HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Gensler bringing accountability to struggling Yellow Jackets’ program

Nate Gensler is over the shock of what he found when he took over the Kermit football program in February.

Now he wants the Yellow Jackets to shock their opponents and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Some would say lofty expectations for a program that has won just 14 games the past five seasons and just three since its playoff appearance.

The Kermit High School Yellow Jackets wait for the snap as they practice for the start of football season Wednesday morning at Walton Field in Kermit.

Conversely, Gensler was part of a coaching staff at Lubbock Roosevelt last season that guided the Eagles to the Class 3A Division II state semifinals, winning 14 games along the way.

That winning attitude, with a healthy dose of toughness, is what he is trying to instill, which has ruffled a few feathers.

“It’s night and day from what I’ve been told,” he said. “You are cracking skulls and pissing people off; it’s not going to make people happy.

“It’s bringing accountability and holding people accountable for going to class or being late to practice. It’s a complete change.”

The Kermit High School Yellow Jackets run drills as they practice for the start of football season Wednesday morning at Walton Field in Kermit.

He says the players have responded to his tougher brand of coaching and he’s excited about the upcoming season.

The Yellow Jackets will benefit from the return of quarterback Jeremiah Salazar and the addition of running back Nate Gensler, the coach’s son.

Salazar suffered a season-ending injury in Week 4 in 2021, so Coach Gensler knows the importance of keeping the senior signal caller on the field as depth is an issue this season for the Yellow Jackets.

He already knows what his son brings to the table.

Nate Gensler rushed for 1,414 yards and 19 touchdowns last season for the Eagles and earned third-team all-state honors.

His father has already had the talk with his son about expectations and attitude on and off the field this season.

“We were just about this, about how he has to play with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” Coach Gensler said. “You’re coming into a small town, you’ve been an all-state running back, you’ve got something to prove.

“All the hype, people are looking for you. Looking for you to mess up in school, on the field, in the community.”

Yellow Jackets’ fans would do well to rally behind its team as it attempts to return to respectability.

Something Gensler understands is closer than others think and it depends on the play up front.

With Kendell Dunnam at center and Diego Juarez and David Dobson at the guard, Kermit is going to be looking to control the point of attack and allow Salazar and Nate Gensler the ability to make decisions on the option.

The Yellow Jackets will throw the ball some, but Coach Gensler wants his offense to eat up yardage and time off the clock at the same time.

“You want them (opponents) to have as few possessions as possible,” Gensler said. “Dunnam is the key; his ability to make the calls on the blocking assignments and he’s going to be night and day from last year.

“As the offensive line goes, we go.”

One thing that’s gone is the cavalier attitude the permeated the program when Gensler stepped on campus.

He is happy with the progress and knows that there is so much more that the athletes have to make routine to be successful.

“We are going to show up every day, on time and ready to work,” Gensler said he told the players in February.

“All spring, all summer, going into 2-a-days it’s been the same thing. We’ve been hammering these guys since February and we need to get some validation of the things we’ve telling them and teaching them, to let them know they are on the right track.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide




>> Head coach: Nate Gensler.

>> Coach’s overall record: 0-0.

>> Coach’s record at school: 0-0.

>> Assistant coaches, duties: Sterling Jones, defensive coordinator; Derrick Shelton, offensive coordinator; Jack Barber; James Blevins; James Brown; Trevor Casteel; Darian Evans; Tyler Mancuso; Haddan Stokes; Trent Ward.


>> 2021 overall record: 1-9.

>> 2021 district record: 0-5.

>> Last district title: 2008.

>> Last playoff appearance: 2018.

>> Stadium name: Walton Field (3,000).

>> Base offense: Option.

>> Base defense: 4-3.


>> Returning lettermen: 12.

>> Returning starters: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense).

>> Key returners: Jeremiah Salazar, 6-0, 175, Sr., QB; Kendall Dunham, 6-2, 220, Sr., OL/DL; Nate Vela, 5-11, 175, Sr., WR; Devonte Dawson, 5-8, 175, WR; Diego Juarez, 6-4, 240, Soph, OL.

>> Key newcomers: Nate Gensler, 5-11, 200, Sr., RB.