MARSHALL, Tx (KMSS/KTAL) – “Old School.”

That’s how a handful of Marshall Maverick players described their new head coach, Jack Alvarez.

“I don’t know about old school,” said Alvarez. “I can only be who I am.”

If Alvarez doesn’t like old school, maybe “seasoned” works better. Alvarez has 24 years of head coaching experience. This fall will make 25 years, and his first with the Mavs. In his first six months on the job, the former Cuero head coach has seen immense buy-in from his new team.

“We have had great participation this summer,” said Alvarez. “I’ve told them I’m always going to be consistent with them, and they’ve been consistent with me.”

“Things are different around here,” said senior defensive end Carson Combs. “We’re all on the same page. Coach has everyone bought in.”

And why wouldn’t these Mavericks embrace their new coach? Alvarez has a track record of success at every stop. The coach won a title at Ennis in 2014 and has taken two other teams to the championship game. The Mavs haven’t been to a title game since 2005. And while a state championship appearance may seem like a lofty goal this year, 2021 provided plenty to build on for the program.

“Last year, a lot of people doubted us,” said Combs. The Mavericks started the season 3-3. “We showed them we can do it.” The team then rattled off five straight wins, including a first round win over Rudder. Marshall will have to contend with their district’s top dog, Texas High, this fall, but the team believes they’re closing the gap between them and the Tigers with every practice.

“We have a lot of talent returning, plus some new guys that have come in and stepped up. I think we’re gonna be at the top, at least top two in district,” said Combs.

On the offensive side, the quarterback competition is still open, but junior Collier Sloane is trying to shut it down. Sloane has shined in recent weeks and Alvarez has been pleased with his development.

“We’re still working with two or three guys, but as of late he’s kind of emerged,” said Alvarez. Sloane started three games in 2021, and admittedly wasn’t ready for the bright lights.

“I started the first game of the season and it was new to me,” said Sloane. “I guess I wasn’t quite prepared for the atmosphere, but the last two games I played, it was great. I have made a lot of improvement since that first game last season and I think this year, I’m gonna be ready for it.”

The Mavericks will start the season at home against Tyler on August 26.