HS Football: Greenwood making historic run with homegrown head coach

MIDLAND, Tx (KOSA) -- The 2019 Greenwood Rangers have been practically untouchable all year long. Coach Rusty Purser’s squad is looking to challenge the 2002 state runner-up team for the best season in Greenwood history.

For Purser the pursuit has been especially fun, because his father Bob was the head coach of that team that went 15-1 back in 2002.

“I’ll tell you it’s probably been more exciting than anything I could explain,” the younger Purser said. “To be at a point now where we feel like we’re making an impact and putting a stamp on this football team has been really nice. It’s something that’s not only excited me, but the kids as well.”

Purser grew up in Greenwood, and got his first coaching job as an assistant to his father. Both his mom and dad were longtime coaches and teachers in Greenwood, and the Rangers home turf is named Purser Field after them.

So how do Purser’s players feel about playing for local royalty?

“It’s a little different,” center Jaxon Ransom said. “But it’s always cool to have somebody that’s been to Greenwood and done things the Greenwood way.”

“I didn’t even really know,” lineman Jayden Kitchens said. “I didn’t pay attention to “Purser” on the field, but he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. I’ve had three [different head coaches] when I’ve been in high school, and he keeps us all in shape and stronger than any other coaches have kept us.”

That coaching turnover, and a desire to find the best place for his three kids to grow up, led Purser back to his alma mater.

When he returned, Purser found a team loaded with talent and experience, but they needed a little push.

“There just wasn’t a great sense of urgency,” Purser said. “We were able to really work hard throughout the summer to build a great chemistry within this group of guys, and they’ve just continued to build that throughout the year and it’s really played into our success.”

The Rangers will look to keep things going in the regional final at Abilene Christian on Friday, where they’ll play an Iowa Park team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

“I think we’re taking it as a revenge game,” Kitchens said. “I think everyone’s been thinking about it. My goals coming into this year were to beat Iowa Park and then to win state.

Just more chances to add to the Purser legacy.