The greatness of high school football playoffs…

Work In Progress

 

 

In my journey as a sports scribe I have been fortunate to cover a wide range of sporting events. I’ve covered everything from high school track meets to a PGA Tour golf tournament. I’ve covered Major League Baseball, the NBA, NCAA tournament and professional soccer.

I love covering those events, but to me the greatest sporting event to attend in person is a high school playoff game in Texas. It doesn’t matter whether it is at the 6A level or the 1A level. From the smallest schools to the largest, there is nothing that compares to a Texas high school football game.

A Texas high school football game means more than any game in the season. As the playoffs go on and the teams get fewer the meaning of those games increases. No matter what round the playoff game falls in, there is one guarantee. For three hours or so you will experience the full range of human emotion, especially if your community school is one of the two competing. By the end of those three hours, one side of the stadium will be basking in the euphoria of winning a playoff game. The other side of the stadium will be left in a state of sadness mixed with pride. There is the sadness of the sudden end of a playoff run mixed with the pride of knowing your team was one of the best in Texas.

I have been fortunate to attend 43 playoff games either as a fan, photographer or covering as a reporter. Twenty-five of the playoff games I have attended took place between 1998 and 2008 and involved the Lufkin Panthers. More often than not in those games the Panthers came away victorious and it was a happy ride back to the piney woods.

Even if you don’t have a team in the game, it is hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere of the game. If it is a neutral site game, you are likely to have close to full bleachyards ers on either side of the field. Both communities have likely driven several hours to be there for the playoff game. With both bands playing and both fanbases trying to will their teams to the victory, it is quite a sight to behold. When the clock strikes 0:00 in the fourth quarter, if the game isn’t tied, there is the suddenness of conclusion for the losing team and the elation of moving on for the winning team.

Alas, for most teams in Texas, the football season will end in sadness. Across the whole state there will be only 12 teams celebrating after the final game of the season. Those are the state champions. For the rest of the teams who make the playoffs, the road ends somewhere between the bi-district round and the championship game. The deeper the playoff run the deeper the hurt at the conclusion of the game, but as the weeks turn to months and the months to years, that hurt changes to pride at having seen your local team there among the best in Texas.

This past weekend Pleasanton and Poteet experienced the elation of playoff victory. It was a feeling that hadn’t been felt in Poteet since a fella named Eisenhower was living in the White House. Jourdanton has already felt the hurt of the sudden end of a season but now will turn with optimism to next season.

Pleasanton and Poteet have a game to prepare for. Poteet will have to travel to Corpus Christi on Friday night while Pleasanton gets to host its area round game. Both towns will be behind their football teams and hoping they get to make plans for a football game on Thanksgiving weekend.

It’s a fine weekend to play football. If you are playing on Thanksgiving weekend, it means you are still in the running to be playing on that weekend before Christmas when state championships are won.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *