(FOX 17) — Mona Shores defensive coordinator Dave Check has a chance to win his eighth state championship as an assistant coach on Friday when the Sailors take on Warren DeLaSalle in the division two title game at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.
To get it, he will have to beat the guy who gave him his start in coaching, Pilots head coach Dan Rohn.
"I knew Dave when he played in High School," Rohn recalled. "I knew the kind of approach he took to the game and I thought he'd be a good fit and he was."
Check played at Mona Shores in the early 2000's for Don Fellows, current Mona Shores athletic director Todd Conrad was an assistant coach on those Sailors teams and later was a top assistant for Rohn in his days as head coach at West Catholic. Conrad reccomended Check as linebackers coach with the Falcons, a job Check got at age 21.
"It was a great opportunity," Check said about coaching with Rohn at West Catholic starting back in 2007. "I had played for Conrad and I knew the coach that he was and I had been around coach Rohn and knew the coach he was so I looked at it as an awesome opportunity."
After Conrad moved on, Check was eventually promoted to defensive coordinator at West Catholic and he and Rohn went on to win three straight state championships from 2013-2015.
"I loved the way he approached not only football but the way he approached his classroom," Rohn said about Check. "The kids at West Catholic loved him and he taught his classroom like he worked on the football field and that is kind of that old school coaching mentality and I think we have lost a lot of that. I think great coaches make great teachers and Dave is one of those guys."
"He really let me know do what I saw fit and I really appreciated it," Check added. "To be able to experiment with a new defense and just knowing that I had a reason for why I was doing it and he trusted me in that was just an amazing start to my coaching career in that role."
The two have not coached on the same field since 2015.
They have remained close and this Friday will match wits on opposite sides for the first time.
"When you are doing this, you want to compete and you want to coach against the best and I look at as that way as coach Rohn is one of the best," Check said. "It is a great opportunity to challenge yourself."
"We are both going to coach to win the football game," Rohn added. "We are going to hug before the game, we are going to hug after the game. One of us is going to be holding the state championship trophy and the other one's not, it's just part of it. It we were not playing against each other, I would be rooting for them but since we are playing against each other I want nothing more than to beat them."