David Williams believes it will take some time to build the Houston football program back into a winner.
Williams’ first season as Tigers head coach concluded Friday night with a 42-0 loss at Cuba. It was the 10th and final defeat of a winless season.
Houston has hit hard times since making back-to-back state semifinal appearances in 2004 and ’05. The Tigers are a combined 8-43 the past five seasons, including three years the program failed to win a game.
Williams, who took over in May for departed coach Chris Edwards, saw just how far the program has fallen in his first year. The Tigers were outscored 454-46 this year and shutout five times, including all three district games to conclude the season.
“Anytime you take over a program that has struggled to win games, it takes time,” Williams said. “It doesn’t happen in one year. It’s a process.”
Williams said his first order of business will be emphasizing the weight room. The Tigers many times struggled to be as physical as their opponents. In the season finale, Cuba churned out 347 rushing yards while holding Houston to 18 yards on 19 attempts and just one first down.
The team will get a few weeks off before workouts four days a week after school, Williams said.
“We’ve got to hit it hard this winter — not just a few of them. Everybody,” Williams said. “Anybody who watched us, it was pretty obvious that the strength factor was a big disadvantage for us against everybody we played. We got pretty much manhandled on the front lines almost every game. We were just weaker than everyone we played.”
Sophomore Drake Bell led the Tigers with 10 carries for 18 yards. Quarterback Jacob Kelley was 2-of-10 passing for two yards and an interception.
Harold Curtis-Allen, a converted 212-pound offensive lineman, led Cuba’s ground game with 15 carries for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Kruse added 114 rushing yards and Ryan Burke had 99.
Cuba (6-4) finished second in the district to advance into the state playoffs for the first time since 2000. The Wildcats joined Liberty, which won the district, as representatives from Class 2 District 3.
It was the final game as Tigers for Dustin Wheeler, Dalton Pokorny, Greg Ryan, Cory Scheets, Nick Portincaso and Brian Hunter. Corey Stallcup, also a senior, suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier in the season and has not played since.
Williams said a combination of playing young kids with little varsity experience and installing a new system contributed to the Tigers’ difficult season.
He predicts next season will be another step in the process of building the program back into a winner.
“I can’t predict how long it will take, but we’re still going to be a young football team next year,” he said. “We’re still looking at playing a lot of juniors and sophomores next year. It’s going to take time and we will have to be patient, although it’s hard to do.
“It’s a process, and the process starts with getting stronger. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”
It’s a process, and the process starts with getting stronger.We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” – David Williams