By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Jacob Peterson’s fondest moment came this past Fall when, as defensive coordinator of the Newberg Tigers, traveled down to Medford and took down the third-ranked South Medford Panthers during the 2016-2017 season.
Stunning the squad in Spiegelberg Stadium on that November night as Newberg reached the 6A second-round before falling to Tigard 56-26.
The next year Peterson left for Sheridan, then a 3A program, turning them from a 2-7 team the year before to 5-4 in 2017. He followed his debut with turning the Spartans into a perennial 2A power when Sheridan dropped a level, going 8-2 overall and 6-0 in the Tri-River League. League title and all, Ol’ Sparty reached the 2A Quarterfinals before falling to eventual Champion in Kennedy.
“Sheridan was a tremendous experience. I can’t thank the kids enough for their commitment and work ethic in the weight room that helped to turn around the program so quickly en route to earning our first league title in 36 years,” said Peterson. “Taking on my first head coaching role and experiencing what it takes to run a program was a steep learning curve, and it is an experience you can’t get anywhere except by learning on the job.”
Peterson knows how much both Sheridan’s community and that in Newberg meant to him as he returned to Tiger Country in 2019, leading a defense that allowed a 6A-low 143 points to as he takes over a Dayton program that has missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
“I am very excited to be taking over the program at Dayton. This is a program and community with a rich history, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to help this school continue to achieve at a very high level,” Peterson starts.
“I am very grateful to the Newberg and Sheridan school districts and their programs. I respect them both very much for helping me to become a better coach, and I hold them both in high regards. Having been at Newberg for five years to start my coaching career, I made many lifelong friends who have pushed me to be better.”
It was hard for him to leave Newberg again admits Peterson, especially after the year they had. One of the best seasons in the program’s history points out the new Pirate Head Coach, but knew the benefits of learning and seeing different systems under Tigers Head Coach Kevin Hatin.
“Going back to Newberg under Hastin was very beneficial in learning and seeing different systems. We put together a top defense in the State last year, and one of the best seasons in Newberg school history,” said Peterson. “I love the coaching staff and teachers at Newberg, and I was not anticipating leaving them again so soon.
“However, great head coaching opportunities do not come often, and I could not give up my chance to help Dayton build this program. I feel that I have finally found a program that I can be at long-term and build a foundation within the community. We are going to get kids excited about Dayton football.”
Now, with the uncertainty of the season ahead with Coronavirus, Peterson will build his staff. Finding the best coaches in the area who will help his new student-athletes become the best versions of themselves.
“We are going to invest in their development and their infrastructure to help them have the greatest experience possible while playing for Dayton,” said Peterson.