BURLESON, Texas - The Kitnas moved again this year to Burleson.
For Jon Kitna and family, it was move No. 14 – back to high school football after a year of coaching Dak Prescott.
He was also thrown into the most unusual season before ever coaching a game thanks to a pandemic.
"It's been great because it's really taught some of our core values and things we talk about as a team - tenacity, coachability, resiliency. The resiliency part being the big thing,” he said.
It’s a special first and last for the Kitnas. It’s the final high school season for Jon to coach his son, Jalen.
A quarterback himself, he’s committed to Florida and transferred to Burleson High School as a senior to be a part of his dad’s new program.
“I just enjoy every moment with him,” Jalen said. “He’s coach on the field and he’s dad at home. And I enjoy having that mixture all the time.”
“It’s been the joy of my life so far honestly coaching him,” his dad said.
Jalen’s teammates have been soaking up the chance to play for the longtime NFL quarterback.
“He’s just a great man and shows u how to be men. If I could go back and play four years for him I would,” said Chandler Poggensee, a Burleson senior center.
Fun as it’s been, 2020 has of course been difficult including for football.
Kitna’s done what any coach must – lead.
“We can’t control it all. And that’s a great life lesson to learn at an early age,” he said.
As long of a road as it’s been, the greatest purpose for the 2020 Burleson team isn’t playing through a pandemic. It’s playing for their late teammate Trey Allison, who died tragically in June in a car accident.
“If you wanted to play with one player it was Trey. Trey was an amazing dude and he just, he came out here every day and made everybody laugh and gave it his best. And that’s all we could ask from him,” Poggensee said.
"He's gonna be on our helmets. No. 20's gonna be on our helmets. We're gonna do the national anthem from the 20 to the 20,” Kitna said. “Nobody's ever gonna wear his jersey while I'm here. So the kids have embraced that. We've got a locker made for him in the locker room. It's been something that they've tried to turn into a positive. That's tough."
It’s a new beginning for Burleson football, a time of hope and promise that finally kicks off Thursday night.