It’s crazy how things work out sometimes.
When long-time Woodlands coach Mark Schmid resigned as the Highlanders' lead man in 2018, offensive coordinator Jim Rapp slid in as the new coach of the red and green.
Defensive coordinator Pat Kennedy was primed for a head coaching job himself and was a finalist for Conroe ISD’s newest school Grand Oak. It seemed like a perfect fit, however, the job was awarded to La Marque’s Dr. Mike Jackson.
That left Kennedy on the coaching market. He was hired at Montgomery’s new school, Lake Creek.
Grand Oaks has yet to reach the postseason and coach Jackson resigned during the season.
Lake Creek was in the postseason in its third year and currently 12-0 State-ranked going into this Friday’s third-round game against Fort Bend Marshall at 1 pm at Delmar Stadium.
“Pat came in as a young coach on our staff and grew immensely,” Oak Ridge and former Woodlands coach Mark Schmid said. “He worked through our system and took on a leadership role when I named him our defensive coordinator. He learned how to delegate and run a staff, so he was prepared when he got the Lake Creek job.
“Five years later, look at the culture at that school. Every sport has had great success and that is a tribute to Pat. He’s in the right place.”
At 6-foot-8, Kennedy is an intimidating presence. He always has been. He’s had a rough exterior at times, but he’s softening up. But keep that on the down low.
“That hat he used to wear is long gone,” Schmid laughed. “He can celebrate the great moments and work through the tough ones. He does a great job coaching his coaches up and he’s having fun.”
“They play the song, ‘All I do is Win’, around here a lot,” Kennedy laughed. “From softball, basketball, baseball and volleyball, our programs have been really successful. Football is on the way as we build out this program with depth. But this school is really amazing. We just have great kids, parents, and administrators who want to win and are willing to do what it takes to win.”
Leading the way for Kennedy and the Lions is an explosive offense directed by QB Cade Tessier, who has thrown for 1,700 yards and run for 1,000 more. Sophomore RB Ty Ty Byars has exploded for 2,300 yards and 37 scores, and Sam Lee is the leading receiver.
“Cade is 16-0 as a starting QB. We were on our way last season before he got hurt,” Kennedy said. “Byars is a difference-maker. I’ve seen five great backs at The Woodlands, who all played Division I, and he’s a mix of all of them. I compare him to Ezekiel Elliott – he can run over people, make you miss, catch out of the backfield, and block.”
Kennedy, who made his living coaching defense prior to his head coaching stint, has morphed into an offensive guy.
“The different between Class 6A and 5A football are the offensive and defensive lines,” he said. “Everyone puts their dudes on offense and that’s why Class 5A games are shootouts. We have a really good defense that plays hard, but they are going up against every team’s best players.”
Marshall also follows that trend with elite skill athletes on offense and solid fronts on both sides of the ball.
“They are really well-coached and will be very athletic,” he said. “We are going to see how our kids perform in a game like this. If we can hang around with them until late in the game and not hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers, we should be ok.”