It’s been a busy last few days for Frank Sandoval. After coaching the defensive line at Cedar Hill for the last four years, he’s now getting the run to his own program. Last week, Sandoval was hired as the next head coach of the Mexia Blackcats and the Farmersville native quickly getting settled into the 4A school and town outside of Waco.
“Everyone here (in Mexia) has been so welcoming and friendly,” Sandoval said, “I come from a small town so you definitely get that hometown, welcoming feeling here as well.”
Sandoval takes over for Lamonte Chambers, who was reassigned by Mexia ISD after five seasons as head coach. Last season, Mexia finished 2-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years. As Sandoval looks to put his own stamp on the program, he is excited to get to work with the support he has behind him.
“The administration has been nothing but supportive,” Sandoval said, “Our superintendent, Dr. Lyle DuBus has been extremely supportive and we’ve gone over some plans and what he sees for the future for our kids. I’ve also spoken with Principal Val Sunday and she’s also been extremely supportive and wants to see our kids be successful.”
Sandoval also had a strong support system at Cedar Hill from head coaches past and present. The newest head coach of the Longhorns, Carlos Lynn, called the Mexia job “a great opportunity” for Sandoval and also said of him, “He is a hard working coach and truly deserves this promotion.”
Sandoval also spoke highly of his old head coach Joey McGuire. After working with him on staff the last four years, he hopes to apply what he’s learned at Mexia, especially when it comes to teaching.
“I used to tell Coach McGuire that he was the best teacher I’ve ever been around because he would teach kids,” Sandoval said of his former head coach now at Baylor, “He would always make sure that kids understood the simple things like how to shake a recruiter’s hand, how to tie a tie, how to present themselves in front of other people, things like that. We practiced that everywhere, every day there at Cedar Hill and that’s something I feel like I’ve grown tremendously as a coach and teacher.”
Sandoval is still getting to know his new team and learning about what he has coming back in 2017. The Blackcats lose their starting quarterback from last year in Jaylen Gipson, but do return a number of rising upperclassmen on offense including Travion Carter, Joshua Beachum, Marcos Gonzalez and Davion Carter. They also return second team all-district safety Jaquay Martin on defense.
As for how Mexia will look, Sandoval said he’s taking a page from Cedar Hill’s “Turn The Horns Loose” motto that has become synonymous with the program.
“On the offensive side of the ball, we’ll run a lot of tempo and throw different formations at you but we’re also looking for a good balance. Defensively, we have to run up to the ball. We’re going to work to put our kids in simple situations where they can just go.”
Since winning the school’s lone state title in 1989, the Blackcats have been pretty frequent playoff participants but haven’t had quite that same success. Sandoval says he wants to change that and bring a winning culture to a school with plenty of tradition.
“When I started reaching out to people, I figured out very quickly there was a lot of pride in Mexia,” Sandoval said, “The community supports these kids and they want them to be successful. At the end of the day, our purpose and our goal is to help young men and women become successful and we just have to figure out a way to do that.”
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