Rodney Webb specializes in rebuilding football programs.
"Building the belief we can win,'' is the way Webb phrases it.
He was very successful in five-year stretches at Royse City and at Horn (Mesquite), compiling an 85-44 record and nine straight playoff appearances. Now he's in the first year of "fixing'' the Rockwall Yellowjackets.
The 45-year-old has been on the job only seven months, but under his regime change Rockwall
(3-2) has already equaled its win total in either of its last two seasons.
For pushing the right buttons in the Yellowjackets' 24-20 victory over rival Rockwall-Heath, Webb was selected as this week's Capital One Bank Dallas Coach of the Week.
Webb points to signature wins that helped jump-start programs at previous coaching stops. At Royse City in 2004, it was a 20-17 victory over defending Class 3A state champion Gainesville. At Horn, it was a 28-19 upset of rival Mesquite on Week 10 of the 2008 season that allowed the Jaguars to make the playoffs for the first time.
Webb is hoping Friday's win over previously unbeaten Rockwall-Heath is the springboard the Yellowjackets need. An overflow crowd of 10,000 was on hand at Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium to watch Rockwall win for only the second time in the six-year series against its younger neighbor.
"It is always important to win your first district game,'' said Webb. "But at Rockwall, participation is an issue. In this era of specialization, a lot of kids feel they have to make a decision in the eighth grade on what sport to play. We want them to play as many sports as they can. It is easy to give up on the sport that hasn't been winning and here that has been football. Hopefully, we changed some minds.''
The lead seesawed several times until the fourth quarter when sophomore quarterback Will Reed
connected on a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jay Galloway
, giving the Yellowjackets the lead for good. The defense made the four-point advantage stand up.
In 2012, Rockwall-Heath routed Rockwall, 45-12.
A trademark for Webb's teams has been outstanding quarterback play. Reed completed 14 of 17 for 194 yards and three touchdowns.
"Because Will is a sophomore, we want to limit the things we asked him to do, so he's operating out of a smaller box,'' said Webb, an offensive lineman in his playing days. "We're going to take it slow, but we think he's going to be a good one.''
Rockwall last made the playoffs in 2010. The wait for a playoff victory has grown to 21 seasons.
When Webb, a Tarleton State graduate and a 2007 inductee to the school‘s Hall of Fame, was hired at Rockwall in early March, it solved a dilemma. His family has long resided in Rockwall. Wife Fran teaches computer education at the school and daughter Gracy, the couple's only child, is a sophomore volleyball player there.
"It was difficult not to be with my family and they were so happy at Rockwall, it didn't make sense for them to come over to Horn,'' Webb said. "This was the only job I would have left Horn for.''
On Friday, Rockwall hosts Webb's old team in an intriguing District 12-5A match-up. Horn is off to a 5-0 start.
"It's going to be weird,'' Webb said. "The hard part is going to be pre-game. I want to give those Horn guys a hug and at the same time I want to win the game.
"I love those kids at Horn. I told them that the day I left. I hope they understand that. I'm proud of them and the season they are having. But my job now is to do the best I can with our kids at Rockwall.''