Jason Somers has always had a knack for football.
Whether directing an offense as a quarterback or serving as an assistant coach, Somers' keen eye for the game has been of great benefit to the Alcona football program.
Now Somers will get a chance to showcase his knowledge after he was announced as Alcona's new football coach last week. He replaces Dave Schneider, who coached Alcona from 2010-2013 and compiled a 25-13 record.
"We want to have a structured program. One that's defined by team work and structure. That may not always be defined by wins, but we'll certainly do our best," Somers said.
Somers takes over a program that's coming off the best season in school history. The Tigers finished the 2013 season with a 10-1 record, including a 9-0 regular season. They also earned the school's first ever playoff win and won the Huron Shores Division of the North Star League; another first for the program.
Somers will also continue to coach Alcona's boys basketball team. He led the Tigers to a district final and a 12-10 record this season as a rookie head coach.
He's no stranger to the Alcona football program, having played quarterback under Bob Petrovich from 1993-96 and it was then that Somers learned the importance of paying attention to detail.
"We were in Rogers City my junior year and he (Petrovich) called a certain play. I walked into the huddle and said, 'Nope, we're not running that play, we're running this (other) one,' and it failed," Somers said. "He sat me down and explained to me why we were going to run the play."
The lessons he learned from Petrovich are ones Somers hopes to impart on players as a head coach; lessons that apply not only to football, but to life.
After he graduated from Alcona, Somers joined Terry Franklin's staff and served as an assistant for 12 years. Now Franklin will serve as defensive coordinator under Somers and praised his knowledge of the game.
"He understands the game, he can see it really well. When he's up in the press box, he's always had a good knack," Franklin said. "A lot of people can watch the game, but not understand what's going on and Jason's always had that knack."
Alcona is coming off of back-to-back playoff berths, but could be in a rebuilding phase this season. The Tigers will graduate 12 players from the 2013 team this spring, including several veteran linemen, quarterback Cody Franklin and running backs Garrette Norling, Nathan Fettes and Josh Mead.
Franklin is confident Somers will fully embrace his new role and said he's already shown the ability to be a good leader.
"He has a great desire. I had a opportunity to coach him a little bit and he's a great leader on and off the field. That carries over to now," Franklin said. "He's great with the kids, works well with them and you couldn't ask for a better coach."
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.