School Spotlight: Clear Falls High School (League City, TX)

Clear Falls High School is a school located in League City, a region in the southeastern part of the Houston metro area. Competing in the 6A Region III District 24, the school has recently experienced a pretty incredible turnaround under head coach Zach Head. Clear Falls finished the season as district champions ahead of Texas powerhouse schools like Dickinson and Clear Springs. Going 5-1 in district play, the Knights finished the season with a 9-3 record, including a playoff win against Dawson. After a few years of coming up just short, the team finally achieved their first district championship in school history, a feat that was a long time coming for the budding program.

The school’s first ever football district championship plaque

With an impressive resume of assistant coaching positions including working as a student coach under Bob Stoops, Oklahoma University legend, Coach Head was more than prepared for his first head coaching position when he joined Clear Falls. After serving as an assistant coach for rival school Clear Creek for seven years, Coach Head was more than familiar with the program prior to landing the Clear Falls job in 2016. The school had actually been under construction during his tenure at Clear Creek and he was able to see the birth and growth of the program from its first steps. Once he felt confident he was at a point in his career where he was ready to take on the responsibilities of a full-time head coach, he thew his name in the hat for a few schools and he received an offer from Clear Falls.

Clear Falls running back David Smith running in the open field.

The most important lesson learned from his coaching experiences that translated to running the Clear Falls program today for Coach Head was to build great relationship all-around and care about them. Organization and instilling confidence in those around them was also valuable information that he learned, as well as establishing a culture of all-around accountability. In reference to his coaching philosophy, he waived off the need to have a complex list of norms to implement and narrowed it down to one key idea: do what’s right. By the time the kids get to the Clear Falls program, coach stressed that they already know what’s right and what’s wrong. Being of high character and treating people with respect no matter what, appreciating the team and what they have, all are also things that are emphasized.

Clear Falls is part of the education village in the Clear Creek Independent School District, the first of its kind in the Texas public school system. This means that elementary school Sandra Mossman Elementary, middle school Bayside Intermediate, and Clear Falls all share a 144-acre campus and have opportunities to collaborate and share resources. One of the ways in which this affects the football program, noted by Coach Head, is that it creates a small-town feel and atmosphere. A significant amount of athletes on the team come through as Knights all the way from kindergarten, and so a lot of the team already have a strong connection and bond in place by the time they are high school players. Not only that, but they are able to see and grow up supporting their team from a very young age, creating a significantly more impactful moment when they take the field for the first time. As a result, coach noted that this has lead to the creation of a player-led and player-driven environment, one of the keys to the program’s success.

The entire Clear Falls 2022 varsity roster

To start the preseason, the team conducts a retreat that is exclusively for the players on the team. With no coach involvement, its goal is to create a team bonding experience and help the team gel together and establish a brotherhood before beginning their schedule. One of the notable results this retreat creates, according to Coach Head, is that it gets the Knights ready to play hard for one another before anything else. He credits this as one of the key factors in the cohesion the team was able to show throughout the season.

The biggest highlight for Coach Head was winning their first district championship. The playoff run they went on was also historic and memorable, and those two things are at the top for him. Although he had a very difficult time picking out the biggest lesson learned because of the excellence and attitudes of this particular group of players, he noted that it was important to remember the importance of stepping up and being all in. The leadership his senior group this past season showed was incredible and he wants the next group of players to continue to show that leadership.

The Knights giving back by helping out at a community Special Olympics event

There are several seniors coming up in his roster that he feels will really get a chance to shine this upcoming season.

Jude Edwards is a class of 2024 offensive lineman. Having started every season since his freshman year, he is an outstanding player in every aspect.

Lekell McGowan is a class of 2024 defensive end. Already a 2 year starter he is looking to build on a successful junior year and break out even further as a prospect.

Landon Vessel is a class of 2024 quarterback. After taking the reins last year as a junior, he is looking to build off of a district championship last year and continues to work hard to do so.

Payton Greer is a class of 2024 running back. Also doubling as an occasional slot receiver, Payton is a versatile weapon that coach hopes to be able to utilize further in his offense next year.

Skylar Luzader and Thomas Gausepohl are another pair of offensive linemen in the class of 2024. Coach stressed that the biggest strength going into next season is their offensive line and both players will play huge roles in providing premium protection next season.

Talking about the future of Clear Falls football, coach stressed that their 3 main goals remain the same season after season. To win the CCISD championship, to win the district championship, and to make the playoffs. Once those goals are accomplished they start to focus on the next thing such as making a playoff run, and this disciplined focused that cautions against looking past their objectives will no doubt continue to lead to even more team success for the Knights.

Clear Falls posing in celebration after their first district football championship.