THE PREPS : Noji to Take a Year Off From Woodbridge Post : Gibson to Coach Football on Interim Basis

Gene Noji, the only football coach for Woodbridge High School in its seven-year history, has been granted a one-year sabbatical from coaching beginning Feb. 1.

Rick Gibson, Woodbridge offensive coordinator, has been named interim coach until Noji returns. Noji will continue teaching in the physical education department at Woodbridge.

Noji led the Warriors to a 13-1 record and the Desert-Mountain Conference championship last fall. The Warriors also reached the playoffs in 1983 and 1986, losing in the second round both seasons.

"I've been in coaching a long, long time and I wanted more time to spend with my family," Noji said. "The nucleus for another good team is there. I'll still do some consulting for Rick, but basically I wanted some time off on my own."

Dave Cowan, Woodbridge athletic director, emphasized that the sabbatical will be for only one season.

"This is something Gene has been planning since the third game of the season," Cowan said. "We'll miss Gene, but fortunately, he'll be back."

The 1987 season was Woodbridge's finest despite three changes at quarterback and a lack of star players.

The Warriors outscored four playoff opponents, 121-35, including a 40-0 victory over host Atascadero in the second round. It was Atascadero's worst loss at home.

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