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Irving ISD Coaches Prep for Friday Night Lights

Irving—Football coaches for three Irving ISD high schools spoke about the state of their football programs in a meeting on Monday, Aug. 30.

Irving High School

The Tigers started their season 0-1 after a 34-7 loss to South Garland. The school has not won a game since 2017 and has not made the playoffs since 2013.

David Muñoz has taken over as the team’s head coach, new for the 2021 season. Most recently, he was the defensive coordinator at Haltom High School inBirdville ISD for eight years. In 2018, Haltom finished 13-1, making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the Division 6A state championship. That was just three years after a two-season span where the school went 1-21.

Before Haltom, Muñoz was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Fort Worth South Hills, then the defensive coordinator and head baseball coach at Fort Worth North Side. He played football at North Side HS and then at Sul Ross State University from 2001-2005, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree.

“Our season didn’t get off to a great start this past Friday, but it does show a lot of promise,” Muñoz said. “Our kids are working hard, day in and day out. We have anywhere between 45 and 75 kids out every morning at 6:15 getting better.

“It’s always great to get the wins on the scoreboard, and things like that, but we’re targeting our football players first and foremost to be good husbands, fathers, and taxpayers down the road. It’s great to turn around things week to week, but we really want to get things turned around four years from now.

“[We tell players] ‘If you don’t come from a healthy family, make sure a healthy family comes from you.’ We’re setting up success for the entire city of Irving, not only this week, next week, but many years from now. We look for tremendous things as far as Irving ISD.

“We’re looking for a big win on Friday.”

MacArthur High School

The Cardinals started off their season 1-0, defeating Adamson by a score of 50-3.

Beck Nitcholas is in his first season as MacArthur’s head football coach, and he is also the school’s athletic coordinator. Though he is in year one as head coach, he has an extensive history with the school.

Per Irving ISD, Nitcholas joined the ISD in 1998 as a coach and teacher at Travis Middle School. From 2001-2016, he was at MacArthur, where he was defensive coordinator, linebackers, defensive line, running backs, and junior varsity head coach, as well as head track and field coach. His football teams advanced to the playoffs in 2018, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002. He also taught health, physical education, outdoor education, Chinese, and American Sign Language throughout his 15 years there.

From 2016 to 2018, he served as defensive coordinator at Irving High School, where he led the defense to a No. 17 ranking in the DFW area.

Nitcholas most recently served as assistant head football coach and PE department chair at Hebron High School in Lewisville ISD, where he coached the football team three rounds into the playoffs in 2018 and to the bi-district round in 2019.

“My dad coached for 54 years, and he was the golf coach at MacArthur for 18,” Nitcholas said.

“Being at Travis, working through MacArthur, going to Irving and in Hebron, I’ve got to see a lot of different things. One of the things I’ve grown to appreciate is the program [MacArthur] ran when [coach] David Beaty was here, and coach Brian Basil took over, called the We Will Win Program.

“It’s not just a win on the football field, it’s we will win in life, we will win in school, we will win with how we treat others, how we respect our adults, our parental figures, how we present ourselves to other people.

“We plan to win on the football field, don’t get me wrong, but it’s more than that. It’s a we will win in life, and principles of life skills.

“With that being said, our team is fortunate to get off to a great start this year. We have two really good running backs this year. A sophomore running back named Darelle Smith, and Jerbrandin Henderson, also a sophomore.

“In the game, Smith had two rushes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, and I said, ‘Okay, that’s enough for you.’ I told him he’ll get all the work he wants next week, I promise.”

Nimitz High School

The Vikings started their season 0-1, following a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to Princeton. The team failed a PAT at the end of the game that would have forced overtime.

Anthony Small is the offensive coordinator for Nimitz High School, and has been at Nimitz for five years. Before that, he was co-offensive coordinator at Dallas Lincoln, offensive coordinator at Fort Worth Southwest Christian, and special teams coordinator at Grace Prep Arlington. Nimitz’ head coach is Brian Rogers, who has been there for nine years.

“Seven minutes left in the game. We throw a pick-six from our sophomore quarterback Pedro Maldonado,” Small said. “We’re down 21-14, and I’m waiting for our guys to go, ‘Here we go again.’

“And they don’t. They started pushing each other, they came together, they encourage each other, they were a family and a brotherhood. We drove the ball six minutes down the field and put the ball in the end zone.All chaos aside, all drama aside, it was a step in the right direction for Nimitz. We lost to a team we should’ve beat.

“In the locker room after the game, you can see brothers, not teammates. We’re very close to being the team we want to be. That has nothing to do with football, and everything to do with the type of men we’re trying to create.

“We’re trying to do as much community service as possible. We want them to be great husbands and fathers, and community members when they’re 25 years old.”