DCTF examines some of Texas' most unique HS characters.
From Eagles and Bulldogs to weather hazards and fairy tale creatures, when it comes to Texas high school football mascots, there really are no limits. But, this season when it comes to the most unique or the just plain interesting, these Texas mascots take the cake.
Starting off the list is the oldest high school in Texas, whose mascot started from their team colors, the Austin High Maroons.
The school’s colors, maroon and white, inspired their mascot name in the early 1900s, and despite other schools choosing animals for team mascots, Austin High chose to keep their unique mascot name.
Unsurprisingly, many were confused on what a Maroon actually was, so the definition of the mascot was born. A Maroon is “someone who wears Maroon and boosts Austin High,” and the team’s actual mascot, Mister Maroo, a large, hairy, maroon creature, represents the “embodiment of the Maroon spirit,” according to the school website.
Another mascot topping the list is the San Antonio Lanier Voks, because like the Maroons, it’s not the easiest mascot to decipher.
“It stands for vocational,” said Lanier assistant principal Jesus De Hoyos. “A long time ago it used to be a vocational school, so they abbreviated it into what they call a vok which is represented as a gear, and that’s what the mascot emblem is.”
As to why the gear was chosen, the exact reason is not known, but is assumed to deal with the school’s past vocational programs including mechanics and engineering, explains De Hoyos.
The Vok is represented by their mascots Mister and Miss Vok, both giant cartoon-like gears. Needless to say, a school with giant mechanical gears representing their mascot makes the top of the list with ease.
Next on the list are the Central Catholic San Antonio Buttons. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that this school has dedicated their mascot to the small, vital pieces that hold our shirts together, the buttons they are talking about are the ones on a rattlesnake’s tail, making up the rattler.
When the high school broke off from St. Mary’s college, who’s mascot was the rattlers, Central Catholic adopted a baby rattlesnake as their mascot and became the buttons according to Central Catholic's attendance nurse, Betty.
Funny thing is, baby rattlesnakes don’t actually have buttons on their tail. Regardless, Central Catholic fans still treasure their mascot because of its uniqueness.
“The kids like it,” said Betty. “We’ll never change it.”
Like the Buttons, this misunderstood mascot leaves some people having a cow, the Hereford Whitefaces. If you are not familiar with farm animals, this mascot may even come off as offensive, but in reality the Hereford mascot is a specific breed of cattle, characterized with red coloring and a white face.
According to Hereford head coach Don DeLozier, because Hereford is located in what is considered the beef county of the world, the mascot is fitting and something the fans genuinely cherish.
“It’s one of the unique signatures of our high school football team and I think that’s something our town takes great pride in,” DeLozier said.
The next two mascots are straight out of the fairytales and bedtime stories read to children before they go to sleep, the New Braunfels Unicorns and the Hamlin Pied Pipers.
As if picturing a unicorn mascot cheering on the fans is not enough, New Braunfels also runs out of a giant blow up unicorn tunnel come game time.
Fictional as this mascot may be, the talented players New Braunfels produces are not. Although, they may have some magic up their sleeve like former unicorn and Texas Tech head coach, Kliff Kingsbury.
Now although unicorns may be from fairytales, a unicorn actually has some brawn and strength to it, while on the other hand, a pied piper might excel in other categories.
The Hamlin Pied Pipers mascot looks similar to how someone might dress if they were being Peter Pan or Robin Hood for Halloween; in other words, a man in tights playing a pipe with mice at his feet.
Tradition in Texas football is vital, but when it comes to intimidating mascots, a man in tights playing a flute is definitely questionable. Then again, if anyone were actually spotted in this attire in Texas, it would likely cause some concern.
Despite the Pied Pipers appearance, Hamlin still packs a punch on the scoreboard, ending last season with a winning record.
The next mascot is also something you might find in books. History books that is. Channeling Texas’ farming roots, the Robstown Cotton Pickers join the list.
Like Hereford, the Robstown Cotton Pickers have taken on criticism of their mascot, but the mascot represents a piece of history to the town.
Robstown was known for it’s cotton production, and despite any negativity others may associate with the cotton picker, the school still represents their mascot with pride explains Robstown secretary Patricia Moreno.
“We’re the only ones who have it,” Moreno said. “We’re very proud of it.”
Because the school does not always have an actual mascot, different cheerleaders will usually dress as a cotton picker, basically wearing farming attire says Moreno.
“It’s a human being dressed like they are ready to go pick cotton,” Moreno said.
Often mistaken as a stingray, this mascot has Texas City fans defending their mascot’s true identity constantly, the stingaree.
Although it may seem like a stingaree could pass as a nickname or slang term for a stingray, the fans in Texas City stand strong in defining their mascot apart from it’s similar yet completely different counterpart.
“Oh, it’s different,” said Texas City's athletic secretary. “And the people around here will make sure and tell you that we’re not the stingrays. We are the Stingarees.”
Often flying under the radar when thinking of some of the world’s most feared animals, this mascot even trumps the lion as Africa’s deadliest species, the hippo. Despite the hippo’s strength and fierce reputation, Hutto is the only high school in the country with this mascot and when seeing the town, it’s clear they are proud of it.
“There’s actually three life size hippos [in Hutto] and then there’s probably a good 5,000 concrete hippos in town that are smaller in front of peoples houses and in front of businesses,” Hutto's Emily Grobe said.
The mascot comes from a story taking place in Hutto in the early 1900s, when a train carrying a circus group stopped in town to feed their show animals explains Grobe.
While stopped, a hippo snuck off the train and ventured to a nearby creek to swim. The crew finally found the animal, but because the hippo was so content, it took them three days to finally get it back on the train. After this incident, the school felt it was appropriate to dedicate their mascot name to the giant beast.
Even larger than a 7,000 pound hippo, comes a mascot that is as uncontrolled as it gets, the blizzards. What makes this mascot name even better, is the high school for which it represents, Winters.
According to head coach Stan Caffey, it all started in 1925 when the town had a “name the mascot” contest, and from there, Winters Blizzards was born. Although, once the high school mascot was determined, the town did not stop there.
“They had a spirit group called the Eskimos at one time and the junior high team are called the breezes,” said Caffey. “In 1926 the girls basketball team were called the cyclones.”
Even though this town has never even seen a blizzard, if even some snow flurries, Winters’ mascot choices continue to follow the theme of the blizzard, and therefore, gain it a spot on this list.
Also a Texas school with a frigid name, Frost represents their town’s chilly name with a mascot to match, the polar bear. Considering the only other high school in the country with the same mascot lies much further north in Alaska where a polar bear mascot is actually fitting, Frost employees say the students love the unique play on words with their mascot.
Frost changed their mascot to the polar bears in 1924 according to Frost cheer sponsor Shanna, but even before this, their mascot was still worthy of joining this list as the Frost field mice.
Needless to say, change can be for the better. Although, there is no denying it would be comical to hear the football team introduced on game days as the mighty Field Mice.
And from the massive, follows the just plain tiny, the Mesquite Skeeters.
A skeeter, better known as a mosquito, acts as the smallest mascot on the list, and likely the smallest mascot in the state, but ironically with this small mascot, comes a big school and a big record to match.
The Mesquite Skeeters are the only team on the list with a state championship under their belt in the past fifteen years, and ultimately put to shame any questions of their mascots size and strength.
“It’s an important deal. Obviously we got a unique mascot and we’re awful proud of that,” said Mesquite coach Robbie Robinson.
So, before judging any book by its cover, or in this case, any team by it’s mascot, do not be so quick to judge, because lions, tigers and bears may not be near as intimidating as something as small as a mosquito.
Honorable Mentions: Munday Moguls, Roscoe Plowboys, Progreso Red Ants, Rotan Yellowhammers, Springtown Porcupines, Itasca Wampas Cats, Grandview Zebras, Calhoun Sandcrabs, Little River Academy Bumblebees, San Saba Armadillos, Fredericksberg Battlin’ Billies, Baytown Lee Ganders, Mason Punchers, Garland Christian Swordsmen, Sharpstown Apollos, Flordata Whirlwinds, Rocksprings Angoras and Crane Golden Cranes
Courtney Schellin is a special contributor to Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.