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Messina's no April fool

This time it was Rob Scheidt's turn to wait.

Just a few weeks after the Merced football coach had everyone on campus asking him if he was staying or going to Clovis West, Scheidt spent the last two weeks wondering if he'd have to find a new defensive coordinator.

As it turns out, Jake Messina is staying put.

Despite being one of three finalists, Messina informed Elk Grove on Monday he was taking his name out of consideration for the school's head coach position.

"I'm very excited," Scheidt said. "Jake has done a good job for us. Anytime you have a guy that knows the game like Jake does and works hard, you want to keep him around.

"At the same time, you know you have an assistant that wants to be a head coach. I definitely encouraged him to pursue that.

"But I'm definitely glad he's staying."

Messina, who's been an assistant at Merced for six years, was in charge of a defense that surrendered just over 13 points per game last season.

With the possible departure of Messina, Scheidt had been mulling over contingency plans.

One plan was for Scheidt to hand over the offensive coordinator duties to assistant Steve Hobbs and take over the defense himself.

Scheidt's father, Tom, was also a possibility as a defensive coordinator.

The third option was bringing in a new coach.

"We had a few 'Plan Bs,' " Rob said. "The biggest factor in all those scenarios is that I'm also the quarterback coach.

"So if I would have moved to defense, we would have had to change that position and that was another concern."

Once again, the Merced players were happy to hear another coach was staying put.

"It's a trust thing," junior linebacker David Choe said. "We've had two coaches turn down two schools known for football.

"That says a lot about where we're going."