When Sugar Land Fort Bend Clements defensive coordinator Jason Haddock looks across the football field Friday, Oct. 22, he’ll see his former Marble Falls High School teammate Blake Nesrsta, the offensive coordinator for Sugar Land Fort Bend Austin.
It’s the third year the two former Mustangs have faced each other and the second time as coordinators.
Though, ultimately, both men want their teams to win, they see their individual successes as testaments to their own high school coaches and the ones who’ve mentored them along the way.
“Anytime we see some of our teammates out in life and being successful, it’s a win for what the community and our school did for us,” said Haddock, a 1998 Marble Falls graduate.
He and Nesrsta, a 2000 Marble Falls graduate, suited up for then-Marble Falls head coach David Denney.
“I always had something pulling at me as far as staying in the game,” said Nesrsta, a former offensive lineman. “I found my way into coaching. I had a lot of help. I don’t think people become high school coaches without the influence of their high school coaches. (Mustangs offensive coordinator) Randall Alford, (head coach) David Denney – those guys helped establish the love of the game.”
“I’m still in touch with my high school coaches,” said the former linebacker. “(Former Marble Falls High coach) Donny Funderburg was the best man at my wedding.”
When Haddock landed a football scholarship with Baylor University after high school, Funderburg had taken a coaching job in the Waco area and stopped by practices to check in on his former athlete.
“We’ve stayed close,” Haddock said.
The high school coaching road is filled with plenty of hills and turns. While attending college at Texas State University at San Marcos, Nesrsta served as a student-teacher at Burnet High School in 2005 under the tutelage of then-head Bulldogs coach Bob Shipley. As a coach and teacher, Nesrsta has made a number of stops, including one at Marble Falls High School under former head coach Matt Green before landing at Sugar Land Fort Bend Austin.
At every job, he learned more about the game on and off the field that he has incorporated into his life.
The son of Rhonda and Andy Nesrsta teaches world geography in addition to his coaching duties.
Haddock has lived in the Houston area for nine years. He played college football for Baylor, where he met his future wife, Jamie. They married in 2003 and have two daughters: Adalina, 4, and Isabella, 2. Jason, whose parents are Mary and William Haddock, teaches geometry in addition to coaching.
Both men said they are coaching in programs where they’re trying to change the culture.
“Our numbers are up, we’re doing some good things,” Nesrsta said. “I’m looking forward to the future here.”
The two coaches hope they can positively influence their players the way they were influenced by their coaches.
“I always believed they cared about me as a person,” Nesrsta said. “I spent a full day with Randall Alford, and he gave me all the old Mustang game tapes. It tells you how they genuinely cared. I’ll always be grateful for that.”