Video: Dylan Jantz's highlights vs. Boling High School
See the Gunter High player in action in the state title game.
Jake Fieszel led Gunter (Texas)
to a perfect 16-0 record in 2016, the first
time in the history of the school that they ran the table to a perfect
season. He's been the head football coach since 2007 and was an assistant coach from 2004 to 2006.
They Tigers beat Jacksboro, Hooks, Henrietta and Winoma en route to becoming the Region 2 champions. Then they beat Canadian 44-34 for the right to play in the title game vs. Boling, then won 43-7.
MaxPreps got the chance to ask Fieszel 10 questions about things he has done to help his program ascend to the highest level in a brutal state.1. What does your football program do differently from other programs in your league, conference or state that helped you win a state championship?
I don't know that we do anything differently. We are a program that believes in hard work and sacrifice. We have an off-season program that is second to none and our kids buy into it. We also preach being a great teammate and try to develop team chemistry whenever possible.
I wouldn't say that our off-season is the best, because obviously there are a lot of programs out there that win and do it right, but, I don't think there are any programs that do it any better than us. We lift a lot and tie our off-season program into our track program so our kids run all spring as well. We use track to not only promote speed development, but also toughness. I believe that being physical comes from our weight training and our toughness is linked to our track workouts.2. What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your state championship?
I think bringing our community together. Seeing our entire school and community rally around one team was just amazing and so much fun to be a part of.3. What is one piece of advice that you would give to a coach wanting to win a state championship?
Well to win a state championship you have to have everything line up for you, but I would tell them to take care of the details in everything they do.4. What kind of offense did you run?
Short pistol.5. What kind of defense did you run?
4-2.6. Which of the special teams was most valuable this year, and why?
They were all very valuable. We put a lot of emphasis on kick coverage though, both kickoff and punt. We spend a lot of time on special teams. We punt 10 minutes a day working on protection, coverage and kicks from different parts of the field. We also work kickoff coverage drills and team coverage three times a week. We are big believers in field position so pinning the other team and also getting returns on punt and kickoffs are a big emphasis for us. We design our team to play as good on defense as we possibly can, so keeping the other team as far away from the end zone when they gain possession of the ball is really important to us in our plan to win games.
7. Do you incorporate some type of character development program within your football program? If so, what program do you use?
Yes, Randy Allen from Highland Park has a book on character development and we use a lot of his ideas when developing our character development.8. Do you incorporate some type of leadership development program within your football program? If so, what program do you use?
We don't have a specific program, but we do emphasize leadership and we have a leadership council that is voted on by the team and they make decisions for the team.9. What is the number one obstacle you face in building a championship-caliber football program in your community?
You have to have total buy in from everyone: the community, parents, administrators, school board, coaching staff, kids, etc. Everyone has to be in the boat and rowing the same direction. That can sometimes be tough to do, but very important.10. Who do you consider to be your main mentor in this profession and what about that coach do you try to emulate in your program?
Coach Willie Roten and coach David Gage are two coaches that have had a huge impact on my coaching career. Both were highly successful coaches and both have different styles. When I was a young coach, I tried to listen to them and soak up as much of their knowledge about kids and the game as I could. A lot of what we do today with our team is based on their structure and their ideas.