New Highlands Ranch football coach focuses on stability

Highlands Ranch program has lacked long-term leadership


New Highlands Ranch football coach Jason Shumaker wants to bring stability back and push the program forward.

Shumaker, who has been part of the football programs at Louisiana Tech, Utah State, Saint Mary's, Midland, Doane, Eastern New Mexico and Idaho, is the sixth head coach at Highlands Ranch since the 2016 season.

“Absolutely, stability is important,” said Shumaker. “That's why the program has a little downturn with participation numbers and things like that over the last few years. That's why I came out of the college ranks to coach high school.

“I wanted to find a place for my family. We bought a house in Highlands Ranch and we plan on being here for a while and build a really strong program that is going to compete at the state level. My wife (Kate) is from Littleton. She has family there so it's all about family.”

Shumaker takes over a football program than has compiled a 26-26 record over the past five years despite the revolving door for head coaches.

“There were a lot of opportunities that came up but I didn't feel were great for us,” he explained. `When Highlands Ranch popped open, I did a lot of research. If we get in there and do it the right way we have a real good chance to be successful.

“I'll be in the (school) building. I will be teaching as well. My defensive coordinator will be in the building as well. So we're going to build a strong base in the building and we look it as hey, `they've been good.' It's been a successful program and by us being a little more stable and bringing some new ideas we can help push it up.”

Official practice can start Aug. 9 so Shumaker still hasn't had chance to see much of his players except for a team camp.

“Things are good,” said Shumaker. “It's my first season here but hopefully things will be somewhat normal and we can have a season and not have constant changes.

“It's always funny when I ask somebody what they did last year and they say, `last year we had to do this and before that we did this.'”

Highlands Ranch begins the season Aug. 27 at Fruita Monument. The Falcons have non-league games against Regis Jesuit, Heritage, Columbine and Fountain Fort Carson before jumping into 5A Douglas County League action.

“We're underway and making a lot of different changes,” said Shumaker. “We really feel that we're going to be able to build a strong program. We've put together a really good staff that has a lot of different experience at college level and high school level.

“We have a few seniors that are going to be strong contributors for us and we have some younger guys we are working to develop.”


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