LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley will not be represented by a team in this weekend’s Southern Section football championships. It will be represented by a coach. Longtime Antelope Valley resident Russell Gordon is a second-year coach at Campbell Hall of North Hollywood – an elite San Fernando Valley private school that counts the celebrity Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twins among its alumni – where he has his team in the Southern Section title game for the first time in school history. Campbell Hall (10-3) plays host to Rio Hondo of Arcadia (11-1) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Birmingham High in Lake Balboa. The Vikings have rushed for more than 1,500 yards each of the past two years. His coaching success has caused colleagues to take notice. “It obviously raises your stock when you play in games like that, he’s done a great job with that program,” Palmdale coach Jeff Williams said. “The funny thing is when we first heard he took the job everybody around here was saying ‘where the heck is Campbell Hall?’ ” His energetic approach and enthusiasm, by Gordon’s own admission, border on obsessive. “If you go out for dinner with Russell, expect to draw up some Xs and Os on paper napkins and talk some football,” Williams said. “That’s just the way he is.” Said Campbell Hall fullback/linebacker Nathan Brown: “He has more dedication to the sport than anyone I know. Even during the offseason, he was constantly preoccupied with improving the football program.” Gordon hopes to someday coach closer to home. He was a finalist for the Lancaster vacancy in 2003, when the school hired Jeff Cortez, whom Gordon acknowledges is among the area’s most-respected coaches. Gordon said a commute that sometimes takes him as long as three hours round-trip has been hard on his personal life. He lives in Lancaster with his wife, Veronica, their two sons, R.J. (11 years old) and Derrick (14 months), and 4-year-old daughter, Allissa. “I’m giving up precious time, but I’m doing what I love, and at the end of the day, it’s all worth it, because I’m helping kids,” Gordon said. Gideon Rubin, (818)713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Gordon remains part of the extended Antelope Valley coaching community. He stood alongside his High Desert coaching colleagues at Palmdale’s first-round Div. IV playoff game against Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. “It’s really exciting,” Gordon said. “I wish all the Golden League teams were still alive (in the playoffs) too. It’s kind of neat. I wish football was year-round. It’s a passion of mine.” Gordon played at Highland for three years and one year at Rosamond, where he rushed for and threw for more than 1,000 yards. He was an All-Foothill Conference defensive back and second-team All-America punter at Antelope Valley College, where he played with current area head coaches Chris Hinton (Desert) and Todd Fink (Boron) and Eastside defensive coordinator Richard Lear. Gordon has brought a little bit of the High Desert playing style with him, adding a running game to compliment Campbell Hall’s passing-oriented spread offense.