STARTING FROM SCRATCH

in Football

After cancelling season in 2020, Class 1A, DII’s Kopperl Eagles reboot football program with new head coach

KOPPERL – Although no one likes to hear about a Texas high school football program getting shut down. But there’s definitely something to be said about starting from scratch.

With a new head coach leading the way, that’s exactly what the Kopperl Eagles will be doing in 2021.

“We are excited to get back on the field and be playing high school football again,” Kopperl’s first-year football head coach Aaron Maxwell said. “Since we didn’t field a team last year, most of the COVID interruptions didn’t affect us in that regard.

“Overall, it is nice to get back to some “normalcy,” and we’re excited to see what this season holds for us.

Coming off an injury-shorten season in 2019, Kopperl decided the lack of numbers coming out to play football and the presence of the Covid pandemic warranted shutting down the football program last season.

Now with the Eagles returning to action in 2021, Kopperl will complete the five-team, all-Bosque County District 12-1A, Division II making the mythical battle for the Bosque County Six-Man Football Championship finally possible.

“We are blessed to be in a very competitive district,” Maxwell said. “Every week, we know we’re going to get a good game. We have a very young team this year, so our expectations are focused on improving every week in practice, and then carrying that improvement over into the games on Friday. 

“As far as the district goes, I think it’s going to be very competitive. And hopefully, our young team will be in the mix. We are focused on getting our basic skills down and making sure to put the players in the best positions to succeed and help the team. With a young team, it’s all about their skill acquisition and growth.”

As the only returning letterman, end Michael Ensor provides some experience and leadership along with sophomore Brenden Tallant. But Kopperl will turn to a trio of freshman – quarterback Christian Falk, running back Anthony Johnson and running back Isaac Payen – to form the cornerstone of the program for the next four seasons.

“We’re a young team, and we’re trying to improve week by week,” Maxwell said. “Our greatest strength is our players’ desire to be the best they can be.”

After playing football two years before turning his focus to cross country and track, Maxwell graduated from Marcus High School in Flower Mound, earning a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a master’s from Tarleton State University.

Prior to coming to Kopperl, Maxwell coached at North Central Texas Academy where he served as an assistant coach for football, the head track coach, and the head junior high boys coach.

“This is my first time as a head football coach,” Maxwell said. “Some of the high points for me, coaching wise, was making it to the TAPPS six-man state title game in 2017, taking our boys and girls track teams to the TAPPS state meet and having our girls finish second in TAPPS 1A in 2017.

“And certainly, the highlight was coaching my daughter in track and seeing her compete at the TAPPS state meet in 2017.”

After struggling in Class 1A, Division I for years, Kopperl moved down to Division II in 2018 and enjoyed immediate success by winning the District 12-1A, DII title. But the Eagles were unable to finish the following season due to injuries before shutting down the program in 2020.

“I chose to come to Kopperl in 2019 because they looked to be a program on the rise,” Maxwell said. “Unfortunately, we hit some major bumps and didn’t finish out the 2019 season or field a team last year. “I have stayed at Kopperl because I love the kids, and the people I work with. I look forward to seeing our young team grow and improve.”

Be sure to pick up a copy of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: 2021 BOSQUE COUNTRY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW published by The Clifton Record & Meridian Tribune on newsstands this week.

Photos by ASHLEY BARNER & courtesy of Bosque County Publishing

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