NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches Dragons are looking to take a step forward in 2019 with new head coach Darren Allman.
Allman takes over a Dragon team that made it to the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in four seasons. Allman was hired in the spring after Bobby Reyes retired from the program.
If his name sounds familiar that’s because Allman has been part of some of the biggest programs out there in Texas high school football.
Allman most recently was executive director of athletics at Carroll ISD in Southlake; before that, he was head football coach at Austin Westlake and Odessa Permian, two of Texas’ storied high school programs.
"I am excited to be back on the sidelines, but I don’t feel like I have been off of it,” Allman said. “I was heavily involved with the football program at Southlake and my kid was playing in high school at that time so I was there with him.
"I had a little break from some of the things of coaching. Maybe some of the things that wear you down over 25 seasons.”
So far, the senior leaders on the team have bought into Allman’s program and are ready to lead the team back to the postseason.
"We heard about him coming in and we were pumped up about it,” senior quarterback Jake Smith said. “It is a new experience and we are all liking it so far."
Glenn Young looks to be a force at outside linebacker and Allman’s defense could rely on him to run smoothly.
"I am trying to be as good as a leader as I can,” Young said. “We got a couple of guys that are leaders too. We got something to prove and we are going to prove it this year."
Every team that Allman has coached is different. He has now coached in almost every part of the state and no two jobs are the same.
“Climate is a big factor,” Allman said. “Every place it has been different. It affects how you look at playing kids on both sides of the ball. When you know you can be playing late into the year you are not trying to get everything done in the first week which is tempting. We as coaches have to keep our eyes on them and keep them hydrated in this heat like it is this week."
The Nacogdoches Dragons believe they can compete for a district title. To do that they will have to be flawless in every sense of the game and knock off tough competition including state-ranked Marshall.
"District is a challenge,” Allman said. “Most coaches get into it to get into big games. The luxury of this district is most weeks every game is a big game. That is what you want and that is what the kids want."
Nacogdoches opens the season on Aug. 30 against Kilgore at home. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.