2-A-DAYS: Gatesville Hornets

GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Luke Howard's homecoming probably didn't include a plan of becoming a head coach so soon, but the 2007 Gatesville graduate is ready to lead the Hornets back to the playoffs.

Howard was hired in July to replace Kyle Cooper, who accepted a position on Art Briles' staff at Mount Vernon.

"My dad (Steve), he coached here, so I grew up here," Howard said. "This was the only place I lived before I graduated and moved to Belton to go to UMHB.

There's so many familiar faces, a lot of people you know and love, and you want to work hard for them. You want to take their kids, and make them better people, and just be entrenched in this community. It's such a special place. Getting back here and having the opportunity to do that is a special thing."

Gatesville finished in a three-way tie for third in district 4-4A last season, but lost the tiebreak to China Spring and Brownwood. Their district may only have five teams, but it also includes the reigning state champion La Vega Pirates.

"I think everybody is bought in a lot more than we had before," senior defensive back and wide receiver Tyler Godfrey said. "I think there's a lot of trust. We all believe in coach Howard and we think he's doing a great job. We just have to trust each other and play together."

The Hornets will begin the season on the road at Midlothian Heritage.