When Greg Pearson left his defensive coordinator position at Waskom to take his first head coaching job at Brownsboro in the Spring, he took with him a message that helped his former school win consecutive state championships.

Play fast, hard and physical ... with relentless effort.

"We have t-shirts that say 'Relentless' on the front and 'Fast, Hard and Physical' on the back. "We want these kids to play fast, hard and physical with relentless effort. That's how you become successful and win football games."

Pearson took over a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2010 or won a playoff game since 2006. But things are looking up for the Bears, who are 3-1 heading into their bye week before district starts.

"For us to be 3-1 after only about six weeks of putting in our offense and defense, I'm really pleased with our kids. I got here the last Wednesday of April and our coordinators weren't here yet, so we weren't able to put in our offense or defense until Aug. 1," Pearson said. "We've come a long way already and we still have a long way to go, but I'm happy with our season so far."

Pearson said his No. 1 goal when he took the Brownsboro job was to make his players stronger, and that started in the weight room. Relentless effort in the weight room would translate to a better team on the field, he said.

"The weight room is where you make the difference on the field. When you're stronger and you have that confidence, you can hit and hit back. It makes you better," Pearson said. "You have to have talent, of course. You can't win the Derby on a jackass ... you need thoroughbreds. But those thoroughbreds have to work, practice and play hard to get to where you want to go."

Pearson said the new mindset and buy-in from his players has translated into victories this season, and it's also been crucial when overcoming adversity.

"These kids have a new will to win. We're going to face tougher teams down the road and we need to eliminate turnovers and improve our execution on offense and defense, but we're excited," Pearson said.

The Bears are off this week before opening District 8-4A Division I play against Mabank, which was one of Brownsboro's two district wins in 2016. District favorite Van, followed by Kaufman and Terrell, are next on the schedule. Pearson said he looks forward to seeing what his team can do come district with, of course, the ultimate goal being able to nab one of four playoff spots.

"I believe we have a great chance to get that fourth spot, but we have to keep playing fast, hard and physical," Pearson said. "3-1 is a good start, but it's how you finish. That's what we're preaching to these kids. It's how we finish the season. And I do believe we are going to surprise some people."