Orlando named R-H football coach

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Randolph-Henry High School has announced Zach Orlando as its new head varsity football coach.

This is the first head coaching job at the high school varsity level for the 26-year-old Orlando.

“It’s something I’ve been working (toward) for about four years now, and I’m extremely excited about being here,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of possibility and potential with this team.”

Orlando has spent the last four years as an assistant coach at Nottoway High School.

Last season, he was the Cougars offensive coordinator, and he was their defensive coordinator in 2015.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything,” he said.

Bringing a wealth of on-field experience, he played for Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County and went on to have a four-year career at Bridgewater College. His main position was as an offensive lineman.

Orlando will take over a Randolph-Henry squad that finished the 2016 season with a 2-8 record, including a 40-26 home loss to Nottoway in its regular season finale.

With both the Statesmen and the Cougars being part of the James River District, Orlando has had the opportunity to coach against Randolph-Henry each of the past four years, giving him some perspective on the program.

“I think they have always had some big linemen, and I think that they’ve always had one or two guys that are special with the football in their hands from an athletic standpoint, but I think that they have lacked the technique or discipline to make those little plays over the course of a game that add up in order to get a win,” he said.

Giving some insight into his coaching philosophy, Orlando said Randolph-Henry is going to be aggressive on both sides of the ball, looking to make big plays when opportunities present themselves, and practice will feature equal emphasis on offense and defense.

“Both units need just as much work as the other, and we’re going to put a heavy emphasis on special teams,” he said.

Orlando will also serve as an alternative education teacher.

He was officially hired May 11, and his contract as coach and teacher begins July 1.