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Hancock tabs Blake as coach

February 13, 2004

From staff reports

John Blake was hired Thursday to take over the Hancock High School football program, replacing Bill Sterner, who stepped down at the end of the 2003 season after five years as the Panthers head coach.

Blake was promoted after spending the last five years on Sterner's staff while acting as the junior varsity head coach.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to be the next head football coach at Hancock," Blake said. "The challenge I have now is keeping the pride and excitement in my program that Coach Sterner has developed over the last five years."

Blake, a Cumberland, Md., native and graduate of Fort Hill High School, began his college football career at Potomac State, playing for current Berkeley Springs coach Angelo Luvara.

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He coached at Fort Hill under Mike Calhoun before returning to Frostburg State to finish his playing career, winning the Bobcats 1987 defensive player of the year honor, while earning his degree in physical education.

Blake also coached at South Hagerstown and Smithsburg before heading to Hancock.

"John is an excellent choice," said Sterner, Hancock's athletic director. "He is a positive influence around the players and since the end of football season, he has had 25-plus athletes in the weight room every night."

Sterner posted a 20-28 record during his tenure, including a 6-5 mark last season which earned the Panthers first playoff berth since 1986.

"John is a great person to carry on our football tradition here," Hancock principal Warren Barrett said. "He cares about the program and the kids playing for him very much."

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