Two branches grow from the same source.
One is a bit more weathered, having led his program to two state championships and 43 consecutive district wins.
Originating from Joe Weber’s coaching tree, Jody Weber and Trey Owens lead Davis’ and Lone Grove’s football programs, respectively, into a Week 1 game against each other’s program. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. tonight.
In his first year at the helm of the Carter County program, Owens returns to his alma mater for the first time as a head coach. He coached at Wolf Field in a junior-varsity game during his career while at Ada, as an assistant on Matt Weber’s staff.
Moreover, Joe spent five years on his son’s staff.
“I think it (Friday night) is going to be completely different,” Owens said. The JV game, that was more of a scrimmage-type format, almost. To go out there with the crowd the way it’s going to be and having both towns show up, under the lights for a real Friday night game, is going to be completely different, so I’m excited about it.”
Owens played fullback and linebacker as a senior on the Wolves’ 2000 squad, when Millwood beat Davis 26-25 to win a state title.
"It's easy to say good stuff about Trey," Joe Weber said in a phone interview. As a player, Owens had "really good speed" and was a "team player."
Weber’s influence is dominant within Owens’ coaching style.
“Pretty much everything that I do and the way that I do it is exactly the way that they did it,” Owens said. “That’s all that I grew up knowing. The way that I think, the way that I approach practice and anything that we do is pretty much ingrained in me from coach Weber, coach (Jerry) Raper (whose name adorns the wall on the east side of the fieldhouse) and all those guys that have been there for forever and ever. The guys that are there right now were same guys that coached me in high school.”
While Friday’s game marks the beginning of Jody Weber’s 16th season, Lone Grove High School Principal Chris Sudderth announced Owens’ hiring on his Twitter account on May 2.
The Longhorns’ game against the Wolves was already scheduled, as the two programs agreed to resume the series before Jeremy Turner took the same jobs at Community ISD in Nevada, Texas.
“I was really kind of excited about it, to be honest with you,” Owens said. “I know that they’re always going to be very well-coached, solid just from the tradition. No matter what, they’re never going to really have down years. I’m from Davis. When I was in high school, Lone Grove was always the Week 1 game.”
Davis joins Cache and Blanchard as part of the Longhorns’ non-district schedule. Lone Grove will play at Bridge Creek during the penultimate week of the season.
“When you play against solid opponents and people that do things the right way, to me, that is going to make us want to be like that and do things the right way,” Owens said. “That’s what I’m trying to tell our kids right now: We want to be unselfish. That’s the whole deal: Nobody’s above the team. That’s the other thing I learned from Davis. There’s not any superstars. The best players, obviously, will shine, but everybody’s going to do their part. There is no job too small from anybody, and that’s what I’m trying to get here. The kids, I think, are buying into that. It’s a process to get to that point.”
Weber-coached Davis teams are 5-0 against Lone Grove.
"This time of year, games against good teams are fun, but everybody is so focused on themselves right now because of mistakes," Weber said. "I'm sure everybody in the state has still got guys competing for jobs, not sure who's going to be there in 10 weeks, or even five weeks.
"We're getting a lot of time scouting Lone Grove, and we look forward to the game, but most of what we've got going on right now is right inside this locker room. We do this every year: We shuffle kids, move a kid here that was playing here and try to find the best fit.”
Weber expressed happiness that Owens chose to coach professionally.
"I'm really excited that he got into coaching," Joe said of Owens, adding he wished the profession had more men like Owens. "He's good for the kids.
"I'm tickled to death for Lone Grove. I want him to have a whole lot of success. He's special."