We’ve got four playoff games Monday in what has got to be one of the most bizarre high school football weekends Texas has ever seen.
Take WFHS for example. The Coyotes’ game gets moved up a day, then back to Friday, then Saturday and then Monday. And it takes WFHS-Aledo all the way until late Saturday night to find a place (Waxahachie) to play.
It can’t be fun for the players to be waiting around for their biggest games of the season. Cabin fever begins to set in. Trust me, I know the feeling.
There aren’t many stories from my freshman year of college I can share on this blog, but this is one of them.
At this time 13 years ago, I was finishing up my first semester at MSU. I had three or four finals all clumped together and then a history final on the last Friday.
My buddy from high school Austin also had about the same schedule. MSU made you completely check out of the dorms between semesters (which is a total pain) so our plan was to leave with all our stuff Wednesday, come back Friday morning for our exam and then return to Richardson for the break.
Just like last week, Mother Nature didn’t comply. An ice storm moved in Thursday afternoon. We didn’t know how bad it would be, but we knew we needed to get back to Wichita Falls as quickly as possible because missing an exam would be frowned upon.
It took us 4 ½ hours to drive 140 miles in Austin’s SUV. The car’s windshield iced up completely at one point. We witnessed a couple trucks slide off the road and saw about 15 wrecked vehicles, mainly pickups.
Keep in mind we thought we’d have a test the next morning and then leave. I had one change of clothes, a toothbrush and a couple other items. In a hurry to get back, you don’t think about getting a laptop or anything else that might entertain you.
We got some more snow on top of the ice, so of course exams were postponed Friday. And Saturday. They weren’t going to have them Sunday. I can’t remember if it was Monday or Tuesday until we had them, but it was a long time.
We couldn’t go back to Dallas because of the roads (and we never knew when we’d have the exams) and I didn’t have a vehicle either.
Much like our football teams now, we were stuck in a holding pattern. Except I only had two changes of clothes – and I was wearing one of them.
I slept in a sleeping bag on top of a mattress (the sheets were already gone) and of my two changes of clothes, one was completely unwearable because we had played snow football outside the dorms the first day.
My shoes were completely ruined from football too, so for three days I walked to the cafeteria in my house shoes in the snow. I promise I’m not making this up.
Back in those days, I don’t remember having a debit card and I didn’t get a cell phone till that summer. Yes, I guess I’m that old. So I was completely bored out of my skull (the Playstation – yes the original one – was also brought home for winter break).
A girl I had been hanging out with some was still there, and I thought maybe I could spend some time with her. But she was too busy (of course). Or maybe she just saw me wearing the same clothes and house shoes for a couple days straight.
I’m not going to lie. It was probably one of the worst three-day stretches in my life. But I learned some things from the experience: a) always be prepared for any situation; b) sometimes things are out of your control and c) it never hurts to travel with a computer or at least couple good books.
OK, story time is over. Here are my predictions:
WFHS vs. Aledo – The Coyotes have had an amazing run and it has been fun to watch them get better and pull out a couple exciting playoff games. There’s a lot to love about what WFHS coach Danny Russell is doing.
Having said that, I’m afraid the Coyotes have met their match. Aledo is 17 points away from setting the all-time HS scoring record. The Bearcats have beaten everybody they played by at least 40 points.
A very good undefeated Canyon trailed 37-0 in the second quarter last week. And let’s not forget, powerhouse Highland Park is still playing, but the Scots’ one loss was a 44-3 Aledo smackdown.
Maybe Aledo will be a little sluggish because of the layoff/cold weather, but that won’t change what I’ve thought all along: If WFHS can end the game within 35 points, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. Either way, the Coyotes have nothing to hang their heads about.
Graham vs. Shallowater – Obviously this game wasn’t played because of the awful roads. But if I had to bet, Shallowater would have rather played in freezing rain and 30 mph winds. Because that could be the best chance to slow down Ben Davis and the Steers’ offense.
Maybe this is just me, but I think this is a bad matchup for the Mustangs, who have the same 13-0 record Graham does. The Steers’ entire defense is pretty stout, but I think the run defense might be its best area (Shallowater’s rushing attack is its strength).
I think Shallowater will need to have a couple of those seven-minute TD drives, but even then, Graham has the ability to answer that score so quickly. And coach Kyle Maxfield admitted to me the Mustangs haven’t faced an offense as explosive as Graham’s is. To me, it just feels like one of those 35-14 wins that is close for a while but ultimately the best team pulls away. And I think Graham is the best team in this one.
Crowell vs. Valley – OK, so Crowell doesn’t have one of its key players in Lex Bond. Guess what? The Wildcats didn’t have him either when they beat Crowell 78-40 four weeks into the season.
And Valley’s QB, Ketch Smith, was lost for the year since then. Crowell just got done beating two of the top teams in the state in Water Valley and Ira. And playing on a Monday shouldn’t throw Crowell off because it did so two weeks ago.
Obviously at this level, you can’t just play your worst football of the season and expect to win. Valley is plenty good. But Crowell is easily the biggest favorite among the four area teams left and I believe it wins comfortably.
Newcastle vs. Milford – I expect this to be the closest game of all four. Milford will present some challenges, especially with its speed.
But the Bobcats are coming off their best performance this season and I don’t think they’ll panic if they trail by 18 points early or anything like that. And QB Tyler Mays is a very savvy player.
I think if Newcastle can play clean (no turnovers), it’ll be able to send coach Ty Spitzer out in style with a game at AT&T Stadium. I go with the Bobcats by a touchdown.