SANTA FE — Long regarded as one of the best assistant football coaches in the state, Mark Kanipes is now in charge of a Santa Fe tea that looks to model the success of the school’s baseball and softball teams, which have long been consistent postseason visitors.

“This is a baseball town, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all,” Kanipes said. “I know that you can have both, and that’s what we’re going to work on.”

After spending the last three-plus decades as an assistant in La Marque and Pearland, Kanipes, who has four state title rings on his résumé, is up to the challenge of rebuilding a Santa Fe team that finished 2-8 last season and has not made the postseason since 2009.

Experience is limited, as the Indians return just 22 lettermen from last season. However, there is talent for Kanipes to start building his foundation; 10 starters (5 offense, 5 defense) will suit up when fall practice begins in August, including all-district offensive lineman Hayden Evans, running back Tim Alcala and versatile Josh McKinney, who reached the regionals in the 100-meter hurdles.

Evans, along with promising junior Jeremiah Vincent, was part of a group that finished third out of 34 teams in a recent Lineman Challenge at Manvel High School. The unit has considerable size and toughness, two major attributes that fit the ball-control style of play the offense plans to run.

Kanipes also has high hopes for incoming sophomore quarterback Bradley Ballard, whose raw talent has impressed the coaching staff.

“We’ve got to continue working him, and he needs experience, but there’s a lot to like about him,” said Kanipes of Ballard. “He’s got a rocket for an arm.”

Ballard will have two established playmakers to work with in Alcala, who just missed crossing the 1,000-yard mark last season, and McKinney, who led the team in receptions and accounted for seven touchdowns. Wideout Dylan Fajkus also returns after pulling in 16 passes.

Depth issues will be the biggest barrier in the early going for Santa Fe, which is now part of a District 23-5A that will be defined by speed across the board. Five of the eight teams in the district made the playoffs in 2013, and Ball Hall should be much improved.

“It’s going to be tough, but our schedule is going to be back-heavy,” said Kanipes. “I think that we can get off to a good start and hope some of that magic rubs off by that time.”

Along with competing in the Lineman Challenge, the Indians have also become more involved in 7-on-7, which will give the players extra reps and a chance to further bond as a unit. While the path to success will take some time, the team is ready to start making inroads.

“The kids have responded very well,” said Kanipes. “We are working them hard, but they like it.”


(4) comments

Carlos Ponce

Tough Schedule! If interested here it is:
2014 Santa Fe Indians Schedule
Wk Date Opponent Time
1 Fr Aug 30 at Alvin 7:00p
2 Fr Sep 5 Baytown Lee 7:00p
3 Fr Sep 12 at Houston St. Thomas 7:00p
5 Fr Sep 26 at Galveston Ball 7:00p
6 Fr Oct 3 FB Willowridge 7:00p
7 Fr Oct 10 at FB Ridge Point 7:00p
8 Fr Oct 17 FB Marshall 7:00p
9 Fr Oct 24 at FB Bush 7:00p
10 Fr Oct 31 at Texas City 7:00p
11 Fr Nov 7 FB Elkins 7:00p


Point to make:
Anyone who says coaching does not matter in football has never played the game or does not know what they are talking about,...plain and straight! Meaning no offense to anyone, but I stand by what I've said here.
Point to make:
Kanipes is one of the brightest and most effective young coaches Santa Fe could have hired in all of Texas. He comes here off the Weddell coaching tree, just like coaches Heath of Pearland, Wells of Dawson, De Atley of Brazoswood, and Surovik of Texas City! He is a thoroughbred product of greatness, coming from the roots of one some say was one the greatest high school coaches to ever blow a whistle in the State of Texas, Allan Weddell! If Weddell had stayed at LM instead of moving on to better things, he would have more than likely won another THREE State championships to go with the three he already had! He would have won the one his protégé gave away in the State game the year Weddell left, and he would have won the two Coach Brian Erwin came in here and won, and possibly even the one year Erwin did not make the finals!
I'm not demeaning Coach Erwin, because he ranks up there close to Weddell with me, but I'm just saying! I will not say the same about that protégé he vouched for before he left LM though, because he was one of the worst coaches to ever arrive here. Many of us wanted De Antley to get that job and if he had, Heath would not have left for Pearland, neither would the rest of that DREAM STAFF left LM!!!!!
Challenge for anyone:
Name me JUST ONE of the coaches I've named above who did not go on and do NOT GOOD, but did great at coaching where they landed? SF fans are in for a pleasant surprise!!! That's all I know!
Your Honor!!!!! Judge!!!!!! Ole JBG rests his case! "CLEAR THE COURTROOM!!!

Who will JBG support when Kanipes faces Surovik?
Answer: Stay tuned to when the game time gets close! ( Oct.31 2014 ).

David Davis

Hopefully the Santa Fe people will embrace coach Kanipes and stay with him win or lose. Pearland didn't turn things around in a year...and now -- Pearland fans get out by the droves, wear their gear with pride, and coach Heath has won 166 games in 17 years...

Kanipes was a key to that turn around. His defense recorded 34 INTs last year on the way to the state title game for the second time in four years...winning it all in 2010. With four state rings -- Kanipes knows the secret to winning...hopefully the Santa Fe fans will cheer for him, the coaching staff, and the players instead of criticizing...either cheer or shut up!


Sportsguy11, I think the fans in Santa Fe are going to be THRILLED about Kanipes!
Here is what I want to know, What is Kanipes cooking up for Surovik? In a three year span, that game is going to rival the Battle by the Bay!
I hear sable rattling out of Galveston too! Look for Ball to be on the troll too. This is football country for sure! I'll drive 200 miles to see a good Galv. County game, but I won't walk across the street to see an NFL Super Bowl. High school is fresh off the tree, no stimulants nor chemicals involved, JUST pure hard hitting football!

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