AMERICAN STATESMAN: District 13-6A coach/intangible rankings: Coach Chessher gives SP edge

AMERICAN STATESMAN: District 13-6A coach/intangible rankings: Coach Chessher gives SP edge

Now that we’ve had a look at all of the teams in District 13-6A, it’s time to go a little more in depth. In this three-part series, we rank three phases of the game – offense, defense and coaching/intangibles – and dole out points based on rankings. In the first part of the series, we ranked the offenses. Last week, we looked at the defenses. This week, we rank the district’s coaching and intangibles.

1. Stony Point: The Tigers have a clear advantage when it comes to coaching. Craig Chessher inherited a fledgling Stony Point program with no playoff experience in 2004. He built the program into a constant threat to travel deep into the playoffs every year. The Stony Point defenses from the late 2000s are as good as you can find in the state. The opening of Cedar Ridge High School cut into the steady supply of talent Chessher became accustomed to, but he continues to field teams that compete for postseason spots.

2. Hendrickson: Chip Killian arrived at Hendrickson in 2009, taking over a program that had just one playoff season in its history. In his 10 years coaching the team, the Hawks have made the postseason every year. Not only does Hendrickson present a challenging scheme for opponents under Killian, he and his coaches have also built a reputation for developing Division I talent.

3. Vandegrift: Drew Sanders took Travis High School to the playoffs in 2008 before Vandegrift snatched him to help launch its football program. After a 4-6 season with no seniors in 2010, he has taken the Vipers to the playoffs six of the last seven years, including the state semifinals in 2014. The accomplishment is more impressive when you consider the difficult districts Sanders’ teams have been in.

4. Cedar Ridge: The Raiders could be higher in this category with a longer-tenured head coach, but it’s hard to argue what Sam Robinson did in his first year at the helm of the program. The Raiders set program records for wins and points scored with one of the most explosive offenses in the state.

5. Westwood: There have been some ups and downs during Wood’s tenure at Westwood, but nobody can deny that the 13-year head coaching veteran always gets the best out of his players and puts them in a position to succeed. Wood’s spread offensive scheme constantly puts high-output offenses on the field.

6. Vista Ridge: Rodney Vincent has been in charge of the Vista Ridge program since 2009, building a track record of success in one of the hardest districts in the state. He took the Rangers all the way to the state semifinals in 2015 and his teams always show up ready to play. The fact he is down at No. 5 on this list shows the quality depth and consistency in the 13-6A coaching ranks.

7. Round Rock: Jeff Cheatham took over the Round Rock program in 2010 after as successful stint at Salado High School. He quickly proved he had what it took to coach at the 6A level, leading the Dragons to six consecutive playoff berths between 2011-16. Round Rock’s 2014 district championship was the school’s first in 20 years.

8. McNeil: Howard McMahan gained notoriety in the area for leading the Connally program to several successful seasons. He was hired by McNeil in 2014 to replace Lee Penland. Though he is still looking for his first trip to the postseason at the 6A level, he has been a stabilizing presence for the Mavericks.

9. Leander: Tim Smith is still looking to build his program up in Leander after taking over for Lee Bridges back in 2015. The Lions were a powerhouse in Central Texas from 2001-13, but an exploding school district has divided the talent base among several new high schools. Smith and his staff should have a chance to show some improvement this year with a deeper and more experienced roster.

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