'Brownsville Way' making a comeback
In Brownsville's football heyday more than two decades ago, when the 1990 Falcons recorded the only regular-season undefeated/untied team in school history (since the 1966 Brownsville/Redstone merger), his may have been a — pun intended — household name.
Today, Jason House, a 1992 Brownsville grad and junior offensive guard/defensive tackle on that 1990 squad and hired in January as the Falcons new head coach, inherits a team whose seniors have won two games in recent seasons. Last year, Brownsville's only win in a 1-9 season came in the final week, in a nonconference game. Brownsville finished 1-8 in 2013, 0-9 in 2012.
But House, a Brownsville assistant for four years prior to serving on Albert Gallatin's sidelines, has one goal — “to instill,” as he put it, the “ ‘Brownsville way,' the way it was in our heyday. We intend to bring that ‘Brownsville way' back to football prominence. Our players are learning and buying into our system and are determined to improve. They aren't settling for anything less.”
Optimistic and with reason, House points to speed and quickness as team strengths. But, he emphasized, an “improved team mindset” is even more important. “Our key,” he said, is to “continue to work, learn the system, and learn to trust the coaches.”
Despite recent history, House pegs his Falcons, who return eight lettermen, including five seniors, two juniors, and one sophomore, as contending for a Class AA Interstate Conference playoff berth.
“There are 5-6 teams in our conference we can definitely play with,” he said.
Brownsville last earned a postseason berth in 2000.
Leading the way for the rejuvenated Falcons is quarterback/cornerback Marcellous Grooms, who passed for 850 yards last year and added 450 yards rushing. “Marcellous is our leader and field general,” House said.
A four-year starter, Grooms earned all-county and all-conference honors last year.
Tight end/linebacker Matt Rouse recorded 120 tackles last year. An interior offensive lineman last season, Rouse, another four-year starter and all-county performer, has been converted to tight end and has made a fine adjustment, House said.
Three-year starter and all-county performer DaVante Stafford returns at strong safety and tailback. Stafford recorded 80 tackles last year and 4.5 sacks.
“Speed, quickness and agility are his strengths,” House noted.
At fullback/linebacker, John Pascoe, who rushed for more than 300 yards and added 75 tackles, returns.
“His strengths are his determination and his knack for the game ... he never gives up,” House said.
Pascoe earned all-county honors as a junior.
Junior flanker/cornerback Tyler Herman had more than 1,500 all-purpose yards receiving, returning punts and kickoffs. An all-county performer, Herman returned one punt and three kickoffs for touchdowns.
“We want the ball in his hands,” House said.
“We are young up front but we do have some talent,” House said. “We have to grow up fast.”