16 Camps: Patriots Aiming for Playoff Return

Brandon Isaiah says his first few days as head football coach at Albemarle High School have been everything he hoped for.

"Oh man, it's awesome," Isaiah said after a recent practice. "It's really a fun thing to watch, watch all these coaches out here doing, and watching my plan come into motion is a really exciting thing."

Isaiah was introduced at AHS in April. It's the first head coaching job for the former Virginia football player, who began his coaching career as an assistant at Albemarle.

Now Isaiah -- who spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Monticello High School -- is leading a program that went 6-4 during the regular season a year ago, is coming off its first playoff appearance in a decade.

"They seem like they're really hungry, they're ready to win," Isaiah said of his new players. "And I just feel like as the head coach, it's my job to really show them what that looks like. Winning. The way we work every day. The way we come to practice."

Senior Kevin McCarthy described Isaiah's practices as "very energetic."

"Nothing is slacking," he said. "We're picking up everything. Everything is quick, fast."

"Definitely up-tempo," agreed senior Quordel Carter. "Coach Isaiah likes things fast and precise. And when we're not doing things fast enough, he'll let us know."

"I keep telling them to come back every day," Isaiah said. "We're going to put you in tough situations. But just trust us, and keep coming back, and I'm just really pleased with the way these kids are handling it."

Isaiah inherited senior quarterback D.G. Archer, who threw for 1,657 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Patriots a year ago. McCarthy averaged 8.0 yards-per-carry and scored a pair of touchdowns in limited work out of the backfield.

Now the goal for the Patriots -- and their first-year coach -- is to build off last year's success.

"I think these kids can be as good as they want to be," said Isaiah. "I think that's a conversation I've had with them. You can dictate how great you want to be."

"We saw what we can do last year," said Carter. "Hard work and effort, there's not a limit of what we can accomplish."

"We'll be back. We have a couple of returning seniors right now, so we're looking to come back," said McCarthy. "We did it last year, so we can do it again."

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