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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 11 months ago

Trent Hopper settling into new role as Legacy's football coach -- Observer Preps

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Trent Hopper was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach during the offseason, lightening the load of former coach and current athletic director Jarrett Wiggers.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

OCOEE As the athletic offerings and the individual programs at Legacy Charter have continued to expand over the past few years, so, too, have the responsibilities for Legacy Athletic Director Jarrett Wiggers.

That’s not to mention Wiggers and his wife, Elizabeth, an English teacher at Legacy, are expecting their third child within the next few weeks.

All of which explains why, months ago, before the Eagles began spring football practice, the then-head coach of the school’s football program began exploring ways to lighten his load. Taking a step back with the football program seemed the most obvious solution, but Wiggers said it was important to do so while preserving staff continuity — and that likely meant promoting from within.

“I wanted to make sure that, with all that other stuff going on, that we weren’t going to lose momentum,” Wiggers said. “My main goal was to figure out how to keep our staff together. I think that that’s so important, that we don’t have crazy turnover every year.”

 

Luckily for Wiggers, he already had just the person — Trent Hopper — on staff.

“I wanted somebody at the helm … who could really bring a lot of energy,” Wiggers said. “Trent is that guy — he’s always been that guy.”

Formerly the defensive coordinator, Hopper is now five games in to his expanded role as head coach, and he said the decision to take on the added responsibility was an easy one.

“We’ve worked so good together, it didn’t take but a second (to decide),” Hopper said. “A guy needs a hand with something, I’m willing to help.”

Wiggers, who even as the head coach also served as the team’s offensive coordinator, has continued in that role. Having his immediate predecessor nearby to lean on has made the transition smooth for Hopper.

“It’s like we got two head coaches, really,” Hopper said. “It’s more of partnership than anything else.”

On the field, Legacy (0-4) has endured close losses prior to the Eagles’ most recent defeat, which was a 43-0 loss at the hands of Windermere Prep (4-0) Sept. 29. 

Legacy’s other three losses, however, have come by margins of 16, seven and four points.

Looking  forward, as the Eagles enter the heart of their schedule, Hopper said the defense needs to step up.

“We’ve had a hard time stopping teams,” Hopper said. “We’re working hard to fix it. We’ve just got to realize that the games we’ve got coming up are our biggest games of the year.”

Despite some obvious areas for improvement, though, the Eagles’ new head coach said he feels good about the program and the athletes he is leading.

“They’re just a good bunch of boys,” Hopper said. “They’re a joy to be around, all the time. I don’t ever have to question their work ethic.”

Steven Ryzewski is the Senior Sports Editor for ObserverPreps.com, as well as all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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