OAK HILL, W.Va — Oak Hill decided to stay in-house with the hiring of its next football coach in going with Jason Blankenship. Blankenship will take over for the veteran Eddie Souk, who retired after his team lost to George Washington in the opening round of the playoffs.

“We have established a little bit of respect in the Class AAA ranks and made it to the playoffs the last two years,” Blankenship said. “Our program is where we want it to be and we hope to continue that as we move forward.”

Blankenship, who graduated from Oak Hill in 2003, went on to play college football for Concord. The past four seasons, he has been the defensive coordinator under Souk at both Mount Hope and Oak Hill.

“Coaching under Eddie Souk, he just brought a lot of excitement to the football program and that’s something I want to be able to do,” he said.

Blankenship takes over a team that started nine seniors on offense (including first team all-state running back Jalen Jones) and will have new faces on defense as well – but he’s still optimistic about the group coming back.

“We have to rebuild in spots, I believe we have some young kids that are ready to move up,” he said. “I think we have one of the best defensive players in the state in Antonio Gray, so we will build on the foundation coming back.”

As far as schemes go, there shouldn’t be much of a change for the Red Devils in 2014.

“Offensively, we’re going to have to look at our players coming back and see what we can do best,” Blankenship said. “We’re going to keep things the same on the defensive side.

“I try to pull things from everyone I have played and coached under — if I can put it all together, I think I can come up with something good,” he said.

Regardless, it’s a new era for both Blankenship and Oak Hill.

“We’re excited about the future, we know it’s going to be a tough road to reload,” he said. “I think the kids we have are ready for the challenge.”

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  • Hop'sHip

    Whew! I thought it might be Don Blankenship. Hey, if Jim Justice can be a high school coach, I'm sure Don believes he too is qualified.