The Revolution is Real: New Football Staff, Team Revamp


Photo by Olivia De'Ath

Head coach Jason Lomax surveys the field during the team’s loss to the Damascus Hornets Sept. 15.

Anna Stewart, News Managing Editor

Rockville is family. That’s the message varsity football head coach Jason Lomax (‘97) hopes to instill in his players as he works to change the program’s culture following three consecutive losing seasons.   

“I was born and bred to be Rockville, and I want my team to feel that same way,” Lomax said. “I want them to feel that same kind of passion, that commitment to not only the football team, but the school as a whole.”

Lomax returns to RHS after three years as head coach at Springbrook High School.  He brings 10 new coaching staff along with him, including two RHS alumni–tight ends coach Phil McTighe (‘10) and offensive line coach Jimmy Castro (’11).

The physical changes since Lomax took over in December are clear to see: the offseason attendance and max lifting posters strategically placed by the boys locker room; the 30 minute film sessions during lunch every day; the sparkly new ram horn helmets; and the hour spent doing yoga Saturday mornings after games. But what is not as easily seen is the emphasis that the coaching staff has placed on the development of player character through discipline and hard work.

“When I first met the team, I could tell they were looking for something,” Lomax said. “They were looking for some kind of motivation, they were looking for somebody to put some parameters over what they needed to do and to give them a little bit of structure.”

So a new standard was set for the team: students first, athletes second.  Throughout offseason workouts, Lomax and his staff made it clear that everything they did–whether in or out of school–was not only going to be representative of them, the football team, but of the school and the community as well.  They needed to have pride in what they were wearing–and that was the Rockville uniform.

“We have a new attitude this year,” senior tight end Andrew Pace said. “A lot of us stopped caring at the end of last year, but that won’t happen again. We have pride in our team and our school and we’re not gonna give up. Our coaches won’t let us.”

The coaches’ message and the players’ new attitude began working this summer July 20-22 at the annual Shepherd University Football Camp.  A visiting professor from the University of Chicago asked to speak with Lomax to inform him that the night before, while walking back from dinner, five of his players had noticed her and her colleagues unloading their cars in the pouring rain, and stopped to help them carry their things to their rooms. The act was completely unprompted by coaches, who did not know until the next day when the professor told them.

“The kids have bought into the program, which is a direct reflection of the coach. Any time you have a coaching change, there’s a new direction, and this one is a positive one. We’re going in the right direction,” athletic director Michael Hayes said.

In addition to building character, Lomax hopes to strengthen the presence of the football team within the community and further the sense of family already felt by many at Rockville.

“We only have 1400 people here, so everyone knows everyone,” Lomax said.  “It brings us a lot closer together so people open up and trust you more. That’s where we have to build our foundation. Once we have that in place then I think we’ll be good for the foreseeable future.”

As part of building this foundation, Lomax brought in his alumni coaches and hosted a senior varsity lunch during preseason to strengthen the bond between his coaches and veteran players. Cheerleaders, poms and their families were invited to the team picnic Aug. 25 with face painting, barbecuing and outdoor games in hopes of making it more of a family function and getting the younger kids involved.

“We’re becoming more of a family. Coach [Lomax] has opened up to us and told us things about his life he’s never told anybody,” junior cornerback Marquez Piatt said.  “Our coaches have our backs and we have their backs. We’re brothers, we’re all one.”