Tolar High School is home to the Rattlers and is located in Tolar, TX, about an hour and a half away from Dallas. Tolar is a small 2A school, was a 3A school but moved down in the fall of 2020, having a population of around 255 students in their 9th through 12th grades. Tolar’s sports programs have been flourishing recently. Last year, their boy’s basketball team had their first ever regional finalist & 30-win season, their baseball team had their first ever regional finalist, and of course, the football team had their first ever 13-win season, coached by Jeremy Mullins.
Coach Mullins has been the head coach of Tolar since 2017, but that isn’t where his coaching career started. This will be his 17th year coaching, but before Tolar, he coached at Saginaw Boswell High School for four years and Merkel High School for six years before that. While coaching for Boswell and Merkel, Jeremy was the defensive coordinator, getting his first head coaching job at Tolar. In his time as Tolar’s head coach, Jeremy has had three winning seasons, with a career record of 44 wins and 28 losses.
While talking to Coach Mullins, he stated a ton of his success has come from his coaching staff. His offensive coordinator, Kieth Mullins, defensive coordinator, Weston Bond, run game coordinator, Lance LeFevre, assistant coaches, Lance Alford, Brandon Higgins, Tyler Hall, Scott Richardson, and Blaze Pendleton, and more help beyond that. Without this staff to help him, he could never get to the spot where he is now.
I asked, Coach Mullins, what was the biggest lesson he tries to teach his players?“I am big on control what you can control. There are so many things in football and in life that are outside of our control. When we get caught up on all those things that don’t matter in the long term or all those things that we don’t have control over, then we are not at our best. Being in the classroom, on the football field, or outside of this place. I want to tech them to focus their energy and attention on what you do have control over and then go be great at those things.”
The Tolar Rattlers, coming off of a 13-1 record last year, have started this season 3-1. They have been playing well as a whole unit, especially the defense. “Weston Bon is the defensive coordinator, and he does a great job with those guys and having them prepared,” stated Mullins. Mullins had a tremendous amount of positive things to say about his team. “We are improving up front going into this year that was an area with some new faces for us. I am pleased to say those guys are really taking some strides in the right direction in the last couple of weeks.” – Coach Mullins. The Rattlers look to continue their growth throughout the season to make a run for the championship this year.
Here are some of his players we should keep an eye on:
QB Isaac Blessing 6’3” 190lbs – Isaac is a senior who converted from playing linebackers to moving to start at quarterback for this year. “we have some good leadership in Isaac Blessing who is playing quarterback. He was an all-state linebacker last year, so he’s stepped into the quarterback position this year as a senior and has just done a great job at leading us, getting us on the right sets, really a coach on the field,” – Coach Mullins
DL Cash Clark 6′ 230lbs – Cash is a junior defensive lineman for Tolar’s football team. Last year Cash won the award for Newcomer of the Year and looks to continue his performance this year by having two sacks already on the season. Coach Mullins had some high praise for Cash Clark, “He, in my opinion, is one of the better d-linemen in the state for 2A.”
RB/S Garrison Nation 5’10” 160lbs – Garrison is a senior safety who is also been filling in as running back since Peyton Brown’s injury. Last year, Garrison was selected for 2nd Team DB. “He has played on varsity for several years and has been a big piece to a great defense. Right now, he is starting for us at both running back and safety. Garrison has done a tremendous job stepping into that running back position for us.” – Coach Mullins
RB Peyton Brown 6’3” 235lbs. – Peyton Brown is a junior running back for the Rattlers. He’s been injured with an ankle injury since week one. In the week one game Peyton recorded 21 carries for 212 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and one catch for eight yards and a touchdown receiving. Last year, Peyton had a big year winning District MVP. Tolar trainer, Fabricio Berlanga, and the rest of the team hope to get him healthy and back on the field as soon as possible. “Peyton Brown is a stud as a running back.” – Coach Mullins
OT Oakley Saffer 5’10” 196lbs. – Oakley is a senior offensive tackle for the Rattlers. He is one of the big leaders on that line for his team. Last year, Oakley received the honor of 1st Team OL. “He has played a lot of varsity snaps doing a great job protecting the quarterback for us.” – Coach Mullins
TE/MLB Drake Owens 6’2” 185lbs. – Drake is a junior that plays on both sides of the field. On the defensive side, he is one of the biggest leaders playing that mike position. On the offensive side, he uses his big size to catch passes as a tight end. Last year, Drake received the honor of 1st Team Tight End. “He is our mike linebacker, calls the defense for us.” – Coach Mullins
DB Clayton Sternbridge 5’10” 145lbs. – Clayton is a senior defensive back. He is a huge piece of this Rattlers’ defense recording four interceptions in just four weeks. Last year, Clayton was 1st Team DB and is looking to have another huge season. “One of those guys that leads us week in and week out in the back end.” – Couch Mullins
Tolar this upcoming weekend will be playing an away game against Hamilton (3-2). Here is what Coach Mullins had to say about their opponent.“Hamilton is a team that, in my opionion, is overlooked in the beggining of the year. They got beat last week which surprised me. They have a good group of skill players. Just about everybody from last years team is returning and this is a team that went to the third round of the playoffs. Hamilton is certainly not to be taken lightly. It’s always a fun game, and a fun week. They always give us a battle.”
This should be a good matchup between the two teams, while Coach Mullins and the Rattlers try to secure a victory to keep their winning total increasing.