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Manvel's Mission -- A Look Back on Mavs' State Run
January 10, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - South Houston
Attitude Key in Mavs' Success
By Ahmard Vital
Photos by Diana Porter
What was the force behind Manvel’s magical season?
The words “magical” came directly from the mouth of the man who led the Mavericks into the Class 4A Division II state title game against Aledo in December 2011. That was one of the first statements that came from Manvel coach Kirk Martin’s mouth to describe the 2011 season that ended with a 49-28 loss to the three-time champions from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
No doubt there were a lot of factors that went into the Mavericks’ 15-1 season, but Martin is sold on one single, main ingredient that was key to their success.
It was stated in one word also.
“Unselfish. The bottom line is that these kids wanted to win no matter what it took,” Martin said. “I had a team full of unselfish players. We rotated players at a number of positions and none of them showed any ego. Mentally, that leads to success.”
The record shows that to be a true statement seeing that the Mavericks did not see a loss until the final game of the season. Note that Manvel plays in arguably the state's toughest Class 4A district, with the likes of Pearland Dawson, La Marque and Friendswood among others.
As for the unselfishness in the rotation of players, Martin spoke of the defensive ends, wide receivers, but most notably, the quarterbacks.
Throughout the entire season, Martin rotated Julian Walker and Shane McCarley frequently as the guy taking the snaps.
“Both (McCarley, Walker) wanted to be the ‘guy,’ and I know that. But it worked out for us to get contributions from them both,” Martin said.
And like most of the programs that see success, the work begins well before the fall. Whether it is the boot camp, summer conditioning or two-a-days, the Maverick players have a regimen in place for them to have a chance to do great things. This was the year that all of it came together.
In fact, when it comes to two-a-days, certain things have to happen before the team can move forward.
“Before we hit the field, we do two weeks of classroom material. That method is sometimes frowned upon, but we feel it is important,” Martin said. “We use that time to set the expectations, letting the kids know what we expect and get them mentally right. This is when we explain to them what it means to be a Maverick.”
This is the starting point for the team chemistry that aided the Mavericks to their best season in school history.