High School Football

Winning football at Fort Worth North Side: ‘It does feel good’

Winning football at North Side: "It does feel good," coach Joseph Turner

Rarely victorious in the past, Fort Worth North Side has started the season 2-0.
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Rarely victorious in the past, Fort Worth North Side has started the season 2-0.

Not since the days of coach Roy “Pete” Campbell, circa 1979, has a North Side High football team made the playoffs.

We’re only two weeks into the season, but the Steers are off to a good start.

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Fort Worth North Side has seized early momentum for its 2017 campaign with victories over Dallas Jefferson (29-8) and Fort Worth Carter-Riverside (37-12) – its first 2-0 start since at least 1996.

“Coach Joseph Turner is doing a great job at North Side. He’s brought enthusiasm to the program and has built it from the middle school up,” said Dean Pritchett, FWISD Assistant Director of Athletics. “We’re very excited about the start North Side is having and the players are a reflection to their coaches.”

Turner, a former TCU running back, is in his third year as head coach, and he’s already seen the difference in his squad. This season, 95 players participated in football - up from 74 in 2016.

“There’s different leadership,” Turner said. “Guys have stepped up big time here and are doing what needs to be done and it started during the off season and summer. We’ve also run the same system so now the kids can think less and play faster, and it’s helping us out tremendously.”

After years in the basement of the Fort Worth district – a 34-166 record over the past 20 seasons – the cultural tide is gradually heading in the right direction, but Turner knows there is more to be achieved.

“It does feel good, I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t, but we have a bigger goal in mind,” he said. “We’re taking it one game at time, one practice at a time. Carter-Riverside is done and over with and now we’re focused on Diamond Hill-Jarvis, but it does feel good.”

The Steers take on the Eagles, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Farrington Field.

“We don’t want to look too far into the future and think about the possibilities of what we could do,” said Turner, ever the cautious coach.

Other 2-0s

Defending Class 5A Division II state champ Aledo and Mansfield Legacy – who play each other this week are also 2-0.

Other area teams off to good starts include Burleson, Wyatt, South Hills, Richland, Saginaw Boswell, Justin Northwest, Mansfield, Arlington, Martin, Keller Fossil Ridge, Timber Creek and Granbury.

Granbury coach Chad Zschiesche (rhymes with cheezy) is in his second season with the Pirates. A June hire, he credits a full off-season with the team’s 2-0 start.

“It’s been evident that has played a huge role,” he said. “Now the kids know what the expectations are and what it’s like to work year around – to believe in themselves and to buy in.”

Granbury last started 2-0 in 2013.

“There’s a certain excitement level and buzz around the town, schools and community,” Zschiesche adds. “According to some of the local fans, it’s something they haven’t felt in some time.”

The coach praises his offensive and defensive lines, along with linebackers Braeden Derouen and Tyler Pippin, quarterback Kevin Moore, running back Ty Williams and receiver Zack McCreight.

“I’ve been impressed with the effort and the physicality the kids have brought these first two weeks,” Zschiesche said.

Smart Steers

When Turner took the North Side job in 2015, his first objective was to go .500, and while the Steers have a shot at that this season, he has accomplished others.

“Another goal of mine was to have a high passing rate at the school,” Turner said. “Ever since I got here, our passing rate has been 95 percent as a whole, varsity and junior varsity, so I’m pleased at an academic standpoint.

Senior linebacker/tight end Rafael Carbajal is committed to Texas A&M-Commerce, and Turner believes he’s the first athlete to receive a football scholarship at the school in nearly 20 years.

“College ball was a huge goal of mine,” Turner said. “I wanted to see guys go play in college. We have Rafael going and now others are starting to believe that they can too.”

The former Horned Frog still keeps in touch with coach Gary Patterson and tries to go to as many games as possible. He shares some of his tales to help motivate his team.

“The best thing is to tell them stories that they can relate to,” Turner said. “I just told them the other day how in 2005 when we beat Oklahoma and then lost to SMU the next week. I want them to understand that they shouldn’t get fooled by that trap game - don’t fall complacent and work hard every single time.”

WEEK 3 PREDICTIONS

(Predicted winners in bold)

Thursday

Lamar vs. Central

Independence vs. Eaton

La Vega vs. YMLA

Summit vs. Paschal

Hillcrest vs. Eastern Hills

Highland Park vs. Timberview

Friday

Fossil Ridge vs. Saginaw

Richland vs. Haltom

LD Bell vs. Keller

Timber Creek vs. Flower Mound

Weatherford vs. Burleson

Plano East vs. Arlington

Bowie vs. North Mesquite

Marcus vs. Mansfield

Martin vs. South Grand Prairie

North Crowley vs. Cleburne

Northwest vs. Byron Nelson

Rockwall vs. Carroll

Plano West vs. Hebron

Lewisville vs. McKinney Boyd

Colleyville Heritage vs. Trinity

Legacy vs. Aledo

Crowley vs. Azle

Birdville vs. Boswell

Centennial vs. Brewer

Southwest vs. Chisholm Trail

Arlington Heights vs. Wichita Falls

South Hills vs. Adams

Trimble Tech vs. Castleberry

Molina vs. Western Hills

Diamond Hill-Jarvis vs. Carter-Riverside

Grapevine vs. Frisco Heritage

Jefferson vs. Polytechnic

Everman vs. Stephenville

Springtown vs. Granbury

Joshua vs. Turner

Poteet vs. Lake Ridge

Corsicana vs. Lancaster

Midlothian vs. McKinney

Athens vs. Red Oak

Ennis vs. Waxahachie

Alvarado vs. Kennedale

Lake Worth vs. Godley

Glen Rose vs. Mineral Wells

Benbrook vs. Grandview

Melissa vs. Life Waxahachie

Quinlan Ford vs. Venus

Brock vs. Grapevine Faith

Cistercian Prep vs. Trinity Valley

Country Day vs. St. Andrew’s

Greenhill School vs. Oakridge

Dallas Chr. vs. Fort Worth Christian

Pantego Chr. vs. Southwest Christian

Plano John Paul II vs. Grace Prep

Nolan Catholic vs. All Saints

Colleyville Covenant vs. First Baptist

Saturday

Sam Houston vs. Dunbar

Midlothian Heritage vs. Decatur

Wyatt vs. Seguin

Last week: 40-23

Season: 79-47 (62.7 winning percentage)

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