Lone Star Gridiron

Top Five Championship Stories – Chris’ Take

I was asked what stood out the most about the 2011 Texas high school football championships and the hard part was narrowing it down to the top few (five in this case.)

Here are the storylines that held my interest the most this championship season:

1 -Refugio 'Gits Er Done' - This was clearly the most interesting story for me this entire season and it couldn't have ended better for the Refugio Bobcats.  First, we told the football world before the season started that THIS is the year Coach Jason Herring's Bobcats finish the job.  We picked them to win it all well before they took their first snap.

A history of great teams that just don't finish the job, led Coach Herring to a new policy of not pulling his starters until after they had played three quarters.  The move caused some outrageous blowouts as Refugio regularly scored over 60 points enroute to breaking the single-season scoring record.  These blowouts led to some harsh criticism from Bobcat opponents and high school football followers around the state.  Herring's reasoning was what I called, "the best explanation I have ever heard for running up a score."  If he pulled his kids out when the lead was comfortable, they wouldn't be prepared to play four quarters late in the playoffs when it mattered.

The Refugio Bobcats needed every bit of that regular season playing time experience and conditioning in their State Championship game against Cisco.  Critics were silenced and in the end, the Bobcats walked away the Class 2A Division II Title in a nail-biter 36-35.  Along the way, I was able to witness some exceptional play by Travis Quintanilla, Shiloh & Chase Whetsel, Cameron Sternadel, Draigon Silvas, Cory Brown and one of the best receivers I have ever witnessed, Lynx Hawthorne.

2 - DeKaney Shocks / Williams Impresses - What a great story!  Spring DeKaney, in their first playoff run wins the Class 5A Division II State Championship!  The team just started playing Varsity ball in 2008 and three years later, they are better than everyone else in the state.   As much as I would have liked to see that other young program, the Cibolo Steele Knights repeat as champions, the Spring DeKaney story is just a bit more exciting.

A big part of what made this title special was the way that Wildcat running back, Trey Williams transformed into a superstar in the last couple games of the season.  Those close to him have been saying the is "the shizzle" all season, but around the state he wasn't getting much attention.  When we put out a call to the state to let us know who the media is missing - he was one of the names that came up.  Since that time, I in particular, have paid more attention to him and WOW - not only did he turn in a great season and lead his team to their state title in their first postseason, but he has the makings of a great college back as well.  The folks at Texas A&M have found themselves a talent.

3 - The Drive for Five - How can you NOT include the Austin Lake Travis Cavaliers fifth straight Texas high school football championship in a list of the greatest things about this year's state games?  It would be amazing enough if the Cavs run involved a great coach with a great program and some key kids coming through the program at the same time, but that was not the case.

Not only did they go through three coaches en route to five in a row, they went through three or four quarterbacks and a boatload of role players.  Sure, the run included talent like Garrett Gilbert, but the entire run didn't include a superstar running back. The program built by former coach, Jeff Dicus has lived and prospered.

The way Lake Travis managed five titles in a row leaves one thinking that the only thing capable of slowing their dominance will likely be the move to 5A in the upcoming realignment.  Barring that, six could be a real possibility.

4 - Texans Return to Promised Land - This one had a personal interest because I live in Wimberley and both my boys play in the Texans Farm System (7th grade and 5th grade.)  Wimberley LOVES their football and have made it clear in the three years since I've arrived that they wanted to return to the glory of their 2005 state championship.  A lot of people statewide thought they had the team to do it last season as fell to Coldspring-Oakhurst in the Semi-final game.

That disappointment fresh in their minds, the Wimberley Texans took care of business with the same Semi-final matchup this season and set their sights on Argyle.  The Class 3A Division II title game didn't have a lot of fireworks, but featured hard-nosed defensive play on both sides of the ball.  The victory moved the Texans to 2-0 in championship games and invigorated Wimberley and surrounding communities.

5 - The Teams that are Not Here -  The fifth story of this championship season that bears mentioning is the fact that some great teams are not here.  Teams that the 'experts' touted all season and fell short in the final accounting - teams that looked to be world-beaters, but slipped because of matchups, letdowns or to hear some of those watching the title games at home - unfair behavior.

You can't begin to talk about teams that "should" have been here without mentioning  Allen, DeSoto, Katy or Euless Trinity.  Each of them would have surprised no one by taking home a title, but each of them fell short of the perfection required to win at Texas high school football state championship.  There are also teams like The Woodlands, Alvarado, Dallas Skyline, Daingerfield, Gilmer, Cisco, Ganado and Coldspring-Oakhurst that had great runs but fell a bit short.

That is the way it goes with Texas high school football though - 10 teams take home a title and nearly 1,500 go home without.

It was a great season, a great playoff run and another great state championship round.  Thank you to all the fans, coaches, parents, teachers, officials, media and supporters of "the greatest sport from the greatest state," for one more wonderful season.

Stay safe, do the right thing and we will see you in no time with coaching moves, collegiate recruiting news, Spring football, and of course, 7 on 7 action.
Chris Doelle

What was your favorite thing about the state championships?  Write your comments here or call the voicemail line 713-568-6361 and tell the world!!

0 Comments

  1. LoveLT

    December 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Lake Travis….do people really believe a move to 5A would really stop the Cavs? Moving to 5A may not happen with the next re-districting (they’re at least 100+ students short), but likely the next. I have faith in our Cavs success, regardless of where they play! Most of these young men have been playing together since elementary school! They’ve beat plenty of 5A teams over the past few years. Congrats to all of the players from teams ’07-’11!

  2. Terry in Katy

    December 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Nice article, Chris. As a former sports editor for national, regional and local media, I was impressed with your Top 5 list.
    Placing Refugio at the top of the list requires an author of either great courage or from outside the metropolis that is the 5A world — perhaps both. Regardless I enjoyed the read and look forward to more concise analysis.
    PS to Love LT: Lake Travis is a quality program that will continue to dominate 4A football. On the 5A level, the Cavs will draw Top 20 rankings annually, much like former 4A power Longview, which had the talent this year but stumbled. With some transition time, I can see Lake Travis winning

What are your thoughts?