PIEDMONT -- After holding the assistant head varsity football coaching position at James Logan High for seven seasons, Scott Coats was looking for a small school to coach.

"I always wanted to be a head coach in a small community," said Coats, who was an assistant coach at Virginia high schools for five seasons. "I came from back East in small schools, and I enjoyed that."

Coats is now coaching at a much smaller school than Logan. He lives in the Montclair area, so Piedmont High is ideal for him. He won't be the only change on Witter Field this season.

"It is a complete overhaul of both schemes and the coaching staffs," Coats said.

Piedmont finished last season with four losses and a 5-6 overall record (1-4 in the West Alameda County Conference-Shoreline Division). Obviously, Coats is not dwelling in the past.

"I want to look forward, not back, but they were pretty banged up at key positions," Coats said.

Offensively, the Highlanders will be incorporating a scheme that is very familiar to San Francisco 49ers fans -- the Pistol.

"The Pistol is a really trendy offense, but we had been running it at Logan for four years. I think it is a real solid all-around offense," Logan said.

Pacing the offense will be senior Spencer Kim.

"He's a smart kid who has really learned his progressions and can make all the throws, and I'm really excited about that. In addition, he can run. ... He's one of our fastest guys ... He is the dynamic quarterback we need," Coats said.

Michael Tam is leading a running back by committee situation for the Highlanders, and sophomore Gabe Watson will also get some carries. Watson and fast senior Chad Finkel lead the receiving corps. Left tackle Andrew Jara and guard Jason Duecker will anchor the offensive line.

Defensively, the 4-4 attack zone will include Jara and end Ted Adams on the line.

Linebacker Watson can also put pressure on quarterbacks, while Fiachra Collins leads the inside linebackers. Junior cornerback Cole Gruendl leads the secondary.

"We are very excited that our first test will be against the defending (North Coast Section) Division IV champs," said Coats, referring to the Highlanders' opener Aug. 30 at Justin-Siena-Napa. "I have high hopes (for the season). I believe we will continue to grow throughout the season and the goal is to get better each week."

Schedule

8/30 at Justin-Siena-Napa 7 p.m.
9/6 at Moreau Catholic 7 p.m.
9/13 ALBANY 7 p.m.
9/20 at Healdsburg 7:30 p.m.
10/4 RICHMOND 7 p.m.
10/11 SAN LORENZO* 7 p.m.
10/18 at Alameda* 7 p.m.
10/25 TENNYSON* 7 p.m.
11/1 ARROYO* 7 p.m.
11/9 at Mt. Eden* 1:45 p.m.

Home games in CAPS

*WACC-Shoreline game

More football coverage

Look for more high school football preview stories in next week's Piedmonter and Montclarion, and online at www.insidebayarea.com/high-school-sports