This was an historic season for 806 football, even though none of our teams came away with a title this time around. We had some young teams arrive earlier than expected, some disappointment along with some drama mixed in. Here are the top 10 storylines in the 2019 football season!
10. 5A DII'S PLAYOFF DOMINANCE
At the start of the season when I looked at this district I really thought there we two dominant teams, and two teams that would have trouble in the playoffs in the first round. But, to my surprise, Lubbock-Cooper, Randall, WF Rider and Wichita Falls all won their first two round games and had to knock each other out of the playoffs the next two rounds! Randall went to the Metroplex and won a road game and then beat Canutillo as well! That shows you that seeding doesn't matter when you get to the dance, as long as you know your steps better than the other team on the dance floor.
9. FRIONA MAKES HISTORY
Friona had a heck of a season; from being ranked this season in 3A DII, to making it to the Regional round game after wins over Anson and Alpine! The Chieftains were very young last year, so don't expect a drop-off as Friona will be a major player in 3A DII again in 2020!
8. CANADIAN AND ABERNATHY'S BIG GAME
Also in 3A DII, we had two of the top five teams ranked in the state in the 806 area. Canadian was number one all year and were 13-0 when they played Abernathy and the Antelopes were 12-1 when they met up with the Wildcats. This was the game of the year as the Antelopes, who were down by 15 at one time, stormed back and cut the lead to 35-31 with the ball at the Wildcat's 30 trying to take the lead. In the end, Canadian's defense held and the Wildcats won the game, 35-31.
7. 5A DI'S QUICK EXITS OUT THE PLAYOFFS.
After realignment last season, teams in the 806 area don't have the luxury of two playoff games before they see a Metroplex team. But, for this season, I honestly thought that at least one of our teams would break through and get a second round win versus one of those superior teams. Well, it didn't happen as Monterey lost to Birdville, Coronado got beat by Ryan and Amarillo lost to Colleyville Heritage. Will the gap ever close? Well, it's like three gaps; The gap from the second round to the third, the Regional gap, and the State gap. Alvin Shadowcreek looks like it's not slowing down anytime soon...
6.ESTACADO GOES PERFECT FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1968
The Matadors played lights out this fall and earned their first perfect season since 1968. Coach Cluley's squad had three All-State players on the first team, a 2,000 yard rusher and one of the best defenses in the 806. This year, the Matadors will be hungry and trying to get past the third round as that has been their stopping point the last two seasons.
5. STRATFORD'S DOMINANT RUN.
The Elks really had a dominant season up until the State Semifinal. Iuden Romero along with the rest of Stratford's potent offense really blossomed this season under Coach Lovorn and don't expect the Elks to fall off anytime soon either. Finishing 2020 with a title will be the goal for Stratford and they have the tools returning to do it,
4. TASCOSA MAKES ANOTHER BIG RUN IN 6A DII
The Rebels will be dropping down to 5A DI this season, but let's make it clear: Tascosa held their own in 6A DII as they went tom the State Semis two years ago, and made it to the State Quarters this season! Joseph Plunk had an Al-State season with over 50 total touchdowns and players like LB Moore had standout seasons and careers! Expect big things from the Rebels in 5A DI!
3. DUMAS' DEMONS WITH A GREAT RUN THIS FALL
How about Dumas this season?!?! The Demons went undefeated for the first time since 1999 and made it all the way to the State Quarters! One of the biggest moments of the season was Ahh-Lee Yart's game-winning field goal against Decatur to move the Demons into the State Quarterfinal game. Players like Spencer Williams and Jacob Mares will be back for next season so expect Dumas to be right back ion the mix again for a state title berth.
2. LUBBOCK-COOPER ALMOST MADE IT TO THE TITLE GAME IN 5A DII
The Pirates had a season for the ages as they made it to the 5A DII State Semifinals and almost won the game against the number one-ranked team in Texas in the Aledo Bearcats. Players like Cooper LaFebre grew into his role while players like Garrison Smitherman made a name for himself in the playoffs. Coach Chip Darden in his first year commanding the Pirates led them with class and professionalism through the journey. Their defense coming back next year, led by JoJo Kirkpatrick and Kobie McKinzie, will be stiff and their offense will find some players to plug in and the Pirate Nation will be right back to the State Semifinals again in 2020.