GOLDTHWAITE – In mid-April, former Goldthwaite assistant Andy Howard opted to return to the Eagle program as the head football coach after serving most recently as the offensive coordinator at Brownwood. For Howard, taking over at Goldthwaite marks his second opportunity as a head coach, as he guided Brady to a 14-18 record in three seasons, peaking at 8-3 in his final year of 2014.
Despite arriving relatively late in the school year at Goldthwaite, new UIL rules have allowed Howard to piece together his first-year plan with greater ease.
“Luckily, the UIL allows a lot of summer activity and that’s been huge for us coming in late in terms of hiring staff in June and July,” Howard said. “It’s also given us an opportunity to learn our weight room stuff and also learn our agility drills. There was also a lot in the two-hour time limit for skills each week and we used every second of that to install our schemes to be better at throwing and catching. We played a little bit of 7-on-7 which they hadn’t done in about three or four years, so that was good. We really grew as a team. There was a lot of participation, and they were really hungry and ready to work. We’re just building off the summer coming into the fall.”
Goldthwaite is coming off a 5-6 playoff campaign in 2021, which featured a 3-2 district mark. The Eagles return eight of 19 lettermen, including five starters on each side of the ball.
“I watched film and know they lost of a lot of seniors that had a whole lot of experience, I’m talking three- or four-years’ experience on a Friday night,” Howard said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that are inexperienced, but we set the bar high and if we do the kids will be willing to meet that. Our expectations are extremely high. We can’t control what goes on outside of Goldthwaite, but we can control what we do today inside our program. Our expectations are extremely high, and we expect good things from them.”
Goldthwaite will be relying on the senior class to lead the way and lay the foundation for what Howard hopes is even greater success – not only this season, but in the future as well.
“Our seniors are hungry and the foundation of this new program we have here,” Howard said. “I tell the seniors they are going to set the foundation for years to come by what they do this year. We have the twins, Cutter and Carsyn Campbell, we have Austin Senger, Mason Reven is going to play both sides of the ball for us, and A.J. McCoy is one of our big guys that’s going to play both side of the ball for us. Javier Vanegas is another senior we’re going to count on doing some big things for us as well. That group is going to lead this team on down the road and lead this program as well.”
Howard feels heading into the season the greatest strength for Goldthwaite lies in the trenches, while opening up the passing attack is an area where he hopes to see continued improvement.
“Up front could be a strength of ours, we do have some size and experience up there,” Howard said. “Being able to run the football is going to be key for us and we have a three-headed monster back there at running back. The three guys we’re going to have back there all have a different skill set.
“Learning to spread the field out and work numbers is our weakness right now. We’re figuring out how to work in space receiver-wise and throwing and catching is something we spend a lot of time on now and did during the summer as well. The growth there is happening a lot faster than I anticipated so we’re pleased with that.”
Goldthwaite’s season begins with contests against Crawford, Santo, Rosebud-Lott and Granger, each of which should be a stern test.
“I want to see physicality,” Howard said of the early-season goals. “I want to see us coming off the football. Football is won up front, it doesn’t matter if you’re throwing the football or running the football, and we have to be able to win the line of scrimmage early on. If we can do that, I feel good about our success. Also defensively, winning the line of scrimmage and being able to stop to the run are keys.
“I also want to see us gain knowledge within our schemes. We have to be able to grow from one day to the next in our schemes so when we do get into the money games in district, we’re able to execute our schemes at a high level.”
Many of the Eagles’ district rivals from the last two years will join Goldthwaite in the new District 5-2A Division I, which is also comprised of Coleman, San Saba, De Leon, Hamilton, Tolar and Bangs. According to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, Goldthwaite is tabbed to finish fourth behind No. 9 Coleman, No. 12 Tolar and Hamilton.
“I want us to go win the thing, that’s why we show up,” Howard said of the objective for district. “There are some really good teams like Coleman, which is the returning district champs and return a lot of their guys, while we’re losing a lot of guys. We’ve got to have guys step up and play at that level because I know Coleman is at a high level right now. Tolar is also t a high level right now. I’ve seen them on a track and know they’re very athletic right now and have a lot of depth. Hamilton has great size and physicality and they’re growing in their program with a lot of young guys that played last year that have experience. Then there’s San Saba, who’s always a tough game for us. Bangs is new to the district and they’re dropping down, so they’ve seen a higher level of competition. They struggled last year and I’m sure they’re looking to improve off that season. Then De Leon has a second-year coach, so already they’re ahead of where they were last year at this point. But our whole goal is if we’re not coming home with (a district championship), we’re a little disappointed because we’ve invested so much into it.”
GOLDTHWAITE EAGLES 2022 VARSITY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|Aug. 26||Crawford||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 2||at Santo||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 9||at Rosebud-Lott||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 16||Granger||7:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 23||at Coleman*||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 30||De Leon*||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 7||at Bangs*||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 21||San Saba*||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 28||at Tolar*||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 4||Hamilton*||7 p.m.|
* District 5-2A Division I game
REVAMPED GRIDIRON GLANCE SCHEDULE
Tuesday, Aug. 9 – Comanche
Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Coleman
Thursday, Aug. 11 – Goldthwaite
Friday, Aug. 12 – San Saba
Saturday, Aug. 13 – Richland Springs
Sunday, Aug. 14 – Blanket
Monday, Aug. 15 – Brookesmith
Tuesday, Aug. 16 – Zephyr
Wednesday, Aug. 17 – May
Thursday, Aug. 18 – Cross Plains
Friday, Aug. 19 – Bangs
Saturday, Aug. 20 – Early
Sunday, Aug. 21- Brownwood