New Head Coach Watch: Class 5A Division I

by Artie Guerrero

In any realignment year, the number of coaching changes in Texas high school football takes a leap and this off-season was no different as a total of 221 UIL schools from Class 6A down to Class 2A will have new coaches in the 2018 season.

Who are the teams with new leaders on the sidelines that we are keeping the closest eye on when things kick off on August 30? The storylines are varied and numerous across the state and each program has different challenges ahead, but the beauty of Texas high school football is there’s always something interesting going on in our great state.

Is there a team or new head coach we left out that we should look at? Let me know matt.stepp@texasfootball.com

White Settlement Brewer

That buzz you are hearing just west of Fort Worth is Brewer Bear fans who are as excited as they’ve ever been since the days Ben Davis roamed the sidelines. The reason for that optimism is the arrival of former DeSoto head coach Todd Peterman who brings state chanoionship pedigree to the table as he tries to take Brewer from a team that has to scrap and claw just to get into the playoffs into a regional contender. The Bears aren’t starting from the bottom of the barrel by any means after posting a 6-5 record a year ago and returning seven starters on both sides of the ball led by solid skill talent with WR Jahrad Taylor, RB Justin Davis and QB Carson Ingram. The new district will be tough with Boswell and Crowley on the slate along with ever improving Azle. The big thing to watch for the Bears will the lower levels. If you start to see some gaudy numbers put up at the sub-varsity level (which haven’t been done in a LONG time at Brewer), that’s a great sign the Bears will be a team to watch in 2018 and beyond.

Willis

New Wildkats head coach Mike Wall has his work cut out for him in 2018 as he embarks on his first head coaching job at Willis. Wall was a wildly successful assistant coach at both Georgetown and Lake Travis and now he takes his turn leading his own program. There’s lots of skill talent to work with at Willis, but there are two big questions going into 2018 and that’s at QB and in the trenches. It’ll be interesting to see how Wall navigates those challenges in what many consider one of the state’s toughest districts in Class 5A Division I with Lufkin (Class 6A Quarter-Finalist) and College Station (Class 5A Division II State Champion) as the headliners.

Hutto

It’s now or never for Hutto,  senior-laden team with playoff experience that has eyes on a state title in 2018. The Hippos were caught a bit off-guard this off-season with the sudden resignation of former head coach Steve Van Meter, but Hutto ISD made what most consider the smart move in promoting offensive coordinator Brad LaPlante to head coach. Expectations in Hutto are on-par with back when Jeremy Kerley was the team’s signal caller, but can they live up to that after last season’s 11-2 mark? We will certainly know more about Hutto early on as the Hippos have a non-district schedule that includes powerful West Mesquite, Houston Lamar, one of El Paso’s top teams in Del Valle and always-tough Liberty Hill. Then once district starts, it won’t get much easier when in back-to-back games they take on Georgetown and Cedar Park, luckily there’s a bye week for Hutto between those two games.

Corpus Christi Carroll

After what can only be described as a disaster of a 2017 season, one of the premier programs in Corpus Christi ISD will look to pick themselves up off the mat in 2018 under new head coach Juan Rodriguez. The Tigers won just one game a year ago, but return half of their starters along with 28 total letterman to try and take a step forward and be back on playoff contention in District 15-5A Division I. Several sophomores not only played starting roles, but saw significant time a year ago, most notably RB Jeremiah Earls and versatile Marlon Crockett, who could move to QB in 2018. The district is deeper than a year ago with the addition of the Victoria schools, so Carroll will have to take a major leap forward if they want to contend for a playoff spot.

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