Best seasons in each school’s history

I have a pretty good job. I get to cover high school football for a living.

And one of the favorite parts of my job is when the calendar turns to December and the high-stakes playoff games captivate an entire town.

There’s really nothing like it. Deep playoff runs in other sports generate plenty of excitement too, but they can’t compare to football.

During my decade with the Times Record News, I’ve been fortunate to cover several of these exciting Decembers. In fact, only once was my season over before the semifinals (2008-when Archer City lost in quarterfinals).

Last year I watched as Nocona enjoyed its best season in program history. And that got me to thinking – what is the best season in each area team’s history?

So I decided to compile a list briefly highlighting each season. It’s worth mentioning that out of 21 area 11-man teams, only three have never been to the state semifinals – Burkburnett, City View and Nocona, which made history with its quarterfinal run a year ago.

Also of note, nine of the 21 have won state championships. Another three (Graham, Quanah, Seymour) got to the final game and lost.

Here’s the full list:

Rider: 2012

How deep: 4A state semifinals

What happened: After a few close calls in the quarterfinals, the Raiders finally broke through by whipping Frenship at Memorial Stadium. A tremendous season ended with a double OT loss to Lancaster, 26-19.


WFHS: 1941, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1969

How deep: State champions

What happened: The Coyotes’ six state titles – three more than anyone else in the area – happened at different levels. The last three were at 4A, the first happened when only one winner was crowned and the second and third were at the 2A level (which was the second-biggest class behind “city” at the time). My sports editor Nick Gholson, who once wrote a book on WFHS football, considers the 1961 group that beat Galena Park 21-14 in the championship as the Coyotes’ best.


Burkburnett: 1990, 2009

How deep: 3A state quarterfinals

What happened: Shout out to Burkburnett’s own Ben Coker because I missed the 1990 team. That group with RB Skip Hicks beat Brownwood, Ft. Worth Poly and Big Spring before losing to Stephenville, 32-16. In 2009, Burkburnett had a first-round bye and then beat Burnet 27-21 before losing to Abilene Wylie. Since Burkburnett was a 3A Div. I representative, it only had one playoff win in 2009 to make the quarters.


Graham: 2009.

How deep: 3A state runner-up.  

What happened: I’ll never forget the Steers’ lone state title appearance. Carthage couldn’t put Graham away and the Steers pulled with 13-12 with two late touchdowns. A two-point conversion failed – it (or two made PATs) would have given Graham a championship in Case McCoy’s senior year.


Hirschi: 1964

How deep: 3A semifinals

What happened: This easily could have been a title team. The Huskies had a 23-0 halftime lead over Palestine in the semis, but lost 28-23 on a touchdown pass on the game’s final play. Palestine won the 3A title the next week.


Iowa Park: 1969, 1970

How deep: Class 2A state champions

What happened: The Hawks, coached by Tommy Watkins, took down Klein 31-14 for their first title. The next year, a 7-7 tie against Refugio gave both a championship. Now we’d have overtime.


Vernon: 1990

How deep: 3A state champions

What happened: The year after losing in the 3A title game to Mexia by one point, the Lions doubled up Crockett, 41-20.


Bowie: 1974

How deep: 2A semifinals

What happened: There might have been another semifinal run more than 40 years ago, but this was the only one I could find. The Jackrabbits’ season ended with a 43-6 loss to Spearman.


City View: 2002

How deep: 2A Bi-district. 

What happened: The Mustangs have only made the playoffs once in their 13 years of playing varsity football. The Gus Barnes-led group fell to Cisco, 36-20.


Henrietta: 2004

How deep: 2A state semifinals

What happened: This was my first year working the area football beat for the TRN. Boyd knocked out the Bearcats 32-22 by scoring the game’s last 15 points. Henrietta led at the start of the fourth quarter, the first time the eventual champion Yellow Jackets had trailed all season.


Holliday: 1996

How deep: 2A state semifinals

What happened: The Eagles, who seven times made the quarterfinals under Terry Wolf, were one victory away from a state championship game in 1996. Holliday lost to eventual champ Iraan, 36-22.


Jacksboro: 1962, 1971

How deep: Class 2A state champions

What happened: I profiled the 1962 team last year as it celebrated its 50th anniversary (story can be read here: The Tigers crushed Rockdale 52-0 in that final and won it all again nine years later by nipping Rosebud-Lott, 20-14.


Nocona: 2012

How deep: 2A state quarterfinals

What happened: The Indians had been to regionals before, but when the Tate Fenoglio-led team downed Gunter 15-13, that sent Nocona to the quarters. The season ended with a 45-35 shootout loss to Corsicana Mildred.


Archer City: 1964

How deep: Class A state champions

What happened: Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Wildcats’ only state title. Archer City won 13-6 over Ingelside.


Olney: 1959, 1960

How deep: 2A state semifinals

What happened: That first Cubs team was led by Harold Phillip, who played at Texas. The next year, Jim Grisham became the fullback and he played well at Oklahoma. Both teams the Cubs lost to wound up winning the title, although Stamford’s was forfeited to Brady after the fact.


Quanah: 1961, 1988

How deep: 2A runner-up

What happened: The Indians had a couple close calls early in the 1988 playoffs (25-20, 24-22) before beating Celina in semis. Quanah lost to Corrigan-Camden 35-14 in state championship. In 1961, Donna edged the Indians, 28-21.


Seymour: 2007

How deep: Class A state runner-up

What happened: The Panthers lost their only title game appearance 22-0 to defending champion Alto. While I don’t think it would have made a difference in which team won/lost, the Panthers suffered a big blow early when stud QB Hayden Holub tore his ACL. So it’ll always be a what-if game for Seymour fans.


Windthorst: 1996, 2003

How deep: Class A state champions

What happened: Bill Green coached two state champion teams. The second, which edged Shiner 28-27 in the final, featured a backfield that had three Greens – senior twins Kyle and Chad plus freshman Brad.


Electra: 1985

How deep: Class 2A state champions

What happened: RB Charlie Lott led the Tigers to the 2A state title. Electra won the championship 29-13 over Groveton.


Munday: 1984, 2007, 2012

How deep: Class A state champions

What happened: The Moguls are the area’s only 11-man team to win a title since 2004 and they’ve done it twice. Munday beat Union Hill 13-0 in 1984; beat Bremond 26-6 in 2007; and whipped Tenaha 42-14. Last year’s Moguls could definitely be considered the most dominant title winner this area has ever seen.


Petrolia: 2002

How deep: Class A state champions

What happened: The Pirates, with Class A’s best player in RB/LB Ross Harrison and future NFL receiver David Nelson, took down Celeste 39-18 to win the program’s only state title. Petrolia won every playoff game by at least 17 points.



Knox City: 1983. The area’s only current 6-man school that won an 11-man title. The Greyhounds beat Bremond 27-20 behind QB Wayne Hutchinson, who watched his son Hagen also win a state Class A title last year at Stamford.  

Throckmorton: The Greyhounds have won three titles in nine years of 6-man: 2005, 2011 and 2012. Worth noting Throckmorton also appeared in the 1986 Class A championship game, losing to Burkeville 33-7.

Northside: The Indians won a title the first year 6-man was split into two divisions, beating Jayton 60-41 in 2006.

Note: In 1972, Goree beat Harrold 28-24 for the first 8-man title and O’Brien won the first 6-man championship. It’s unique that a) Both teams who won were from the area; and b) both schools don’t exist anymore. Goree consolidated with Munday and O’Brien with Knox City. Goree also won the 1973 8-man title, too.