Congrats to Clint McDonald – Montgomery County Courier Coach of the Year
It was just two days before the first game of the season when Clint McDonald got the news. He was going to be the new leader for the Legacy Prep football team.
The Lions, who have only been playing 11-man football for a handful of years, still had a schedule to play after head coach Nash Murray resigned from his position. McDonald, who has been in the profession for more than two decades, stepped up to the plate, took on the challenge of guiding the team and knocked it out of the park.
After a turbulent start to the year, he led the Lions to the TAPPS Division IV state championship game. For the passion and dedication he showed his players this season, McDonald is The Courier’s selection for All-Montgomery County Coach of the Year.
“It was crazy on the inside, but we tried to have calm waters on the outside,” McDonald said. “And that’s a credit to just our assistant coaches as well. It was a crazy time for all of us, but I think we all did a really good job of just remaining calm. Everything was laid out before us, and the big thing was just making sure the kids stayed focused on what we were trying to do.”
With McDonald taking over the reins, the Lions began their season with a mammoth of a matchup against Northland Christian, a defending state champion. But Legacy Prep prevailed by a score of 38-34 on its home field, setting the tone for what would be a historic campaign.
The Lions went 8-1 during the regular season, their only loss coming in Week 5 against Cypress Christian, which went on to capture the TAPPS Division III state championship. After earning a first-round bye, the team defeated Hallettsville Sacred Heart and Brazos Christian in the playoffs before falling to Colleyville Covenant in the state title game at Waco Midway to finish with a 10-2 record.
“We knew we had some good football players, so it was just getting them to play together,” McDonald said. “We stayed healthy all year, which was a huge thing, especially when you only have 30 kids on a roster. … There’s no words to describe the season we had. It was wonderful, awesome, and it was really a lot of fun to play until the last game of the year.”
Led by dynamic players like Jared May, Dion Pinkard and Jay Smith, the Lions, who dubbed themselves the “Dirty 30,” sculpted a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. They had more wins and advanced further in the postseason than any other team in school history and laid the foundation for the future of the program as well.
“We had nine seniors, and they all contributed in huge ways for us, whether it was leading by example or leading in quiet ways,” McDonald said. “There were times when we put it on their backs as a coaching staff. It was their team, and we were trying to guide them through it. Our seniors did an excellent job for us this year.”