Columbia Star

Curtis returns to A.C. Flora

A familiar face returns to the sidelines for the A.C. Flora Falcons in 2019 as Dustin Curtis has been named the new football coach after three seasons at Westwood.

Curtis first joined A.C. Flora in 2009 as part of Dean Howell’s staff. He was retained a promoted to offensive coordinator under Reggie Shaw. Curtis left the Falcons prior to the 2016 season to take over the Westwood Redhawks program. In his three years with the Redhawks, Curtis posted a 15-19 record.

While there is plenty of talent left at Westwood, the opportunity to return to A.C. Flora was too much to turn down.

“It’s the community I live in. It’s the place that is real special to me,” Curtis said. “It’s a community that has a lot of support around it, not only from people who have had parents who used to have kids in the program, but also Forest Acres is a tight knit place. It bleeds over into A.C. Flora.”

Curtis inherits a program that has gone through some ups and downs the last couple of years, going from 0-10 in 2017 to 9-3 and a Region IV-4A championship last season.

Some of the playermakers who made last season happen for A.C. Flora have graduated, but Curtis knows what it takes to win there. When he first came to A.C. Flora with Howell, the Falcons weren’t accustomed to having success. That changed in a hurry as Howell got A.C. Flora to the 4A Lower State Championship in 2011. A few years later, the Falcons were back in the semifinals under Shaw.

“The facilities have gotten a lot better. There is a huge difference from when I first got here with Coach Howell in 2009,” Curtis said. “I understand how to relate to the community, what it takes from a player’s standpoint, and how all the pieces go together. I think it’s all important. I think it’s a place that can win a state championship. We were one game away from playing for one. I really believe we can make it back there.”

With Curtis’s return questions have arisen whether his offense will look more like the one the Falcons ran under Howell and Shaw or more like the wide open offense he ran at Westwood. The new Falcon coach’s response is while personnel will dictate some playcalling and formations, he wants to continue the multiple formation sets he ran with the Redhawks, incorporating tight ends and halfbacks. The Falcon offense will continue to run the run-pass option formation and include screens. At the same time, Curtis does want to emphasize the importance of running the ball.

While Curtis is opening a new chapter in his coaching career he is not forgetting about the last chapter. He is appreciative of that opportunity and is excited to see what Westwood will be able to do in the future.

“The returning players at Westwood in 2019 are really set up to have a fantastic year,” Curtis said. “They have great leadership behind players like CJ Johnson, Matt Brown, Cam Atkins, Ahmon Green, Christian Horn, and Dashawn Boyd. They have really worked hard. Those guys are poised to have a great year.”

As for Curtis’s new team, the Falcons began spring practice Monday, May 13. They will conclude with an on-campus spring game Friday, May 31.

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