Video: Highlight of state semifinals
See Pershing County High's football team in action during last season's playoff push.
The Pershing County (Lovelock, Nev.)
Mustangs went 12-0 this year on their way to winning the Class 2A state championship in 2016. Many of the 2016 state champions only lost a few games in 2015, but Pershing County was quite different. The Mustangs went 6-5 the year before.
That is interesting to point out because it should give coaches hope that a 6-5 record isn't the end of the world. It could be just the beginning! Head coach David McLean shares his philosophies about running a football program with MaxPreps.1. What does your program do differently from others in your league, conference or state that helped you win a state championship?
I'm not really sure what we do differently from other programs. I can only speak for ours. Getting kids to buy into the offseason weight program was huge for us. When you have kids working out all year round, not only are they becoming better athletes and getting stronger, but there's an investment into a program. Also, we've had tremendous support from our community over the years. We put on a youth football camp for the kids every year, and then we have the youth coaches over to the house for a BBQ and a clinic. We talk some X's and O's and answer any questions that they might have, but mainly we just want to tell them thank you for their time and effort that they put into the youth programs and let them know how important they are to building our future.2. What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your state championship?
Again, I really believe that so much comes down to the players buying in. It doesn't really matter what offense or defense you run, or what kind of system you choose. If you can get players to buy into what you're doing, then you've got a decent opportunity to have success.3. What is one piece of advice you would give to a coach wanting to win a state championship?
We have never set out with the idea of trying to win a state championship, but we're just about trying to win the next game. Treat every game as if it is a state championship game, especially as far as preparation is concerned. If we are fortunate enough to make it to the state playoffs, we don't want anything to change. I just think that it's very important to enjoy the moment, enjoy all the games, enjoy our time that we get to have with each other. I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves and miss out on that.
4. What kind of offense did you run, and how do you feel it gives you an advantage?
This year we ran a shotgun version of the flex-bone. Over the years, we've always incorporated some form of the triple option, and this just seemed to fit the personnel that we had. The advantage that we get from running it is that it is so difficult for other schools to prepare for. They have a tough time simulating the speed, the variations of blocking and the quarterback's ability to read the play.5. What kind of defense did you run, and how do you feel it gives you an advantage?
We run a very vanilla 4-3 defense. Our defensive coordinator Lance Condie believes in keeping the defense simple, not overcomplicating things, that way the kids will play faster and more physical. It is also a very flexible defense that will allow you to adjust to everything.6. Which of the special teams was most valuable this year, and why?
Punt Team. We really try not to punt at all if we can help it. We will go for it on fourth down a pretty high percentage of the time, but sometimes we do have to punt. The importance of being able to protect the punter, when you have to punt, and all of the chips are on the table - that's huge. This last season, we had zero bad snaps, zero punts blocked and no punts returned for touchdowns. Those things can change a game around fast.7. What's the No. 1 obstacle you face in building a championship-caliber program in your community?
I believe that we are one of the smallest, if not the smallest, high school in Nevada that is playing 11-man football. We are always recruiting our students, trying to get them to play, even if they didn't play youth football. An extra three or four kids can make a big difference for us. Along with that, getting kids to invest this much time and energy, to have a commitment, is a very difficult task. Many young people seem quite content playing video games or checking out the scene on social media.8. 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?
I'm not sure that I had a main mentor in the football profession, I just always wanted to be a high school football coach. I learned a lot from all of my coaches growing up. Probably the bad coaches more than the good ones. In college, I played for Bob Dinaberg at Santa Barbara City College. I knew that Bob really cared for me as a person and he made football fun. I'm also blessed to have a great coaching staff. A very loyal staff. I feel that I learn from them every single day.Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.