Seth Parr knows a thing or two about engineering turnarounds. Prior to his current stint as the head coach of Lubbock Coronado, Parr led Amarillo Caprock to a playoff berth in 2010. It was the first time the Longhorns had been in the postseason in 35 years.
Fast forward to 2016 and Parr’s Mustangs put together one of the biggest improvements in the state finishing 11-2 and winning an area championship after finishing 3-7 the previous two years. It was also the first playoff appearance for Coronado since 2007. So what sparked the shift?
“Our kids bought into what we were trying to tell them and once we got our first win, we just got it going and started believing in themselves,” Parr said of his team’s eight-win jump from 2015.
That belief was evident in the way they played on the field. The turnaround for Coronado may have been a surprise to some, but Parr doesn’t see it that way. He thought it was only a matter of time before the Mustangs would take that next step and burst on the scene.
“We have a very talented team,” Parr said, “We got close the year before where we were ahead in the fourth quarter of a lot of games but once we started closing games, the momentum just snowballed. Our kids just continued to get better every day.”
As the Mustangs prepare for the upcoming season, they’ll look to lean on an explosive offense that averaged 400 yards and over 44 points per game. The catalysts of that offense are quarterback Qua Gray and running back Jarrod Compton and both are back for their senior seasons. After throwing for 3,867 yards and 49 touchdowns as a junior, expectations are high for the senior signal caller.
“Qua’s got great arm strength. He’s very smart, he knows where to go with the football and I think that’s the biggest progression he’s made since we started him as a sophomore,” Parr said of his quarterback, “The game has really slowed down for him and he knows the ins-and-outs of the offense and how to make it run.”
Those same expectations apply to Compton, who rushed for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s also shown some ability as a pass catcher and Parr wants to see more progress in that area.
“Jarrod understands the run game and protections,” Parr said, “Now, we’re working on improving his route running because we feel like he can really take that next step in his game.”
With seven offensive starters and six defensive starters returning, the upcoming season could shape up to be another big year for Lubbock Coronado. That said, the Mustangs also have to replace some key playmakers, particularly at receiver and at safety. Noah Sifrit and Cam Fair are gone on offense but Parr says he hopes that Devin Morrison and Blair Conwright are able to take the next step.
On defense, one of the state’s top tacklers in linebacker in Mason Montoya is also gone but he’s very high on rising junior linebacker Trey Stephens (185 tackles in 2016) and defensive lineman Miguel Garcia (26 sacks) to have big years up front.
Ultimately, Parr wants to come out of spring healthy and see improvement across the board. But, his message for his team is simple if they want to find similar success in 2017.
“We just can’t be complacent,” Parr said, “You have to go out there and make sure you get better every day. I know it’s simple to say but you have to stay humble and hungry.”
Brought to you by: