Nathan Utt.

Nathan Utt is taking over as head football coach at Faith West Academy.

A three-year lead assistant prior to this season, Utt will assume control from departing coach Jacob Phillips.

“Three years ago, I would’ve never thought I would be in this role,” Utt said. “I’ve soaked up so much from Jacob.”

Utt, who was a part of the 2017 team that went 8-5 and advanced to the TAPPS Division I Six-Man state semifinals, will continue to employ the same playbook he and Phillips designed three years ago as he inherits what could be the program’s largest roster in the four seasons he’s been an Eagle. Phillips will remain with the program in a backseat capacity.

“I’m excited to take on the reigns as head coach,” Utt said. “I’ll have been with this senior class all four years. To see them through this year as their head coach is going to mean a lot to me.”

In his first year as an assistant, the Eagles went 1-9. Two years ago, they won seven more games, winning the District II title, falling a game short of a state title appearance. Last year, Faith West was 5-5 in the regular season for a third-place finish in the division before bowing out in the first round of the TAPPS Six-Man Division I playoffs.

The Eagles have high aspirations this year, and they’re confident in their new leader.

“Coach Utt and I have grown very close the past four years,” senior quarterback Marshall Wales said. “Having him as assistant coach these past years will make it almost like nothing has changed, having him move to head coach. I’m excited to continue to work with him on strategizing and planning our offenses together.”

Originally from Missouri, Utt had never heard of six-man football before he arrived at Faith West. Now he can’t get enough of it.

“It’s a fast-pace, high-scoring game that’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve really learned to love the game.”

Especially when he’s directing one of the better teams in this exciting brand of high-octane football. This year, he’ll do it with a strong core of veterans, while ushering in some experienced newcomers who’ve spent the past two years in junior high six-man football.

“I’m really excited to see the talent we’ve had coming up the ranks from junior high,” Utt said. “To see these kids come up, to see them make that transition … I’m excited what they can offer us on varsity.”

Utt’s debut as head coach is set for Friday, Aug. 30 when the Eagles meet Brazosport Christian in Lake Jackson.

“I have a lot of trust in Coach Utt coming into this season, having spent so much time together either in baseball or football,” said Wales, a pitcher who’s also been under Utt’s tutelage on the diamond. “I have seen firsthand the experience he has, along with the knowledge and wisdom. I am extremely excited to work with Coach Utt at the helm.”