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Veteran football head coach Jim Kerbow takes over at Meridian with eyes on the future & restoring the Jacket swarm to gridiron glory

MERIDIAN – Without posting a winning record since 2016, the Meridian Yellowjackets will be undergoing their third football head coaching change in four years. But with 21 years of coaching experience, veteran head coach and athletic director Jim Kerbow hopes to be the man to get it right this time.

Seeking their first postseason appearance in five years, the Class 2A, Division II Yellowjackets will open the 2022 Texas high school football campaign by hitting the road to take on traditional Bosque County rival Valley Mills in a scrimmage Friday at 5 p.m.

“I chose Meridian because I feel like there is an opportunity to turn around the athletic programs,” Kerbow said. And I’m excited about the opportunity to do great things here in the future.”

Originally from Baird, Kerbow attended McMurry University and played football for the War Hawks before embarking on his coaching career with stops in Fort Stockton, Troy, Rosebud-Lott and Lamar Consolidated before becoming the defensive coordinator at Rockdale.

“I spent several years as the Defensive Coordinator at Rockdale High School,” Kerbow said. “During my time in Rockdale, we created a successful football program that had struggled for several years. And that success continues today.”

Kerbow went on to become the Defensive Coordinator at Tyler Legacy, before accepting his head coaching job at Huntington in East Texas. After leading Huntington to the playoffs for the first time in school history in 2018, Kerbow moved on to become athletic director and football head coach in Itasca.

Inheriting a football program that has posted a dismal 5-34 win-loss record over the last four seasons with a 2-17 district mark, Kerbow realizes that his coaching staff has its work cut out for them. But that has not prevented the new Jacket head coach from setting the bar high.

Following the bi-annual UIL realignment last February, Meridian moved to District 10-2A, Division II to compete against the likes of perennial powerhouse and third-ranked Mart, along with 20th-ranked Wortham, Hico, Dawson, Hubbard and Frost.

“My expectations of our football team is to win at least five games and make the playoffs,” Kerbow said. “Obviously, District 10-2A is a very tough district. But I believe if we can create buy-in, we can compete for the third or fourth seed.”

With 10 offensive and 10 defensive returning starters for Meridian, the cupboards will not be empty. But depth will continue being an issue for the Jackets as they field low numbers. In fact, after turning in enrollment numbers for the realignment, Meridian fell into the Class 1A six-man football category but opted to play up to continue fielding an 11-man squad.

By opening the season with a scrimmage against the Class 2A, DI arch-rival Eagles, the Jackets will face a team that hopes to challenge for a playoff berth in District 8-2A, DI battling fourth-ranked Marlin, seventh-ranked Crawford, Bosqueville, Rosebud-Lott, Riesel, Moody and Bruceville-Eddy. Second-year head coach Bob Featherston will have five offensive and eight defensive starters to build around.

“Meridian has a lot of talent at the skill positions,”Kerbow said. “We must get kids in the right positions and build their confidence.”


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