AUSTIN (KXAN) — Change has been a constant in the Anderson Trojans football program over the past decade, but new head coach Donald Hatcher is hoping to provide the stability for the team to flourish.
The Trojans are stepping into a new classification and district after last year’s 3-7 season in Class 5A, but Hatcher said he’s already seeing things that make him optimistic about the future.
“Trying to rebuild a program is just about the kids buying into what you have to say,” Hatcher said, “and they’ve been bought in since Day 1. They’re a great group of guys to work with.”
Hatcher was the co-defensive coordinator last season at Little Elm, a town on the northern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Little Elm finished 5-5 in Class 6A District 5 last season, a district that includes powerhouse Allen and Denton Guyer.
MORE THAN THE SCORE: Stay up to date on sports stories like these, and sign up for our More than the Score sports newsletter at kxan.com/newsletters
Hatcher takes over for Roderick Thompson, who is now the defensive coordinator for Vista Ridge. Hatcher is the sixth coach in the past 10 years for the Trojans.
He’s also not a stranger to Austin. He’s from Rockdale and previously served as an assistant at LBJ from 2005-2007.
Senior linebacker IV Webb said with Hatcher on board, “it feels like we play for a whole new school now.”
“It’s a great change from what we’ve had,” Webb said, “and he definitely brings the intensity.” Webb led the district in tackles last year, averaging 12.5 per game. He had a high of 17 tackles in a win over Pflugerville.
The Trojans will need a lot out of Webb and the rest of the defense if they want to compete in a loaded new 6A-District 26. Perennial powers Lake Travis and Westlake are always reloading with great teams, and Bowie finished 10-3 and went to the third round of the 6A-D1 playoffs last year. Not to mention Dripping Springs and Buda Johnson are also moving up to 6A and into the district and both made the playoffs in 5A last year.
Senior defensive back Austin Miller said Hatcher has been including the players on basically every decision he makes, and that has also resonated with the team.
“He’s really vocal with us and he’s really open,” Miller said. “He’s been having us hit it hard since he got there, and he makes us feel like family to him.”
Anderson plays one of the first games of the Texas high school season at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 when they face off against McCallum in the Taco Shack Bowl at House Park.