As Edinboro football coach, Apollo-Ridge grad Jake Nulph putting a focus on A-K Valley

Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 6:59 PM

When Apollo-Ridge grad Jake Nulph was hired as the coach of the Edinboro football team in January, he knew there was one area of Western Pennsylvania he wanted to focus on when it came to recruiting

“Whether it’s Apollo, Kiski, Leechburg, Burrell, Valley, I mean you name it, Freeport, Knoch,” Nulph said. “I mean, I know all of these schools and all of the coaches there and the relationships. If you look at my track record from the time I started coaching in 2005, everywhere I’ve been we’ve always had kids from the A-K Valley.”

Nulph, who still lives in Apollo, has the roots and knows what types of kids he can get from the surrounding area. He displayed that during the most recent recruiting period when he signed Burrell’s Mikey Scherer and Deer Lakes’ Jack Hollibaugh.

Scherer was the first. The 6-foot, running back/linebacker who had more than 80 tackles and produced more than 1,000 yards rushing committed to the Fighting Scots on Jan. 28.

“He’s a throwback tough, hard-nosed, works his tail off, a guy that you want in your program,” Nulph said. “He’s a high-production, low-maintenance kid and that’s exactly what I’m looking for here at Edinboro.”

A few days later, Hollibaugh, a 6-1, 220-pounder who contributed on both sides of the bal, announced his commitment.

“He’s a steal,” Nulph said. “He’s a big athlete, and he’s a tough. Same type of kid as Scherer. He’s a hard-nosed kid, and that’s what the A-K Valley provides: tough, hard-nosed football players who are low maintenance. They work very hard.”

Scherer was overlooked in the recruiting process, and Nulph identified him as a player who could contribute. Despite Edinboro being Scherer’s only offer, he was happy to see a coach realize what the area has to offer.

“I feel like there hasn’t been too much recruiting, especially in our conference for a while,” Scherer said. “But now, there are kids that are getting recruited from here, and it’s pretty cool.”

Hollibaugh received a few other offers but wound up choosing Edinboro because of the opportunities he would have. Other schools had seen him as a defensive end, but Hollibaugh said he preferred offense, and Nulph will give him that opportunity.

“I’m very excited about that,” Hollibaugh said. “I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential by any means, and I believe that college will bring that out of me with all of the competition. I’m pretty excited to see what I can do.”

When he was getting recruited, Hollibaugh said he believed Nulph understood the type of players he was getting.

“From experience, I think he knows what it’s about and not a bunch of coaches really do,” Hollibaugh said. “He’s been here, so he gets it, the type of talent that comes out of this area.”

This is just the beginning for Nulph — who helped lead his team to a 9-0 record in 2000 — and he is looking forward to the opportunity of continuing to do it in the future.

“The A-K Valley, for me, is home,” Nulph said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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