By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE — Shades Valley head football coach David Partridge announced via social media that his son, Matt Partridge, will be taking the reins as defensive coordinator for the Mounties and Jeremiah Millington will serve as offensive coordinator.
“Proud to announce Matt Partridge as defensive coordinator and Jeremiah Millington as offensive coordinator for the Shades Valley Mounties,” David Partridge posted. “Two very smart, great football coaches, but more importantly good character men and great role models for our players. God has blessed me with the opportunity to continue to work with these two quality men.”
The elder Partridge was the defensive coordinator at Hewitt-Trussville under former head football coach Hal Riddle. His son played and coached for him there. Millington also played and coached at Hewitt-Trussville.
Millington, a former Husky quarterback and 2005 graduate, was unofficially named the co-head coach of the Hewitt-Trussville varsity basketball team in March, a decision that was later discarded by the school.
Matt, who is going into his sixth season as a high school football coach, graduated from Hewitt-Trussville in 2010. He learned the defensive game as a safety in the Huskies’ secondary.
The first-year defensive coordinator will demand energy and enthusiasm from his young 2015 unit.
“The main thing that I’ve been preaching to them the most is everybody getting to the ball,” said Matt. “We try to get all 11 people to the ball and try to be excited when we get there. If we have enthusiasm and we have effort, then we can make up for [mental errors].”
Matt has coached under his father for four seasons, and looks forward to serving as his defensive mind. He believes their father-son relationship carries over nicely to the field.
“It’s been great. He helps me out, but he’s not overbearing and he can tell when I need help,” said Matt. “The good thing about it is we’ve worked together and obviously lived together for a long time, so we know what each other is thinking and we can easily communicate.”
The young coordinator is aware of the challenges his even younger secondary will soon encounter as Class 6A, Region 6 offenses break the huddle.
“Every DB that got varsity experience last year has either graduated or transferred, so all of our DBs are fresh and they’ve got to face some big receivers in our classification, but they’re up to the challenge.”
Millington will always see himself as a “Trussville guy” that wishes the Huskies nothing but the best, but the roller coaster of emotions that he endured regarding the Hewitt-Trussville basketball job left him open to a change in scenery.
He and former head basketball coach Mike Dutton were once believed to be co-head coaches for the program moving into the 2015 season. Dutton has since resigned, launching a coaching search that ended with the acquisition of Jim Sanderson.
“That was a difficult month-and-a-half, but I try to look at it as a learning experience and a chance to grow,” said Millington. “I’ve moved on from it and I wish nothing but the best for everyone that was involved with that process. For coach Sanderson, I wish him nothing but the best.”
After Sanderson was named the next Husky head basketball coach, Millington contacted Partridge about the Shades Valley job. The two had previously talked in March about the offensive coordinator position.
Millington wishes to take everything that he’s learned in his time at Hewitt-Trussville and apply it to the offense he installs for the Mounties. His offense will operate without a huddle and will be designed around an up-tempo scheme.
“We’re going to try to be as fast as possible,” said Millington. “We want our pace to be high, meaning we want to get as many snaps in as possible.”
Scott Buttram contributed to this story.