Alto didn't look far to find a replacement for veteran head football coach and athletic director Keith Gardner.

Alto offered offensive coordinator Paul Gould the dual role and he accepted Monday night, Gould told in a text around 10 p.m.

Gould inherits an Alto team that reached the Class A Division I Region III final in 2012, when the Yellowjackets finished 11-3 and fell to eventual state finalist Mart 62-42 in the regional title game.

Alto enters the 2013 season with a strong backfield tandem in running back Jacolby Whitaker and quarterback Zac Sturns. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Whitaker ran for 2,696 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2012, when the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Sturns ran for 1,265 yards and 13 scores while throwing for 939 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Alto carries a 25-year streak of winning seasons into 2013. The Jackets have reached the playoffs 21 times in that span, including 20 of the last 21 years.

Gardner was a huge part of that during the past eight seasons, leading the Jackets to an 80-19 record and consecutive Class A state championships in 2006-07. Alto went 28-0 in those two seasons.

Gardner took Alto to the playoffs every year and won at least eight games each season, losing no more than four in a campaign.