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ETSN.fm Football Super Team Coach of the Year: Eric King, Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields coach Eric King, shown celebrating after the Yellow Jackets’ win over district rival Arp in the playoffs last season, guided his team on an incredible run through the 2012 playoffs. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)

Nothing was going right for Elysian Fields football coach Eric King.

The EFISD school board chose not to extend King’s contract beyond the 2012 season. Then he lost future all-America defensive lineman Isaiah Golden, who transferred to Carthage.

Despite all of the potential distractions, King led Elysian Fields to the playoffs for the second consecutive year. However, regular-season losses to Class 2A heavyweights Arp and Hughes Springs by a combined 71 points left many wondering how long the season would last.

Well, King guided the Yellow Jackets all the way to the state semifinals, avenging losses to Arp and Hughes Springs along the way. For his efforts, he is the 2012 ETSN.fm East Texas Super Team Coach of the Year.

“It’s a big honor, but it’s not just me,” said King, whose ‘Jackets finished with an 11-4 record. “The whole coaching staff deserves this honor. It’s something our staff worked very hard on, to be the very best team we could be.”

After surviving close calls against Winona and Deweyville in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Elysian Fields got its rematch with Arp. And this time, EF turned the tables with a 30-20 win followed by a 21-14 upset win over Hughes Springs the next week in the 2A Region III final.

“It starts with our players,” King said. “We can talk to them until we’re blue in the face, but it’s how they perform that really matters. We talked about how we could’ve beaten Arp in Week 3, we gave them 21 points off mistakes. And I think beating Arp made us believe we could beat Hughes Springs.”

Despite losing the very next week to eventual state champion East Bernard, there’s no doubt King erased some doubt.

“It was very emotional,” King said. “When we beat Hughes Springs at Lobo Stadium in Longview, it brought a tear to my eyes. The contract situation was there, and I’m not saying the board didn’t believe in me, but there were a lot of doubters out there.”

King said the school board has not yet approached him about an extension, but he’s hopeful his contract will be renewed at the Feb. 11 board meeting.

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