Former Blue Devil takes over football program

First Byline: 
Michael Young-Sports Editor

Williston-Elko High's search for a new athletic director and head football coach took about a month.
On Tuesday, May 20 during its school board meeting the Blue Devils went in-house and promoted former Williston-Elko graduate and longtime assistant Derek Youngblood as its new athletic director and head football coach.
Youngblood replaces Dwayne Garrick, who stepped down in April after seven seasons to become offensive coordinator at River Bluff High in Lexington.
Youngblood said he's excited about the opportunity to take over at his Alma mater.
"I would like to thank the school board and administration for this great opportunity," Youngblood said.
"I'm very happy that it worked out for me and my family.
Garrick said Youngblood was a good choice by Williston-Elko High.
"Derek is a very close friend of mine. He's played a key role in helping building a solid football program here at Williston-Elko ," Garrick said. "I believe under his leadership and direction there's no doubt this program will continue to thrive."
Youngblood, a 1999 graduate of Williston-Elko High, played on the offensive line for both former Blue Devil coaches Dean Boyd and Charlie Combs.
Youngblood was a captain on the 1999 W-E team that went 13-2 and played Timmonsville High for the state championship.
Youngblood's coaching career began in 2000 while attending USC-Aiken. He spent one year as an assistant under Combs. After Combs' departure, Youngblood worked as offensive coordinator and strength conditioning coach under Blue Devils' new head coach Justin Gentry.
Gentry stayed at Williston-Elko for only three seasons. But during that stretch, he led the Blue Devils to a mark of 21-13 which included three playoff apperances
Gentry left Williston-Elko to become head coach to Lake City High in Florence.
Youngblood joined Gentry's staff where he served as assistant varsity head football coach, offensive coordinator, junior varsity head football coach and strength and conditioning coach.
In 2008, Youngblood returned to Williston-Elko High as an assistant athletic director and offensive coordinator under Garrick.
Teaming with Garrick for six seasons, the Blue Devils posted 65-13 record with a state championship and five region titles.
During that stretch, the Blue Devils were rated as one of top offensives in the state. In 2010, the Blue Devils set a school record for most points scored (714) and total yards in a season (6401).
Working primarily with offenses, Youngblood aided the development of former Blue Devils Rafael Bush-New Orleans Saints-Taylor Hearn-Clemson University, Jacob Vargo-All-Region, Dexter Staley-Shrine Bowl, Kendrick Salley-South Carolina, Tamyrn Garrick-Presbyterian College and Quantel Mack-North Greenville College.