This Week in TXHSFB: Small School Shakeups in Gruver and Falls City; Keller Fossil Ridge Hires; Slaton Has Its Guy

Slaton High School (Paul Roberts)

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Slaton Names Wichita Falls Hirschi DC as Head Coach

South Plains native Lawrence Johnson makes the move close to home as the former Wichita Falls Hirschi defensive coordinator was named head football coach/athletic director at Slaton High School on Thursday night.

Johnson, a native of Levelland, has experience in Slaton as he spent time as an assistant for the Tigers. He’s also coached at Tornillo, Jasper, Alpine and at Lewisville before making the move with current Hirschi head coach Antonio Wiley, up to Wichita Falls.

Merkel Lands Falls City’s Britt Hart

There was big news out of the Big Country on Monday afternoon as Merkel ISD named Falls City head coach Britt Hart as their next HFC/AD.

Hart, who posted an impressive 59-12 record in five seasons at Falls City, replaces Brian Ramsey, who left Merkel after one season to take over at Morton as they look to restart 11-man football in 2021.

Hart was the offensive coordinator for a state title team in 2013 at Wellington prior to heading south to Falls City.

Terry Felderhoff Leaves Gruver to Take Over at Era

In a bit of a surprise move, Gruver head coach Terry Felderhoff announced to his team Wednesday that he was leaving to take over a total rebuilding job at Era High School, northwest of Denton.

Felderhoff owns a career 110-72 record in 16 seasons as a head coach, with 14 of those years coming at Gruver in two separate stints.

Felderhoff led Gruver from 2004-2007 and then spent two seasons at Valley View, before returning to Gruver in the spring of 2010. Felderhoff led the Greyhounds to the 2018 2A-Division II state title game and has an impressive 32-10 record the past three years at Gruver.

He takes over an Era program that hasn’t posted a 10-win season since 1998 and was 0-11 a year ago. Felderhoff cited a need to be closer to family as the big reason for the move as he has ties to the North Texas area.

Denton Guyer Defensive Coordinator Derek Ramsey Named at Keller Fossil Ridge

After a lengthy search for a new head football coach, Keller ISD on Thursday afternoon named Denton Guyer defensive coordinator Derek Ramsey as the school’s next head football coach. Ramsey replaces Tony Bacarini who in mid-February announced his retirement after seventeen seasons at FRHS, including the last thirteen as head coach.

Ramsey comes to Keller ISD with impressive credentials as he’s been at Guyer for fifteen years as an assistant coach, the last twelve he’s spent as defensive coordinator and head football coach. He’s been a part of a pair of state title teams at Guyer and two other teams that advanced to the state championship game.

“We are fired up to bring Coach Ramsey on board at Fossil Ridge, he brings a high level of experience from a very successful program. Coach Ramsey is great at helping student athletes achieve individual goals along with teams goals and we think he’s going to do a fantastic job,” said Keller ISD Eric Persyn.

“I am very excited to be joining the Fossil Ridge family and this incredible football program,” Ramsey said in a Keller ISD press release. “I’m looking forward to getting to know our Panthers athletes and their families, and to continue the tradition of excellence that FRHS has established over the years.”

When asked what was the draw the Keller Fossil Ridge draw Ramsey said, “I am very familiar with the team, since we were in the same district. They had a tough year last year but they could have easily been 5-5 if things would have broken right, I have always heard good things about them and Coach Bacarini did a fantastic job year after year. It’s so hard to get a head football coaching job in Texas and for my first one to be at Fossil Ridge, I’m incredibly fortunate,” said Coach Ramsey.




Thrall Promotes Defensive Coordinator Rick Porter

Thrall ISD at a board meeting Thursday night announced defensive coordinator Rick Porter as their next head football coach/athletic director, replacing Jason Cole who left to take over at Quanah. Porter has seven seasons of head coaching experience from 1998-2004 at Detroit and Quitman where he posted an impressive 64-20 overall record.

Booker Promotes Jonathan Lambright to Head Coach

Booker ISD is hopeful their revolving door at the head football coach position will end with the promotion of assistant coach Jonathan Lambright on Thursday evening.

Lambright, who will be the program’s third head coach in three seasons, does have prior experience as a head coach having led Bovina to an 8-3 record in 2017.

Booker, which has one of the state’s smallest enrollments for a school that plays 11-man football, has struggled in recent years having won just seven games in the past five seasons.

Texas 7-on-7 Cancelled for 2020

For the first time since 1997, there will be no Texas 7-on-7 State Champion crowed this summer as the Texas 7-on-7 Board of Directors announced the 2020 championships, scheduled to be held in late in June in College Station were cancelled as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the closing of all Texas schools for the remainder of the year and the UIL quickly followed suit a few hours later cancelling spring sports. It was a long shot for 7-on-7 to be played in June, but as late as Saturday morning several coaches on the board held out hope that the summer activity could be salvaged.

“We want to be in line with the UIL and THSCA, on Friday when the governor announced that every school was going to be closed for the year and with some districts whose school years that goes into June, we just felt like it was the prudent thing to go ahead and cancel our events for this year,” said Texas 7-on-7 president and Rowlett head coach Doug Stephens.

After some optimism early on Friday that 7-on-7 State Qualifying could be salvaged this summer, the winds of change began to blow in Saturday evening as word began to filter of a possible Monday announcement cancelling Texas 7-on-7 events. “We are disappointed for sure, but we want our kids, their families and everyone to be safe,” said Coach Stephens.

With one of the summer’s big events off the table, Texas High School Football coaches, players and fans will now await the UIL’s guidance on what types of summer strength and conditioning will be allowed if/when the state begins to loosen social distancing guidelines which were put into place in mid-March.

The next big off-season marker for the summer will be the annual Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) Coaching School and Convention scheduled for July 19-21 in San Antonio, as of late last week the THSCA announced that coaching school was still scheduled to proceed as scheduled.


Matt Stepp is the Texas High School Football Inside for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Find him on Twitter: @Matt_Stepp817.

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