Catching up with China Spring HC Brian Bell
Tuesday, 30th November 2021 - 6:34AM

Garrett Ross

Last season, Brian Bell and the China Spring Cougars put together a phenomenal 11-2, 4-1 season that came to an end in the fourth round of the UIL Playoffs to eventual state champion Carthage 52-14. The loss never left the mind of the staff and the returning players, who put in countless hours of preparation in the offseason for another opportunity to get redemption against the Bulldogs.

#5 China Spring got their opportunity to dethrone #1 Carthage on Friday night in Prosper and they delivered with an impressive 27-17 win to remain undefeated on the season and keep their state championship hope alive. Coach Bell understands how important that win was not only for the kids, but the entire community.

“That was an awesome win for our program, our community, and our school district. They are obviously one of the best programs in the entire state and they are dominant year in and year out. It was an honor to get to that point and have that opportunity,” said Bell. “I am very proud of our kids for the preparation that week and being very intentional with their focus throughout Thanksgiving break.”

Bell continued.

“Losing to them definitely left a bad taste in our mouths and we were hoping for another chance at them but we were more concerned this year with going out there and playing our best. Very proud of our kids and coaches for doing that.”

Offensively, the Cougars were able to take advantage of Carthage by using the athleticism of junior Swiss Army Knife Tre Hafford to find holes in the Bulldogs defense. Hafford was able to find the end zone twice against Carthage and they really had no answer for him.

“Tre is a phenomenal football player. I cannot wait to see where he ends up going to play college football. Tre has been reliable for us all year long. He practices extremely hard and is intentional with his preparation throughout each week,” said Bell. “He has really grown up a lot this year with his maturity as a football player. It is no surprise to us as coaches that he stepped up and made some big plays for us this past week.”

China Spring’s defense held Carthage to their lowest point total all season, as they averaged 38.3PPG. Bell gives all the credit in the world to his defensive coordinator Matt Loucks, for being able to get the kids to buy into perfecting the small things.

“The kids are so bought into the details. Matt Loucks and our defensive coaches give them a great game plan week in and week out but it's up to the kids to go out there and execute. The maturity and leadership of Brayden Faulkner and Dawson Exline are also a huge aspect,” said Bell. “They hold each other accountable and are never satisfied. Very proud of the brand of football they are playing. Hopefully they can keep that up this week vs West Orange Stark who has a very good offense.”

Speaking of #4 West Orange-Stark, the Mustangs are coming off an impressive 36-17 win over #6 Bellville. China Spring was able to defeat the Mustangs last season in the second round of the playoffs 35-22, but they can’t get distracted by last week’s win over Carthage.

“We have been locked in all year long with a 1-0 mindset every week. This week is no different. Last week is gone and we enjoyed that win over the weekend. We are 100% locked in on West Orange-Stark this week, said Bell. “There are no bad football teams left at this point. I trust our kids will be focused and ready to prepare for a great opponent this week.”

Bell knows that taking down West Orange-Stark won’t be an easy task, but he believes his kids are ready to accept the challenge. The Mustangs are a well rounded team with DI prospects riddled throughout their roster and Coach Bell has nothing but respect for their program.

“They are extremely talented, very well coached, and are disciplined on both sides of the ball. Coach Thompson is very successful and he has his guys ready to play every week.” said Bell. “They have earned their top 10 ranking by beating a lot of good football teams. We will need to play really good football in order to play with them this Friday Night.”

Bell received some high praise from his older brother Shawn (Baylor’s QB Coach) after the win over Carthage. Shawn went to Twitter and called his little brother the best coach in the family. Given the number of talented coaches within the direct and extended family, that statement carries a lot of weight.

“Shawn has always been my biggest fan ever since I was a kid. I couldn't have asked for a better brother or best friend growing up. I am so proud to be "Shawn Bell's Little Brother",” said Bell. “He is one of the best coaches in the country and he has shown that week in and week out this year. That tweet was very nice of him but there is no doubt the ranking of best coaches in our family goes 1: Our Dad 2:Shawn 3: Me.”

Bell continued.

“I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn. We have a phenomenal coaching staff and the best kids in the state. It has been such a joy to coach these guys and it is a joy to watch them play with passion on Friday Nights,” said Bell. “We are enjoying every day with each other this season and we are going to do our best to go 1-0 this week vs one of the best teams in the state.”

China Spring (13-0, 5-0) and West Orange-Stark (11-1, 6-0) will kick things off on Friday at 7:00pm at Tomball ISD Stadium.
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