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Prep Roundup

Blankenship Finally Returns To The Foothills

Veteran coach brings Aptos to 'Battle at the Capital'
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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The resume speaks for itself. But it’s his burning desire to direct 16 and 17-year-old young men in a game that he loves that has kept Randy Blankenship chomping at the bit as another high school football season approaches. “This is probably the final voyage,” said Blankenship this week as he prepared to begin his first week of practices at his latest stop, Aptos High in Santa Cruz County. “I’d like to coach five or six more seasons,” said the new Mariners coach. “What a great place for my wife and I to retire.” Blankenship will return to the foothills area for the first time since he left Nevada Union in 1991 when he brings Aptos to Loomis on Friday, Sept. 3. The Mariners will play the 8 p.m. Friday night feature game against Del Campo in the “Battle At The Capital” set for Del Oro High. “We’re young,” said the new Aptos headman. “We only have eight seniors but I like this group. They worked very hard in the off-season.” Blankenship has won at every stop he’s been at including seven years at Nevada Union, eight at Clovis West, two at Fallbrook, one in Texas, one at Capistrano Valley and six at Madera. Blankenship, with 202 career wins, is among the active coaching leaders for victories in the state. In 25-plus years, his teams have won 13 league championships, 5 section championships, and reached the section finals 9 times. In 1998 while at Clovis West, he was selected as the California Coach-of-the-Year. In addition, he has been selected as the NFL High School Coach-of-the-Year (2000), the Northern California Coach-of-the-Year (1993), the Southern California Coach-of-the-Year (2000), the Valley Coach-of-the-Year (1992, 1993), the North-South All-Star Game Coach (1998, 2006), and many more. He was also selected as the 1994 Teacher-of-the-Year in the Clovis West Unified School District for his work as a Physical Education teacher. In a long to return to the foothills, he applied twice (1983 and 2007) for the open head coaching position at Placer and was a finalist both times. “The first time I ended up at Nevada Union and that worked out great and the second time, well Joey (Montoya) is doing a great job there.” This May, Aptos’ spring football game drew several hundred people with the Aptos Blue team, showing an explosive offense and the ability to break-off big plays at any time, defeating the White team. After the game, head coach, head ref, and spring league commissioner Blankenship commended both teams on their heart and effort, told the team that he was proud of all of them, and reminded them that there were no losers because we are one big family. The Blue team enjoyed eating their steaks while the White team and their coaches had to settle for hot dogs. Blankenship, 56, who will be a full-time physical education teacher at Aptos, noted that he still has plenty of desire in his new position. “The last time I looked it was still a one hundred yard field, there are goal posts at each end and you still have 11 players on a side. We’re really excited about the upcoming season.”