The Wichita Falls Coyotes are coming off a back-to-back one and nine seasons only beating Denton Braswell in the second to last game of the season a year ago.
“Last season, we had a lot fights with each other, not a lot of team chemistry and mostly we didn’t bond together,” Running back Marcus King said. “This year, we’re not even just worried about winning, we’re bonding as we’re going. We get better each day. It’s not no worse practice, no bad practice. We just keep going and we keep going up honestly.”
That’s what new Head Coach Grant Freeman is teaching his players, after making the move from offensive coordinator in the spring.
“You got to have 11 players on the field at a time and we preach family, that we’re one big family and we’re one big pack,” Freeman said. “One of the things that that does is not only allows you play within yourself and not worry about making a mistake because you have other family members and other pack members to pick you up. That’s what we’re preaching that it’s not about me, it’s about we.”
“[Freeman] focuses on all of us,” Defensive Tackle Jesus Silva said. “He just focuses on making us better, trying to become better men and keeping our grades us.”
A focus which is motivating his players.
“Cheering my teammates on and hearing them cheer me on, it really keeps me going,” King said. “It makes me want to go harder for them. It makes me feel like those are my brothers. It’s like I have to do good for them, I can’t slack.”
“Coach Freeman taught us it’s not about us, it’s about the team,” Silva said. “One man can’t just win the whole game, it’s all of us. We got to work together as a team.”
The Coyotes are losing Runningback Stephen Gaines, his 13,000 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns, to graduation.
Freeman hopes to transfer the duties to Senior Marcus King, who missed last season to injury.
King will play a key role in two major points of emphasis by the Coyote coaching staff, running the ball and stopping the run.
“Those are the first two things that we have to be able to do is stop the run on defense and contain that and be able to run the ball,” Freeman said. “Control the line of scrimmage on both sides. If we can do that, then we can start moving into some things that we can really enjoy doing, like some special things in the passing game, being able to stop big plays. But real football is really easy. Control the line of scrimmage and you’ll probably be in the game or on top.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Silva returns with 45 tackles, 12 of those for loss.
The Coyotes say the biggest difference so far this season is their head coach making practice more enjoyable.
“We make football fun and we make what we do fun, but we really work on things that build into each other and talk a lot about life,” Freeman said. “We spend too many hours out on that field and out in the sweat and hot and whatever to make it hard and make it where you don’t want to be there. So, we have a lot of fun.”
“It’s been wonderful,” King said. “Ever since he came, it’s like he put a change in us. Our attitudes have been better.”