New season sees new coaches

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Although Madisonville students don’t go back to school until Aug. 22, the coaching staff is already meeting regularly in anticipation of fall sports.

Athletic Director Rusty Nail gathered his coaches – many of them new to the district – last week to discuss strategy and technique. With two state championships under his belt from his tenure with the Mart Panthers, Nail has assembled a team that includes two of his former co-workers. Brady Conger, who most recently worked at Smithson Valley, is Madisonville’s new defensive coordinator, district-wide strength coach and first assistant athletic director.

Conger said last week he’s worked some with the football players but is not sure yet who the standouts will be.

“We won’t know that until we put the pads on,” Conger said. “Hopefully the community will support us.”

The Mustangs will be running a 3-3 stack defense, and although they had a poor showing on the field last season with a 1-9 record, the junior varsity team was undefeated and some of those players will be moving up.

“Hopefully everyone is prepared,” said Sheldon Moor, who coached the JV Mustangs last year and serves as wide receivers coach for the varsity team.

Nail also has brought in Russell Urbantke, who most recently worked for Plano West High School and will be Madisonville’s offensive coordinator.

Nail said there definitely are talented athletes on the Mustang football team, and the coaches’ focus will be on depth, level of commitment and developing mental toughness. All of their opponents are formidable, but among the toughest may be Bellville and Crockett, the coach added.

“We have an excellent program in terms of our players and our coaches, and the character development that we’re doing,” Nail said. “That’s key. We’re going to stay healthy and remain committed. We hope to put out a product that the community is proud of. We hope the community will come out and support us.”

The Mustang football season kicks off with a scrimmage on Aug. 12 at Fairfield. The first home game is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2 vs. Woodville. Practice begins Monday.

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