EDNA – Robert Draper waited 29 years to become a head coach.

He needed one game to get his first win.

Edna’s 29-16 victory over Caldwell made Draper a winner in his debut.

“I tried to tell the kids without choking up on Saturday it’s been a dream of mine as a player and a coach to win a game as a head coach, and it was amazing that it happened” Draper said. “I’m thankful to the kids and the coaches and the community for allowing it to happen. I was remembering everything, and it was just such an enjoyable event.”

Draper was Edna’s offensive coordinator for the previous two seasons and was promoted to head coach in May.

“I think it made the transition real easy,” he said. “That’s the thing about it, is the school board and community wanted to keep things in place because we really do have a great staff. They wanted to keep us together. It’s great for the kids. The kids knew us. We’ve been working every day in and out. It was just a smooth transition for the kids.”

The players were familiar with Draper and haven’t noticed many changes in their daily practice routine.

“He’s very good, very motivating,” said senior Dylan Koch. “You give 100 percent on every play, you’re good. If you mess up, going 100 percent is what it’s about. I know our physicality with the offense and our practices are still the same. Our expectations of getting better every day are getting better.”

Draper was the offensive coordinator at Liberty Hill before coming to Edna and introduced the slot-T offense to the Cowboys.

Edna went through some rough patches during the prior two seasons but seems to be getting the hang of the offense.

“It’s very natural,” said senior Logan Carroll. “It’s a very fun offense to play once you get used to it. The defense never knows – like when we play EB (East Bernard) you never know what’s coming when you play defense. So whenever we run it, they definitely don’t know what’s coming, and we’re hitting people every single play.”

The Cowboys have expanded the offense this season and become more versatile. Edna had three players score in its win over Caldwell.

“We can kind of do some other little wrinkles that will be some of those things that people can do to us,” Draper said. “We have counter to that now. It’s easy to install so the kids know the basics of the system.”

Edna will look to give Draper his second win when it hosts Anahuac in its homecoming game on Friday.

“We came out with the win, which is always good, but we could have played a lot better overall,” Carroll said. “We’re ready to get better.”

Around the area

Shiner’s Daniel Boedeker and Hallettsville Sacred Heart’s Manny Freeland were also winners in their head coaching debuts.

Beeville’s Chris Soza was a winner in his return to Beeville, where he previously coached.

Nixon-Smiley broke a 17-game losing streak with its 34-0 win over Pettus.

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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