DUNCAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The heat of summer combines with the promise of fall on football fields all over Oklahoma.
The rhythms of Coach J.T. Cobble’s whistle, the bark of a coach’s orders are the punctuation marks that start and end a season.
Already winners of their first game, the head coach must constantly warn about tougher tests ahead.
“It’s a winnable game,” he tells his gathered team in the locker room. “But you have to play better than you did last Friday.”
Cobble knows because he’s been there before.
J.T. was a player himself once, a receiver on a state championship team in Weatherford a generation ago.
His own coach then was his father Tom Cobble, now an assistant coach on J.T.’s staff.
Of his son, Tom smiles and says, “He didn’t have much opportunity to do anything but coach football.”
“I’ve known him all my life, obviously,” says J.T. “And he’s been the head coach all that time.”
It’s hard for both of them to draw up the idea of coaching 21 years together.
J.T. hardly had a choice following dad to locker rooms all over the state.
“It’s so much fun for a father and son to be part of that,” says the senior Cobble.
It wasn’t all fun, of course, but even the mistakes of the past bring a smile now.
Tom laughs and says, “Don’t tell him about the time I left you at a truck stop outside of Weatherford.”
What comes through for both of them is a philosophy of doing things a certain way that leads to success on the field and in life as well.
“You can apply that to pretty much whatever you do,” argues J.T.
This year’s quarterback, Kenny Garland, catches both Cobbles telling him the same thing, separately, all the time.
“J.T. tells me one thing. Then I hear it a little later on from his dad.”
Football and family, two pillars of life in hundreds of places like this.
Coach J.T. has his own son following him around now.
Tom spends game nights in the press box and, so, the seasons advance.
Cobbling together more wins than losses is the name of the game.
Easier to accomplish with numbers and family on your side.
The Duncan Demons play Lawton High on Friday, Sept. 4.