Tony caught up with Houston Legacy School of Sports Sciences’ Head Football (and Softball) Coach Gerard Lewis after their spring football practice on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Tony: You are in the process of building a program. Last year was your first year to play football. Give me an overview of where you think you are as a program and what you need to do to continue building your program.
Coach Lewis: Right now, I like where we are considering the challenges of the first year. I got the job late. Scheduling was my biggest obstacle as a coach. Unfortunately, we had the bad weather the first couple of weeks and we missed two games we did have scheduled. We played some very good opponents, some quality opponents that gave us a good look at our first-year program. We were very young. We didn’t have any seniors. It feels good to bring everybody back. It makes life easier as a coach as far as install and teaching the kids the type of culture we want for our program. We took last year and kind of implemented that and the kids have bought in. Obviously, it’s a lot easier this year with us understanding what we want to be as a program. Where do we want to be as a program? My goal is to have my team ranked #1 by MaxPreps nationally. I don’t know what that looks like but that’s the goal. And how ever we need to do that, that’s what I plan to do with the program.
Tony: You’ve entered one Texas 7 on 7 State qualifying tournament. How does 7 on 7 help you build your program?
Coach Lewis: I wasn’t a fan of 7 on 7. Maybe I’m still growing to be a fan on 7 on 7. But one thing I will give 7 on 7 credit for and the guys that are out there doing it is that it helps with exposure for sure. Going up against great talent across the area. Playing with different guys and you are building friendships. And I get that part. It helps us defensively with communication. You know you are going to see the spread. I think it helps with our various coverages that we have. The key to our secondary is communication, seeing the different routes, adjusting to motion, things of that nature, without a line. I think that helps us there. Offensively, it helps us as far as quarterbacks and receivers working on their timing. Understanding who runs route different ways, who comes out of their break faster, you get to learn each other. Not knowing your personnel, understanding how fast they are, some receivers like the ball thrown a little harder, some not, some have great hands, some not. I think it’s a chance for everyone to learn each other. And for the receivers to learn the quarterback and his timing, how he likes to throw the ball. We have a left-handed quarterback. The ball comes out a little different, it comes from a different angle. I think it helps us develop a lot of continuity as a team.
Tony: You talked about scheduling. What do you have on the schedule that is different than last year?
Coach Lewis: Well obviously we’d like to step it up a little. My goal is to let the football world know that we are building a legitimate program. We won a state championship in middle school and high school. There’s been some coaches say that we don’t play any body. That’s fine. We are a first-year program. I don’t get caught up in that. But I did know that we had to get a schedule out that says we are playing people. This year we have four former state champions on the schedule. We play a very good and traditionally good Kinkaid team – defending SPC champion. We play Landry- Walker out of New Orleans. They won state two years ago. Tremendous program down there in New Orleans. Tremendous athletes. We play Newton. My heart and prayers go out to Newton and the Johnston family. They are back-to-back 3AD2 state champions. You can’t deny they are a good program. And also, we are playing Bellaire Episcopal. They have played Kinkaid for several state championships and they have won state championship previously as well. We have some 4A teams on the schedule. And some very respected 3A teams as well. We play West Hardin and Evadale. They are in a very tough conference. We played Grapeland last year – I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. We play Maypearl. We play Hearne. We play St. Anthony’s a great private school with some good athletes. The next year I am looking to opening it up and get some bigger teams. We are building from middle school up. A lot of coaches were worried about us possibly taking kids. We are nothing but a private school but you don’t pay tuition. I want to make sure coaches understand that we are building from the middle school up. We have a tremendous amount of eight graders moving up. We have a handful that is going to contribute on varsity this year. Our JV will be pretty good. We will be young but we will be pretty good. I can stand up now and say I’ve got four former or present state champions on our schedule. I’m extremely excited about the competition we have this year.
Tony: You are not only the head football coach, but also the head softball coach and you just finished a very successful softball season.
Coach Lewis: Man. Let me tell you something. I am the luckiest coach in the world. I love by baby girls. Unbelievable first year. Our varsity had three sophomores and eight 8th graders. We finished 21 and 3. We played some great teams along the way. We were in some tough tournaments and we played some good competition. My middle school babies which were mainly 6th and 7th graders, we have three 8th graders on that team, they went 17 and 0. Undefeated and won a state championship. Those girls were a tremendous change of pace from boys. Especially the emotional side as you can imagine. They are great girls. They took to my coaching. They were a little afraid because I’m the football coach and I’m a different animal when I coach football. But they were pleasantly surprised I take pride in teaching my kids. Coaching is basically managing a game. But prior to a game, you have to teach. And they were pleasantly surprised, even the parents. They were very pleased with my ability to teach the game of softball and what we need to do to be successful. They did a great job. We lost three games the entire year as a developmental program, a middle school program, and a high school program. I love those girls and they did a fantastic job. I’m very proud of them. State Champs.