The Game Ball: Stump, Donelson get game balls after Atascocita opening win as coordinators
HUMBLE – Football is a family thing for the Stumps.
At Atascocita High School, Craig Stump has been the head coach since 2012 and his son Joshua, who played for him at Beaumont West Brook, has been on his staff since 2016.
Despite being working together now entering their seventh season, on Thursday night, there were a few firsts for the Stumps.
Joshua was calling plays on offense for the first time in his career, which had previously been something Craig would do.
“That was a lot of fun,” Joshua said. “Been wanting to do this for a while. It’s been great having Coach Stump mentor me and being able to do it at the JV level for the last six years. Just get reps at it. We tell the kids all the time, just get reps. It was a lot of fun.”
After the 37-0 victory for the Eagles, which saw a pair of defensive touchdowns, including the first endzone trip in the second quarter to make it 9-0, Joshua was met by his mother Mary Beth.
The longtime coach's wife and, of course mom, ribbed her oldest son a bit, all in fun.
“My mom told me though after the game, she was like - the defense had to show you how to do it first to score,” Joshua said with a laugh. “Once they scored, I figured, oh yeah you must put it into the endzone. We turned it on from there, it was a lot of fun.”
As the Eagles celebrated the first victory of the season inside the locker room of Turner Stadium, a pair of game balls were handed out.
One of those went to Joshua – the first of his playing or coaching career.
“I played for him for three years and never got a game ball,” Joshua said with a smile as his father Craig leaned against the cinderblock wall in the home locker room watching on. “First one feels good. Very special.”
Craig added: "I hope he appreciates it. It's not easy doing that for the first time with the expectations that we have. So, he's done a great job."
The other game ball went to new defensive coordinator Paul Donelson as it was his first win leading the Eagles’ defensive unit.
Atascocita’s defense was solid, shutting out Dickinson for the first time in the two program’s series, and the first for the Gators since 2013. Also, the defense forced four turnovers and scored on two of them.
A good night for the defensive coordinator.
“It’s not an individual thing, it is a symbol of the hard work that the kids have been putting in since I got here in April,” Donelson said. “It’s a team deal, this is not a me deal. I’ve got the easy part. They’ve got the hard part.”
As far as what he will do with the game ball.
“We’re going to get everybody to sign it, players and coaches included,” Donelson said. “Case it and put it in the team meeting room.”