COACHES OF THE YEAR
Class 5A: Mansfield Timberview's Mark Walker
Nothing can prepare a team for the death of one of its coaches. Timberview endured an unspeakable tragedy when assistant coach Cody McCarty passed away at just 29 years old.
The Wolves could have succumbed to their grief and let a promising season slip away, but head coach Mark Walker wouldn't let them.
The Wolves dedicated their year to McCarty, and Walker kept them focused on honoring their late coach.
The season, just Timberview's second at the 5A level, turned into one of the best in the school's history despite not making the postseason since 2008.
But the Wolves roared through the playoffs. They opened the postseason with upsets over Colleyville Heritage and Flower Mound Marcus, then defeated two strong west Texas teams in Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney in the state semifinals.
Class 4A: Frisco Centennial's Mark Howard
The opportunity to start a program from scratch excited Mark Howard when he became Centennial's first head coach in 2003. What he didn't know was that he'd have to start the program from scratch more than once.
Expansion in Frisco ISD split classes at Centennial throughout the 2000s, keeping the football program's numbers unstable. With expansion picking on other schools now, Howard has shown what kind of program he can build.
Howard turned Centennial into one of the best 4A defenses in the area as the Titans gave up just 11.4 points per game, which fueled an undefeated regular season in which the Titans breezed through District 9-4A.
A successful playoff run capped off what was easily the best season in school history. The Titans beat McKinney North and Dallas Conrad before falling to Corsicana in the regional semifinals.
Howard has Centennial's subvarsity programs humming, and with many key underclassmen set to return, the future looks bright for Howard and the Titans.