Not since the days of coach Roy “Pete” Campbell, circa 1979, has a North Side High football team made the playoffs.
It’s only three weeks into the season, but the Steers are off to a good start.
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 of 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 offseason 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.”
Isai Soto 61 yards,
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 at 7:30 p.m. Friday 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.
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, quarterback Alfredo Garcia, running back/cornerback Victor Narvaez and lineman Nathyn De La Rosa are team captains.
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.”