Richland Springs -- the state's most dominant six-man program -- rolls on.
Richland Springs Coach Jerry Burkhart and Strawn Coach Dewaine Lee know each other well. In Six Man football, Texas that happens. It was Lee’s Greyhounds that knocked Burkhart’s Coyotes out of the 2009 playoffs on the Strawn drive to the State Championship game.
And the Coyotes have not lost a game since then. Richland Springs reeled off its history-making 44th straight victory with an 82-44 win over Strawn in the UIL Six Man Division II state semi-finals, setting up the Coyotes for a possible third straight state championship and a fifth state trophy in this brief century.
Richland Springs will play Follett, a 44-32 winner over Grandfalls-Royalty in Abilene this Saturday.
And while Richland Springs players took photos with their latest trophy hardware with their girlfriends and grandmas, Coach Burkhart said he would continue to tell his players to focus on their faith and the fundamentals, not the gigantic winning streak.
“We work, we win,” says Burkhart. “I am a blessed man to coach such great kids. I really don’t think about the win streak. We just go out there and play hard every down and see what the score is at the end of the game.”
Strawn kept it close at 22-22 before Richland Springs capitalized on rare Greyhound turnovers and reeled off 44 straight points – one point short of the six man mercy rule. But Strawn kept fighting and kept the game going for four full quarters.
“I am very proud of our players,” said Coach Lee, whose team finished 12-2. “Richland Springs is on quite a roll. We may not see this again for a real long time.”
The 44-game winning streak is the sixth-longest in Texas high school football history and the longest current winning streak of any high school football program in the country.
Memories are long in Six Man football Texas. Most winning streaks are short. The Coyotes have changed the landscape. Will it continue as Richland Springs rolls into West Texas this weekend? Follett will certainly have something to say about it.
Ken Capps is a special contributor to Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.