EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Under Eric Frontz, Parkland became one of the best and most explosive teams in El Paso over the last five seasons.

However, Frontz left for an assistant athletic director job at Socorro Independent School District in May, leaving an opening at one of the Sun City’s top programs. The Matadors think they made a great hire to fill his place.

Enter Leigh McWhorter, a first-time head coach who was last at Franklin as the offensive coordinator. Despite never being a head coach before, McWhorter has over two decades of coaching experience all over Texas and was the Cougars’ interim head coach for a few games in 2021.

“I haven’t had any commitment issues, no kids have fallen off or quit. A lot of them have given me feedback that they like what I’m doing, so I’m happy,” said McWhorter.

An Andress graduate, McWhorter’s offense at Franklin last year helped the Cougars win District 1-6A. Expectations are high that he’ll do the same for a Parkland team that went 4-8 a year ago, but has as much talent as any team in the city.

15 starters return from last season, including a pair of Power-5 recruits in senior offensive lineman Tyrone McDuffie III (Colorado) and senior wide receiver DJ Crest (Texas Tech).

The hope is that McWhorter can get the Matadors up to speed quickly, especially as they move up from Class 5A Division II to Class 5A Division I.

“Coach McWhorter is a great guy and the expectations are very high. Everywhere he’s been he’s done a fantastic job so we’re looking to have a good season this year,” said McDuffie III.

Parkland opens the season at home Aug. 26 vs. Class 6A opponent, El Dorado.