Cesar Chavez coach Jim Rattay, right, has had a long successful career that included coaching a young Jeff Decker (not pictured) at Mesa High long ago.

Courtesy of Elyria Sports Hall of Fame

Cesar Chavez coach Jim Rattay came to Arizona in the 1980s from Ohio with a reputation as disciplinarian who was a good motivator with an innovative offensive mind.

He instantly caught the ears of little Jackrabbits.

“We had a group of sophomores that really bought into what he was saying and by the time we were seniors we did really well, going to the semifinals,” said Mountain Pointe defensive coach Jeff Decker, and former Mesa Jackrabbit. “He’s a great coach and I respect him a lot.”

Decker gets an opportunity to coach against his mentor this week as the Pride heads to Chavez on Friday night.

He knows there will be some offensive schemes that will probably catch the Pride off guard. It is something Rattay, who lost 24-19 to the Pride in 2008, has always done whether he was winning state titles with Elyria Catholic in Ohio, Mesa, Desert Vista or Phoenix Christian.

“Nothing has changed,” said Decker, who was on Rattay's staff at Desert Vista. “He has been coaching along time and won a lot of football games. One of the best ones I’ve ever had.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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