Editor’s Note: For the last three years, Jason Strunk has been writing The Turnaround for us at High School Football America. His blog receives tremendous attention from our readers, especially coaches from around America. This week, Coach Strunk had the interesting idea to bring-in Lubbock-Cooper High School head coach Max Kattwinkel as a guest blogger this week. Kattwinkel, who is in his second year as head coach after serving as Lubbock-Cooper’s offensive coordinator for six years, just happens to be his opponent/nemisis this week. It’s another example of how Coach Strunk strives to shed light on not only his program, but others in west Texas. Coming into the Thursday night game, Cooper is 5-2 overall and 1-0 in Texas’ District 4-5A. Lubbock will be looking for its first district win in 2014.
by Max Kattwinkel
Lubbock Cooper High School Head Football Coach
When Jason Strunk first came to Lubbock High a few years back, I was still the OC at Lubbock-Cooper. It didn’t take me long to see that Jason was a coach who “gets it”. By that I mean that there are a lot of coaches out there that know the X’s and O’s of the game. Coach Strunk knows the game, but he also knows that our athletes get more than the game of football out of this experience. They get life lessons and skills that they will remember just as much as the wins or the losses.
When I became Lubbock-Cooper’s head coach last year, I tried to put our program in the position to play quality programs and coaching staffs that did things the right way. At the same time, Jason was a guy I could turn to for advice and someone I trust. It was a natural fit for our teams to play. Our friendship continued to grow. Last spring, we were placed in the same district. I like the natural rivalry it created (both schools are close in proximity), and the fact that we get to compete against a quality group of guys and coaching staff. The flip side of that is that it is extremely difficult to coach against a friend. This has been the most difficult transition for me as a head coach. It is easy to game plan against an acquaintance or someone you don’t know very well. It is a lot tougher when it is someone you respect and call a friend. Knowing how a win or loss can affect a coach makes preparation tough. The things that make it a little easier is that I know our friendship will continue past this game and that both our teams will gain something other than a win or loss out of this game.