This Week in TXHSFB: Bridgeport, Luling, Merkel, Nocona and Comanche make hires

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JD Martinez Leaves Sherman for Bridgeport

The trend of Class 5A and 6A head coaches going to smaller schools continued this offseason with Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez leaving to become the AD/HFC at Class 4A-Division II Bridgeport.

Martinez spent five seasons leading the Bearcats in 5A-Division I, posting a 24-28 record and leading Sherman to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.

Martinez moving to Bridgeport puts him a bit closer to his hometown of Granbury, but he’ll have his work cut out for him turning around a Bridgeport program that hasn’t posted a winning record since 2014 and won just a single game in 2020.

Mexia Interviews Proceeding

Mexia, who is looking to hire a new head coach for the second straight offseason, started their interviews on Tuesday as three candidates were brought in Tuesday and three others were brought in on Wednesday.

Candidates include one internal candidate, two DFW assistant coaches, two head coaches from Southeast Texas and an assistant from the Austin area.

Sources indicate that original field of six has been narrowed down to three finalists will be in this week to interview, the finalists include a current DFW assistant, a current Austin area assistant and a current Southeast Texas head coach.

Luling Hires Nate Langford

Luling will turn to former Seguin defensive coordinator Nate Langford to turn the Eagles program around after three straight winless seasons.

Luling’s last win on the field came in November 2017. They’ve lost 30 straight games since that win.

Langford, a Texas State graduate, had spent time as an assistant at San Marcos before going to Seguin working under now New Braunfels Canyon head coach Travis Bush.

He replaces Stacey Martin who returned to West Texas to join the coaching staff at Midland High.

Another Kates Becomes a Head Coach

Merkel, who is hiring their fourth head coach in four seasons, named Fort Worth Paschal offensive coordinator Will Kates as their next HFC/AD.

Kates, who was a finalist for the Merkel job last year, gets his shot to be a head coach. He’ll follow in the footsteps of his two older brothers, Ged, who is the head coach at Richland, and Matt, who is the head coach at LaGrange.

Based on my research, this is the first time we’ve had three brothers all be head coaches at the same time in Texas High School Football.

Nocona Hires Blake Crutsinger

Nocona didn’t need to look too far for its next HFC/AD as they went just east on Highway 82 and named Gainesville offensive coordinator Blake Crutsinger to that dual position. He replaces Rick Weaver, who departed earlier this month to join the staff at Class 6A Weatherford.

Crustsinger, a Lindsay alum, began his coaching career as a defensive line coach at Nocona back in 2008. He’s spent time as an assistant at Archer City, Lindsay, Burleson, Bonham and Farmersville before joining James Polk’s staff in Gainesville back in 2017.

Comanche Alum Returns Home

Comanche ISD looked way south and to one of their own to be their next HFC/AD as Carrizo Springs head coach Joaquin Escobar was named HFC/AD at Comanche on Tuesday morning.

Escobar, a 1998 graduate of Comanche HS, spent one season as the head coach at Carrizo Springs and also spent time as the head coach at Class 6A Edinburg. Escobar has been an assistant at Comanche, Odessa Permian, Midland Lee, La Marque, Beeville Jones, San Antonio Jay and Taft.

San Augustine Quickly Promotes Tory Barnes to HFC/AD

San Augustine didn’t waste much time in replacing Marty Murr, who left earlier this month to take the HFC/AD job at Class 4A Jarrell.

SAISD promoted offensive coordinator and head boys basketball coach Tory Barnes to the HFC/AD role to replace Murr, who went 58-20 in six years at San Augustine and led the Wolves to three straight state semifinal appearances.

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