UPDATED: Ziola tells why he stepped down at Los Altos


UPDATE: Former Los Altos coach Dale Ziola put out a release on Friday morning explaining his decision to step down after six seasons, the title of which was “My wife and kids miss me, and I miss them.” Ziola went on to explain that the overwhelming duties of coaching combined with being a family man grew to be too much, although he did not rule out coaching elsewhere in a lesser role. Ziola also thanked the six classes of players who helped his run at LA be so successful.

The man responsible for being Los Altos High School’s football program back from the dead has walked away after completing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent area history.

Dale Ziola resigned Thursday as Conquerors varsity football coach after six seasons, during which he guided two teams to the CIF Southern Section finals and won a league championship. Ziola was 48-24.

This fall was Ziola’s finest work as he led Los Altos to a 13-1 record and Hacienda League championship. The Conquerors reached the Division 6 championship game before losing to Paraclete last Friday. Los Altos also reached the finals in 2014.

Los Altos is one of the Valley’s most-storied programs, having won 11 CIF championships in 16 finals appearances. The Conquerors had hit hard times before Ziola, a little known coach who grew up outside the area, took over 2011.

In 2010, Los Altos went 0-10. In Ziola’s first year, the Conquerors were the surprise of the town by going 8-4 in a dramatic change of fortunes. Ziola brought some of his own touches to the program, like holding the first practice of summer at midnight.

Ziola said Thursday that he won’t comment on his resignation until Friday. He has looked into other jobs in the past, most recently at California High in Whittier, which is near his home.

Los Altos will also say goodbye to a stellar senior class, which accounted for just about starting position on this season’s roster. Los Altos last won a CIF championship in 2003 under head coach Greg Gano. After Gano left in 2007, the Conquerors turned to former player Felipe Aguilar and then Jim Arellanes, but neither could get anything going.

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Arroyo converts gutsy 2-point conversion to win CIF championship + Aram commentary

When life presents you with an opportunity, you grab it by the throat. That’s exactly what Arroyo did in Saturday’s CIF championship win over Rancho Mirage. And that’s exactly why Arroyo is a champion today and for eternity.

What took place on Saturday night was a life lesson as much as it was a championship moment. It’s one that football can teach better than any sport. It applies, or at least it should, to everything you do. For the rest of their lives, the Arroyo football team will know that when you get a chance to create your own destiny, you do it. And you do it with aplomb.

A job you want? Go after it hard.

A girl you want? Go after her hard.

A goal you have? Go reach it no matter what.

A man has to be man enough to do what Arroyo did last night. And he’s got to be man enough to live with the consequences, good or bad, regrets and all. Life will certainly throw its share of curveballs at the Arroyo players in the coming years. But they’re going to better equipped than most to deal with them.

Had Arroyo failed on its two-point try, perhaps some would have questioned head coach Jim Singiser’s decision to go for two. But they’d be wrong. Singiser made the right move, win or lose. He believed in his team. He went against the grain (to a degree) because he thought his line could protect, his quarterback could get outside the pocket and his receiver could make a tough catch going to the ground.

This “gamble” came on the biggest stage at arguably one of the top two or three biggest moments in Arroyo football history. The Knights made their move. It paid off. They’ll now enjoy the spoils forever. Not a bad a trade off. Lesson learned.

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