Bishop Kelley Gets Swagger from Head Coach

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:43 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Aug 25, 2010 9:31 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Mobile Journalist

TULSA, Oklahoma – He doesn’t say much, but when he does, his voice is firm. Bishop Kelley Comets head coach J.J. Tappana has the respect of his football players. The man with the whistle knew how important that was to building a successful 5A powerhouse.

“You have to have a swagger about you and you, got to be confident in yourself and confident in your teammates,” said Tappana. “These guys are confident in what they do. They want to win a district championship, and they just know that if they can get in the playoffs then they have a chance.”

Players say they get that swagger from their head coach.

“He's a good guy. I like him,” said senior Alex Powell. “He's helped us out a lot and taught us a lot of good things. He wants us to do great, and I like that.”

There’s not a dry shirt in the bunch during Comets practices. Tappana works his players with a high reps, fast-paced style of workout that maximizes his team’s ability to improve every day.

“He pushes us and he makes us work hard,” said Powell. “We know that and we know that we have to come to each day and try and do better than we did last year.”

After losing in the second round of the playoffs in 2009, the Comets’ leader didn’t change much heading into this season. The formula worked a year ago. Bishop Kelley finished the regular season undefeated, earned home games in the postseason and won its district.

His players say all of that success was thanks to one guy.

“He teaches us both on and off the field,” senior Will Saint said of his head coach. “He teaches us to love our teammates and love our program, to be dedicated and to show up every day with your best effort.”

That effort and leadership could land the Comets at the top of the heap in 5A this season.

“I think we can pull things together and get our younger guys to step up, make some plays and go all the way,” said Saint.

A gold ball finish would certainly give their head coach something to talk about.