet prior to the season, fielding plenty of positive reactions from the Blue Devil faithful. Given the success of the Scotties’ offense with him leading the way, it’s obvious why fans were happy to see a new face.

While the transition came rather quickly given his long tenure with Tri-Valley, there’s still plenty of aspects of the Dresden area Brownrigg remembers fondly. Although he was passed over for the vacant head coaching spot, there were no harsh words or criticism, as he opted for a much more humble approach to explaining what he thinks of going back to the place he called home for so long.

“It is (weird),” he said. “My two sons who are waterboys or ballboys (at Zanesville) were ballboys there also.  And it’s definitely going to be weird after spending so much time in that building, so much time in that facility, being in the visitors locker room now. Being on the visitor’s sideline. But, again, it’s a great atmosphere. It’s a great community. I’m looking forward to going back and just competing. That’s what it’s all about.”

It’s the kind of reaction fans should expect from a veteran coach who’s been around the game of football so long. He’s not angry over missing out on running the show, even though that aspect may sting slightly. Instead, he’s focused and thankful to return to his old stomping grounds.

The competition will likely be fierce, as Zanesville will be looking to rebound from a close lose last week against Granville and Buttermore. Tri-Valley is undefeated so far this year, having easily handled their first two opponents.