Building A New Coaching Tree
LYFORD – Around this time last year, Izzy Gonzalez was an assistant coach at Harlingen High School, where he was helping the Cardinals get ready for the playoffs. Shortly after that, Lyford gave Gonzalez the chance to be a head football coach for the first time. Taking over a team that had just won a district title, Gonzalez knew he would face high expectations with the Bulldogs right away.
“We wanted to come in and make sure that we kept tradition going,” said Gonzalez. “Try to add tradition as much as we could.”
When Gonzalez put together a coaching staff, he reached out to one of his former players. Kevin Ledesma was the quarterback of Harlingen’s 2011 fourth-round playoff team. Ledesma spent last year with the Cardinals as a student teacher. Gonzalez offered him a chance to start his coaching career with the Bulldogs.
“It was one of those things like I always told myself if I could work at any other school or with anybody else, it would be with Coach Gonzalez and it would be a place like Lyford,” said Ledesma.
For Gonzalez and Ledesma, their first season coaching together has been a fun ride. Friday night, Lyford won an outright district title.
“Coming over here we had the same expectations,” said Gonzalez. “Getting to the playoffs, winning district championships.”
“It’s a different ball game you know coming down to 3A and you know having less players, but at the same time, the kids work just as hard,” said Ledesma. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
This week there’s a new milestone for the coaching staff. They’ll have their first playoff game together.
The Bulldogs visit Jourdanton Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 2pm.