Jeremy Gantt

Daily Sun photo/Mike Phillips

Blooming Grove head football coach and AD Jeremy Gantt, seen here in his office this week, is optimistic about his team as he begins his first season with the Lions after coming home to his alma mater. 

BLOOMING GROVE -- Jeremy Gantt looks right at home, sitting in his office, where his phone is ringing every few minutes.

It's the middle of July and there's a million things to do as the countdown for the 2021 high school football season has begun. Only this is like no other July for Gantt, who has come home to the Grove to begin his first year as a head coach.

"It has always intrigued me to come back to your home town and have success with your home town team," said Gantt, who graduated from Blooming Grove in 1996.

He has spent 17 years as an assistant coach, and he has been a successful offensive coordinator everywhere he has been. Sure, there have been opportunities to make the move to become a head coach, but nothing felt as right as Blooming Grove.

He made the decision with his wife, Dakota, during the holidays in December, and he will tell you today that it came down to Dax.

Gantt's a down-home Texan to his bones, a Grove kid who graduated from North Texas before putting together a strong career as an OC at Jacksboro, Clifton and at two schools in Wichita Falls, where he helped lead Wichita Falls City View and Wichita Falls to the playoffs. He won at City View by running the ball and then spread it out and won in the air at Wichita Falls.

City View hadn't been to the playoffs since 2002, but the Mavericks made it in 2013 (Gantt's first season) and went back in 2014. Gantt moved over to Wichita Falls High in 2016 and lit up the airways for four years before the Blooming Grove job became open.

Dax didn't play for either team in Wichita Falls. He wasn't even a year old when the Gantt family made the decision to come home to the Grove.

"I wanted my son to grow up in Blooming Grove. I wanted him to have that kind of small town life that I had," Gantt said. "I wanted to come home and be closer to family, and I wanted my kids to grow up here. It's a great feeling coming home."

Gantt said it was the right fit. Yup, just like a pair of worn out Levis.

Gantt doesn't just want to win on Friday nights, as BG's new athletic director, he wants every team to win, and has already seen a lot of success from the spring sports.

The Lady Lions softball team reached the playoffs again and had the district's MVP in freshman Ava Eldridge, and the baseball team had the best season on the diamond in Blooming Grove's history.

Gantt knows the kids on that baseball team who play football gained even more confidence from their success last spring. He wants winners who are confident.

Gantt isn't home for just his family. He wants to win, and he knows how. His teams in Wichita Falls had one thing in common -- they were always aggressive on offense, always putting pressure on the defense. 

That's not a scouting report for Mildred and Rice and the other teams in District 7-3A. It's just a fact of life for Gantt, who wants to get in the end zone early and often.

The 2021 Lions might just be that kind of team. They went unbeaten in the 7-3A race last fall but didn't win the district title because of a flawed system which didn't allow an option to make up a game lost because of COVID-19 issues. The Lions' only loss was a forfeit to Palmer, which won the district despite losing a game to Rice -- which lost to Blooming Grove 51-7. Yup, go figure??

"I like this team," Gantt said. "They have done a good job embracing this offense. The coaches here before me have done a good job and I'm trying to continue and build on what they've done. 

"I'm fired up," he said. "Blooming Grove is a great place to live, a great community and a great place to raise a family. I'm excited about coming home and excited about this football season."

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