ANDREWS, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Some words have become synonymous with Andrews Football, like heart, drive, success and many others. One name that has become synonymous with the program is, Tom Harvey.

Harvey’s origin with the Mustangs dates back three decades.

After several years on the Andrews staff in the 1990s and early 2000s, Harvey spent the next 12 years on staff with Corpus Christi Calallen and Plains ISD (serving as their head coach and Athletic Director), before returning home to Andrews to join Ralph Mason’s regime.

He coached under Mason for seven seasons until Mason announced his retirement in December 2021.

It was then that Harvey was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach of the team he started on 30 years ago.

“I got guys on the team right now that I coached their dad. Their dads in high school,” Harvey chuckled. “I still have great relationships with their fathers and I get to talk with their fathers about how they’re performing out here and how much they mean to me.”

Chace Gore, father of Andrews junior lineman Tate Gore, played under Harvey in the early 1990s.

“Andrews ’92-’93 and ’93-’94 was probably the best defense ever to come out of Andrews,” Gore recalled. “Coach Tom Harvey was a part of that team and my coach. I think he has a chance to bring the defense back to Andrews football.”

Because of his deep roots with Andrews football and the Andrews community, current players were thrilled with the news that Harvey would take the helm.

“It feels great. He’s been here since middle school so I’ve known him forever. He’s been a great coach,” senior left guard Josiah Flores said.

Not only is there familiarity from a coaching standpoint, these seniors have been playing together on sports teams since little league and now, the class has been through the highs and lows together in their high school careers.

In their 2019 freshman season, they were a part of one of the best seasons in program history. That varsity squad carried an 11-game win streak into the third round of the playoffs.

On the contrary, they also endured a difficult 2021 season together. The team did not reach its full potential, going 5-7 on the year and losing in the second round of the playoffs.

“They went through some tough times last year with injury. We never really rolled our bunch that we thought we were going to have coming in because we had season-ending injuries early,” Harvey said. “It also caused them to grow up a lot and I think they’re set up for success.”

The Mustangs come back as a seasoned veteran group. 30 letterman return, including eight defensive starters and seven offensive starters.

Third-year starting quarterback EJ Lopez returns under center along with some of his core receivers like Luis Cervantes and Shawn Parker. According to MaxPreps, Lopez had just shy of a 3,000-yard junior year. Coach Harvey expects Lopez to be even more of a problem for opposing defenses this year.

“In the past, we’ve used him as a pro-style quarterback, but he’s really fast so we’re going to open up his game a little bit,” Harvey said.

On the other side, the Mustang defense is expected to be elite under a defensive-minded head coach. Cervantes and Parker will also be key for the team on defense, as well as senior safety Hagen Tuck.

“Our defense is the strongest it’s ever been, really. Our secondary is starting to step up, our linebacker core is very good,” Tuck said.

Andrews welcomes some new teams into its district following UIL realignment in the offseason. Brownwood and Lubbock Estacado replace Fort Stockton. Big Spring and San Angelo Lake View remain in the district. The Mustangs went 2-1 in district play last season.

Andrews opens up the season in the Mustang Bowl on Aug. 26 against Canyon Randall.