FNF Week 3: Coach Vanatta brings new life to Rock Bridge

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COLUMBIA - In just two weeks, the Rock Bridge Bruins have already matched their win total of a year ago.

Now, with a rivalry game against Battle coming up, first-year head coach Van Vanatta has his players ready for the challenge.

"You can just tell that their belief in themselves, their confidence in themselves was down a little bit," Vanatta said. "I think the last couple weeks have helped with that, but it doesn't really matter, we have to take care of our business this week."

Vanatta previously coached at Hazelwood Central, where he won 56 games and two district titles over six seasons. His move to Columbia, however, was all about his family.

"I want to raise my family in a good community and I just always felt Columbia was a good place to do that," Vanatta said.

With two wins in two weeks, Vanatta's players have noticed a difference with their new coach.

"We went from kind of being all about us and all about me to more about the team and team success over everything. That's what he preaches now," said senior safety Evan Ratermann.

Off the field, Vanatta spends most of his free time with his family.

"It was a first for me this past Sunday having a day off and getting to go play golf with my kids. That was pretty awesome," Vanatta said. "Even though my golf game wasn't up to par, I enjoyed that."

Despite being in Columbia for only a short time, Vanatta already feels at home.

"I kind of came in upbeat and I feel positive and I think that's just Rock Bridge as a whole," Vanatta said. "The way they made me feel and the way they made my family feel, it's just been awesome and we're glad to be here, there's no doubt."