The Canyon Lake Times Guardian

Starting new, again - a familiar experience for Canyon Lake High’s new football coach

By Paul Heidelberg

(Note: This is the corrected version of a story that first appeared in the July 25 edition of the Times Guardian.)

Coach Matt Monzingo knows just what Yogi Berra meant when he said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Monzingo’s feeling of having been there before comes with his starting the football program at the new Canyon Lake High School. Back in 1996, Monzingo had his first Yogi moment, when he started the football program at Pflugerville Connally in Austin.

This is Monzingo’s 26th year as a coach, and he had a more than respectable record at Connally, taking the Cougars to the state playoffs every year since 1996. Before his stint at Connally, Monzingo was athletic director and head football coach at Memphis High School in Memphis, Texas, where his 1A team won the state championship in 1991.

His overall record is 117-55 and his state playoff record is 16-8.

Monzingo attended college on a golf scholarship at West Texas State University, now West Texas A&M; University. Joining him on the new Hawks football staff are assistant coaches Charlie Drum, Trent Dunavant, Jeff Maynard, Levi Montgomery and Charlie Wallen.

Setting up a football program at a new school entails much more than football fundamentals and getting players in shape.

“We’ve been lucky to have several players – Richard Howell, Kevin Buxkemper, Tony Hocutt and Cody Gillman – coming in every day for weeks helping me set things up,” Monzingo said. “They have been putting together equipment, storing equipment, that sort of thing. Without their help, I don’t know where we’d be right now. Their moms have been nice enough to loan them to us for pretty much the entire day.”

On a recent afternoon, after the four freshmen helped Monzingo carry boxes between the Hawk athletics building and the main school, they worked out in the Hawk Speed and Strength Camp that began July 9 and continues until tomorrow.

Incoming volleyball players at CLHS also participated in the program, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

There was also an open weight room program from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on those days, and an open gym for all CLHS students from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Hawks begin the regular football season with a freshman home game against Smithson Valley Thursday, Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. and a junior varsity away game against Smithson Valley at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6.

The 2007 Canyon Lake Volleyball Camp will be from 8 a.m. to noon July 30 through Aug. 3. The goals of the camp will be to foster a love for the game of volleyball while teaching proper techniques of the game.

Starting a new football program at a new school may have taken up some of the Hawks’ time, but Monzingo made sure they didn’t miss out on some of the fundamentals of Texas high school football – and that includes running wind sprints in the Texas heat.

“Yeah, running wind sprints is pretty hard,” said Tony Hocutt, who hopes to play fullback and tailback for the Hawks. “I want to get my endurance, up, though, so it’s good to do them. The running is kind of hard. Wind sprints are tough.”

Keeping Hydrated
Even though the recent rainy, cloudy weather has kept the temperatures down in Canyon Lake, Monzingo knows one of the most important thing he has to do – whether they are working out outdoors, or indoors – is to keep his players properly hydrated.

“We need to keep players hydrated at school, and at home,” Monzingo said. “Parents need to know that. You definitely want to stay away from the soft drinks with the sugar; every time they have an opportunity to drink water, they should.

“When kids are sitting in class, teachers will give them the opportunity to get some water. They may not allow them to bring soft drinks into class, but they do realize they will be out in the heat, so they will allow them to bring in water.

“So many times kids think because it is a little cooler with the humidity up and the cloud cover, they don’t need to drink so much water, but that’s not the case. We give rinse outs and breaks so they can get water at about any time in practice. Then you have scheduled breaks every five or 10 minutes. At the most you might go 15 minutes without their getting water, and then it is when you are sitting down talking with them.”

When Monzingo was reminded that in earlier years, such as the 1960s, it was thought drinking water was bad for athletes he said, “It’s a wonder more players didn’t drop out than the ones who did. You have to keep hydrated.”

Monzingo said he expects to have between 25 and 30 sophomores coming out for Hawks junior varsity, and between 45 and 60 freshmen coming out for the freshmen team.

“We will probably bump up some of the freshmen to the jv team,” Monzingo said. “Those will be the guys we think can handle it mentally and physically.”

Using his Yogi déjà vu thinking, Monzingo knows it won’t be easy on his players.

“It’s a tough road,” he said, “but you’ve got to start somewhere. A lot of it is gaining confidence – kids gaining confidences in the coaches, and the coaches gaining confidence in the kids. It’s exciting for me to have these kids get in on a new school. There’s not many times you can do that.

“You know, being a new school, everybody kind of thinks you are going to be a pushover – that’s what happened to me at Connally. We’re hoping we will pick up the pace here and get going and get off to a good start. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re not going to take it easy. We’re going to work real hard.”



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