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Martin & Cotton return as Galveston O'Connell jumps back to TAPPS

Galveston O'connell will return to TAPPS this upcoming school year

Sometimes you don’t know how great you have it until you leave.

That’s the case at Galveston O’Connell, which tested the TCAL waters for three seasons before announcing its TAPPS return for the upcoming school year. The move is a year in the making, after lifetime Buccaneers came home to lead the charge.

The first was Derek Martin, who returned to his alma mater as athletic director and head boys basketball coach last summer. It’s fitting that he’s back for the Bucs’ second run at TAPPS because he helped the basketball and track teams excel in their first three seasons in the league between 1988 and 1991.

“It’s been exciting to be back home, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Martin. “When I was a student-athlete here, I learned so many things that prepared me for the real world. We had coaches and teachers that always went the extra mile for us, and that cared enough about our future success to invest their time into us. And that hasn’t changed at all to this day.”

One of his mentors was Tim Cotton, who coached him in both sports, and has decades-long experience with high school football. He was retired for six years when the O’Connell football job opened in 2017, but couldn’t turn it down.

“The commitment that the TAPPS league made to private schools was something that intrigued me,” said Cotton. “And then to have the opportunity to come back and re-establish those values at O’Connell was something I couldn’t pass up.”

Both have lengthy ties to TAPPS, so they know how to prepare their programs for success.

Martin spent the majority of the past 20 years with TAPPS programs O’Connell and Baytown Christian, serving in roles like JV boys basketball coach, varsity boys and girls basketball coach, and athletic director.

Cotton has been coaching even longer, with stops at O’Connell, Marian Christian and Westbury Christian.

Both want to build on past athletic achievements, so football’s a great time to start.

The program is two years removed from a playoff win, and its strong junior class will put it in contention for another one in 2018. It includes versatile and all-state Izeal Owens, running back/linebacker Josh Hickman and strong-armed quarterback Tanner Adkins.

“With [Hickman] and Owens, we’re going to have two young leaders, [so] I think we’ll make the playoffs this year,” said Cotton. “And once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen.”

This article appears in the May issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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