ROTTERDAM — Scott Sabourin has stepped down as Mohonasen High School’s varsity football coach after a three-year run that included two sectional appearances and what he described as a lot of player growth.
He was in his second stint as head coach of the Mighty Warriors, having led the program from 1996-2007 before becoming a varsity assistant at Niskayuna for seven seasons.
“I’m taking a step back,” Sabourin said. “My wife [Cheryl] has been part of this for 30 years. It will be nice to have a summer that doesn’t end on August first.”
Sabourin led off each practice day with a 20-minute lesson about such things as teamwork, overcoming adversity, diligence and selflessness. He often imparted his messages through tales with American history themes.
“I’m extremely proud of the character education we did,” Sabourin said. “Making young men better men through football. At our year-end banquet so many people told me how much it meant to them. I get emails that reflect that. I certainly would have liked to win more football games, but it’s never been all about that.”
The Mohonasen history teacher said the kids bought into the program he introduced during his first head coaching stint at the school from 1996 through 2007.
Sabourin worked as an assistant at Niskayuna for seven years before resuming his lead role with the Mighty Warriors in 2015. He had previous assistant jobs at LaSalle, Bishop Maginn and at Amsterdam when the Rams won the state Class B title in 1995.
Sabourin wouldn’t count out a return to football coaching at some time.
“It’s hard for me to conceive head coaching again, but I might coach at some level.” the Niskayuna resident said. “I certainly enjoy calling plays. The Xs and Os. The gamesmanship. If there is a person I feel comfortable with, I can see coming back.”
Sabourin brought with him in 2015 a new spread offense and a no-huddle attack to combat Section II’s rugged Class A group, and had a new turf field to play on, part of a $48.2 million capital construction project school district voters approved in 2013.
He also had a lot of young players, and never had great numbers to work with. His teams won a combined seven games, though his 2015 and 2016 editions did well enough in division play to make the Section II Class A quarterfinals where they lost at Queensbury both times.
“I thought four or five [wins] was a viable option,” Sabourin said of the 2017 season when Mohonasen won twice, beating Green Tech and Scotia-Glenville. “Maybe it’s time for someone else to take a swing.”
Sabourin’s 1996 team was the school’s first to qualify for the Section II playoffs, and his 1997 team was Mohonasen’s first to win a postseason game. That 7-2 team also tied a school record for single-season wins. Sabourin had seven playoff teams during that era, and four were Section II semifinalists.
Sabourin was involved in the push to have Mohonasen join the Capital District Youth Football League last summer.
“That went really, really well,” he said. “I’ll probably have a hand in that.”