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October 13, 2012

Bacone-Panhandle a reunion of sorts

— A coach that remains in the profession long enough will eventually go against someone that was once on the same sideline.

That’s exactly what will happen today at Indian Bowl when Panhandle State comes to town to face the Bacone Warriors.

Prior to his arrival at Bacone last season, offensive coordinator Scott Clough was at NCAA Division II Angelo State from 2005-10 in the same position. For the last three years of his tenure, the offensive line coach was Russell Gaskamp who is in his first season as Panhandle’s head coach.

“It’s always awkward, especially the first time you go against someone,” said Clough, who is in his 20th season as a coach. “It’s not something I enjoy. Matter of fact I don’t like it but everyone involved knows that’s part of the business. I have a lot of friends I have coached against.”

Gaskamp finds it slightly uncomfortable because of what happened after the 2010 season at Angelo State.

“In our final season together, we led the Lone Star Conference in scoring and were 15th in the nation,” Gaskamp said. “Then the entire staff was dismissed, including Scott and I. When the new head coach came in, he hired me as offensive coordinator to replace Scott.”

Gaskamp, who played collegiately at Texas and was the starting center the year Ricky Williams won the Heisman Trophy and led the nation in rushing, recalls the first time he had to go against a former colleague and it was at the same time he coached against former players.

“My first year at Southwestern, I had come from Texas A&M-Commerce,” Gaskamp said. “For the first two years, we battled Commerce for the LSC North Division title. But it is understood you can go to battle and still be friends afterwards.”

Clough brought up one point where familiarity with another coach, and his system, can have a direct effect on the outcome of a game.

“We have to be wary of our signal calling, especially in the no-huddle offense,” he said. “I’m sure there could be a play we signal in where the terminology might be exactly the same as I used at ASU and Russell could remember that.”

But Gaskamp knows he still has a friend on the other side of the field.

“We shake hands before the game, ask how the family is and exchange anecdotes,” he said. “Then we go to war for 60 minutes. After the war, we go out and socialize.”

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