My working with football coaches is a mostly professional relationship.
I call them when they are hired, when they leave or are fired. I talk to them after wins and losses alike. I hassle them when their volleyball or baseball assistants fail to report scores since most are ADs.
But it’s impossible to keep it purely professional if you spend a lot of time with them. Maybe you spend an hour in their fieldhouse writing a game story or they keep the press box open after their track meet and shoot the bull with you.
A couple area coaches I knew back when we were at college at Midwestern State. Heck, I hung out in City View coach Rudy Hawkins’ house last week for a couple hours working on my “week in a coach’s life” story.
Back when Damon Rodgers was at Olney, I had to use the phone line at his house (this is before wireless) to send my stories. He’d just give me the address, tell me the door was unlocked and then I worked at his living room table and usually left with some food for the drive back.
So with Munday’s success the past few years in football and track, I’ve spent a lot of time with Ronny Lowrance.
This area is lucky – we have great coaches here. And Ronny was one of them. We’d talk about families, scuttlebutt about area high school athletics, things friends would discuss.
So when I got a text from an area coach this morning alerting me to Ronny’s passing, it was a punch to the gut. That’s when I realized that Ronny Lowrance was more than a coach to me – he was a friend.
That made Sunday hard, having to write about his passing away at 45. I exchanged texts with him on a weekly basis. I’m going to miss him, but not nearly like the community of Munday will. It’s just a sad deal.
Now onto the weekly blog about what happened on the football field this weekend:
* A terrific win by Wichita Falls High School. Rider had a good one as well, but the Coyotes put themselves in position to make these next two weeks really big, something they didn’t do last year by dropping their opener to Brewer.
WFHS now really needs to beat Azle and Denton. A 3-0 start would give them hope going into a final four-game stretch against the four favorites to make the playoffs in 5-4A.
* Another big night from Rider WR Davon Allison. I think you could say that just about every week.
* Hirschi in Cody Slater’s first two years: 4-16. Year three: 4-1. Next up for the Huskies looks like a pretty good matchup against Carrolton Ranchview on Thursday.
* I realized after Graham’s win the other night that road teams are 5-0 at games I’ve covered this year. That doesn’t count Iowa Park-Pampa (I consider that neutral), but includes: Hirschi-Bowie, Holliday-Windthorst, Hirschi-Holliday, Seymour-City View and Graham-Springtown.
I guess that trend doesn’t bode well for Vernon, which will be my Friday night spot the next two weeks against Gainesville and Graham.
* Seems like it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had two games at Memorial Stadium. Next week we’ll have four – Brewer-Rider, Azle-WFHS, River Road-Iowa Park and MSU’s home opener. That’s a busy weekend.
* A couple of the scores in 5-3A this weekend were odd. It sounded like Iowa Park laid an egg against Decatur (I expected that to be closer than 42-7) and Burkburnett only scoring 24 points against Mineral Wells was surprising.
* This just in: Graham is good and fun to watch offensively, especially QB Ben Davis. Springtown isn’t a powerhouse, but the way the Steers played Friday night was impressive. I’m excited for Graham-Vernon in two weeks.
* Crazy game for Bowie, which lost in triple overtime to Boyd, 42-34, in a district opener. I have a feeling it will come down to Week 10’s home game against Callisburg for a Jackrabbit playoff berth.
* How you want to enter your bye week – Nocona, which exploded for 49 points in a 49-21 win over Valley View. How you don’t want to enter your bye week – Henrietta, which fell down 28 points in the first quarter and lost 49-14 to S&S Consolidated.
* Seymour has definitely distanced itself from everyone else in 3-A Div. I. I’m not saying the Panthers will waltz to the title, but they have looked the best so far. And their matchup against Stamford this week should be really interesting.
* I really thought Olney had a good shot to win on Friday and break its losing streak. The Cubs still have a chance to pull an upset in district, but unless they shock Electra, they’ll enter 3-A at 0-6.
* I think the case could be made that Electra is the area’s second-best Class A team. That’s why I put the Tigers in my Top 10 this week.
* Holliday’s Malachi Cade exploded for more than 300 yards against Munday in the Eagles’ 55-22 win on Friday. He had more than 100 the previous week at Vernon. For someone who entered the year as second-string behind Chase Duncan (who got injured versus Windthorst), he’s made quite an impact.
* Looks like Windthorst cut out the turnovers on Friday, beating Petrolia 17-6 and spoiling the Pirates’ homecoming.
* I have zero idea if it being homecoming had anything to do with Petrolia’s performance. But I do know that most coaches aren’t real big fans of homecoming because of all the distractions involved.
If I had $5 for every time a coach said “you know, it was our homecoming…” when trying to explain a lackluster outing, I could take my wife out to some nice dinners. I had one tell me that tonight, actually (it wasn’t Petrolia).