The sky is the limit, new coach says
By Alonzo Garza
There is a new Lockhart High School Head Football Coach in town and his name is Paul Kilby.
Kilby comes to Lockhart after a meteoric ride at Class 3-A Mathis High School, where he led the Pirates to a 10-3 record last year – complete with record-breaking feats like 5,281 yards rushing, 6,203 yards of total offense and 602 total team points
on the season.
Most impressive of all were Kilby’s three 1,000-plus-yard rushers, who earned 1,250, 1,680 and 1,938 yards respectively, helping propel the Pirates to the Regional Semi-Finals in 2010.
Outstanding indeed, but Kilby is in Lion Country now and the Lions and their fans are looking for a comeback. Can his record breaking coaching style work its magic in Lockhart? Kilby believes it can.
“My first day at work was the last day of school,” Kilby said in his new office at the LHS field house on Tuesday, July 19. “I have been very pleased with our students. I met with most of them before they all scattered off to enjoy their summer. We have had great attendance at our athletic program, the Lockhart Athletic Club, as we call it, and I’m very pleased with the numbers.”
Kilby has been hard at work, getting to know the students and coaches at LHS and is more than ready to lead the Lions into a winning season – not just a run-of-the-mill winning season, but a record-breaking winning season. His expectations are high.
“In terms of expectations, we have the highest expectations,” he said. “We are not going to lower them and say, ‘oh boy, you know we kind of had a tough season last year so we are going to lower our expectations.’ I don’t know low expectations. I only know high expectations. We are going to work tirelessly to bring our kids up to our expectations to bring them up to where we feel we need to be, to be champions.”
One thing that is very prominent in Kilby’s approach to his new job at LHS is his preparedness and organization. From dealing with the students and working with the coaching staff it is obvious that he has done his homework and in turn expects his coaches and students to do the same.
“Monday, July 18 was our first official day back,” he said. “We will work for the next two weeks, including our junior high camp next week. That’s kind of a trial run for coaches. It allows us to work together, just as we will throughout the football season and it’s also a great way for our seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders to get ahead and start to learn the system, the offenses and defenses. There is a lot that goes into this, a lot behind the scenes. We organize to the ‘n-th’ degree. We try to pride ourselves in being super organized, highly organized to let the kids and the community know that they are getting a great product from this coaching staff,”
When asked about his style of coaching or his approach to the game itself Kilby was confident and quick to answer.
“Our style is a system we hold very tight to,” he said. “ I’ve been running this offense for 14 years. We run the Slot-T, which is very much a ground-based offense. Any type of passing you will have on B play action will always be set up off a running play. It won’t just be, ‘here’s the shotgun, now throw the ball.’ It will be more like, ‘oh, boy, looks like a trap,’ and, ‘oh look they’re throwing the ball.’ There will be a lot of deception in our offense. Misdirection and deception is a big part of it.”
Defensively, Kilby said, the Lions plan to have an attacking gameplan.
“We are not going to sit back and have people pick us apart or let people attack us,” he said. “We may make some mistakes along the way but we are not going to do it going back on our heels. We are going to do it going after the quarterback, trying to disrupt plays, do a lot of main coverage and just get after people.”
Kilby’s passion for the game was infectious. He went on to talk about some past successes with certain plays and discussed the importance of special teams in those successful games.
“Kicking game is incredibly important,” he said. “I believe it’s a third of the game. I will donate practice time to it. We’ll donate a third of our practice time to the kicking game. We’ll be excited about the kicking game. We’ll try to block punts, we’ll onside kick, we’ll run starbursts on our kick off returns, which is an extremely exciting return where you can’t find the ball. We really need to get our kids to quickly buy into our special teams. They will be stressed. I feel you can beat people either early in the season or at the end, at the playoffs sometimes, with the kicking game. Early because they are not prepared, late because the playoff teams are evenly matched and the kicking team sometimes decides the game. I’m a big believer in the kicking game and we will stress it big time.”
Kilby’s enthusiasm for his new job is rivaled only by his excitement to be back in Central Texas. He and his wife both love the area, he said, and spent a great deal of time in San Marcos and New Braunfels before making their home in the Corpus Christi area. After nearly two months in his new hometown, Kilby said his family is fitting right in, thanks in large part to the reception he has received not only from the District, but from the community at large.
What has impressed him most, however, is the attitude of the student athletes lining up to play for him this year.
“The six or seven weeks that I’ve been here have been great,” he said. “The numbers were fantastic in the LAC camp. We are trying to sell the kids a work ethic and discipline. Our character building program is great. We have already introduced to them to it and they are buying into it. They are saying all the right things, doing all the right things and we look forward to great things this year.”
One thing is for certain, with Kilby behind the wheel, the Lions and their fans are in for an exciting season. His leadership, coupled with his athletes’ enthusiasm, could be just the formula the Lions need to close the book on last year’s dismal 1-9 record. The hope enough will give Lion fans plenty to cheer about, come kickoff time.
“I sense a tremendous excitement throughout the community,” Kilby said. “I feel it through the kids and I feel it through their parents. We started home visits last night and we can already feel the excitement. People are excited and they love their athletics here and I see Lockhart as a great long term situation for being a winner here. I think there is tremendous potential here.”