By: JOHN CANNON
(HIDALGO) – For more than two decades, David Duty has waited for that one chance to become a head coach.
The longtime Assistant Coach has worked under some of the finest coaches in the Rio Grande Valley and has had stops at Rio Grande City (1994-97), Hidalgo (1997-99), PSJA Memorial (1999-2000) and PSJA North (2005-2015).
But 21 years later, Duty finally got the call he has waited for as he was named the new Head Coach and Athletic Director at Hidalgo Early College on March 31st.
“I am very excited about getting this great opportunity,” said Duty. “It makes me feel good to finally get a head coaching job because there are some great assistant coaches out there and a ton of them are very deserving of a shot.”
“Now that I got a chance to be the head man at Hidalgo, I want to prove that notion to be true.”
While coming to Hidalgo, Duty ended up bringing two of those great assistant coaches along with him. Louie Navarro comes over from PSJA Memorial and will become the offensive coordinator for the Pirates and on the defensive side of the ball, Joseph Garcia comes over from Memorial as well and will take the reins as defensive coordinator.
“I am very fortunate to bring over two very quality assistants with me to Hidalgo,” said Duty. “Louie worked with me at PSJA North under Brush Bush and ended up going to PSJA Memorial to take over the play calling duties with Gus Cavazos. Louie is very knowledgeable of the spread offense which is what we plan on running and I have complete trust in his that he will do an outstanding job.”
“As for Joseph, I hit a home run getting him in here. He is a very knowledgeable defensive coach and worked under Joe Solis at Edcouch-Elsa as defensive coordinator and with Gus at Memorial as a special teams coach. He runs multiple sets on defense and is great at making adjustments on the fly. I am very blessed to have both guys here with me.”
Offensively, the Pirates return seven starters and their strength seems to be at the skill positions. Peter Quiroz returns as quarterback for Hidalgo this year and Duty feels he has a very special athlete in his signal caller.
“Over my years of coaching, I have had two quarterbacks that have really stood out when I tested them on my point scale that I came up with,” said Duty. “Austin Navarro and Noe Garcia were those two quarterbacks who played at PSJA North and both of them scored 250 points which is an amazing score.”
“But I have to say, Peter has scored as many points as both of them and I feel he is going to be a very special kid. Peter has a tremendous arm and can run the ball as well. He is built like a house and will definitely run over some people in the process.”
Quiroz will have an excellent surrounding cast around him as he has three quality receivers to throw to as well as a running back to take the pressure off the passing game.
“We have three quality receivers who will definitely make a big impact in the passing game,” said Duty. “Eluid Castillo will be the main threat for Quiroz and Jesus Lara and Julio Ramos will also play integral roles as well as wide receivers.”
“As for our running back, Jesus Nino will handle those duties and I feel he can help us move the chains on offense. He has good hips and is quicker than a cat. Jesus will take the pressure off of Peter in the backfield and give us another weapon in the process.”
Defensively, the Pirates bring back eight starters from 2014 and Duty feels their strength is at the linebacker position.
“We have a good core of linebackers that played a lot last year,” said Duty. “They return to us with varsity experience and they have looked great so far.”
“Besides our linebackers, we have some pretty special kids at defensive tackle and Lizandro Valdez will be a key piece upfront for us. He is by far the best lineman I have on both sides of the ball and he will be the guy for us.”
After a rough 2014 season in which the Pirates football team went 1-9 overall and 0-4 in district play, Duty hopes to follow the lead of some of the other programs in Hidalgo that did exceptionally well.
“When I look at the big picture here at Hidalgo, I wonder why the football team struggled while some of the other programs did so well,” said Duty. “Our basketball team and soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 while our baseball team went to the Elite 8 last school year.”
“When I see what those sports did, I realize that there are some exceptional athletes here at Hidalgo and I have to find a way to get those kids from those sports out to play football. I talked to the respective coaches of those sports and we were able to get a few kids out from those sports to come out for football. If we bring those kids in along with the other ones that we have already on the team, I expect that we will do some great things in football as well.”
16-4A Division I
HC: David Duty, 1st year
Letterman (R/L): 21/12
2014 record: 1-9/0-4
Players to watch:
QB Peter Quiroz (5-10, 190)
WR Eliud Castillo (6-1, 175)
RB: Jesus Nino (5-7, 145)
S Jesus Lara (5-9, 160)
LB Andy Hernandez (5-7, 165)
Hidalgo 2015 Football Schedule
08/28 vs. Sharyland Pioneer (Away)
09/04 vs. Progreso (Home)
09/11 vs. Port Isabel (Home)
09/18 vs. Rio Hondo (Away)
09/25 vs. Santa Rosa (Away)
10/02 vs. Lyford (Away)
10/09 vs. Zapata (Home)
10/16 vs. La Feria (Away)
10/23 vs. Grulla (Home)
11/06 vs. Kingsville (Away)