Programs, coaches simultaneously reach brink of major milestones

Editor’s Note: For all the updated team records, visit the Texas High School Football Record Book

By Jake Shaw/

The statistical chances of what could (and likely will) happen this high school football season are truly astronomical.

Yet in nearly a century of Texas high school football, two programs and two coaches are suddenly and involuntarily linked to one another.

On the opening weekend of the 2008 season, both Amarillo High and Dallas Highland Park will be playing for a win, of course. But not just any ordinary win. A victory would give each program their 700th in school history.

Meanwhile, Eddy Peach, the head coach at Arlington Lamar, and Buda Hays’ Bob Shelton are each less than five wins away from 300 career victories. Only five coaches in state history have reached that milestone (a list that was four-members long before Dennis Alexander led Harleton to a 9-3 record last year, giving him 302 career wins).

But the achievements by Shelton and Peach will have even greater significance, for every single win by both coaches has come at the same school.

Shelton, starting his 45th season, has won 296 games, all at Hays. Peach — who took over at Lamar upon the school’s inception in 1970 — has won all his 298 games while leading the Vikings.

Simply amazing.

Back to the program milestones … if I were coaching at either Amarillo or Highland Park, I’d have gone out of my way to schedule the ’08 season-opener on Thursday, Aug. 28th, the first day UIL allows games to be played.

Schedule it at noon (eastern) if possible.

And I might’ve looked for an, umm, lesser opponent, a team that I’d feel my chances are pretty good of winning against.

Because I’d love to say we were the first to 700. More than 10 other programs have over 600 wins, including Plano at 696, so several other schools are nearing that number.

But there’s only one who can do it first, the “charter member” if you will.

Last year, Highland Park really closed the gap on Amarillo; the Scots started 2007 with 684 wins, went 15-0 to run it to 699, but fell 36-34 to Lake Travis in the 4A DII title game.

Amarillo, meanwhile, opened the season with 694 wins. After a 5-5 regular season, one playoff win would have delivered No. 700, but a 3-point loss to EP Coronado in bi-district ended the attempt.

So who will be the first to 700?

Amarillo has the first crack at it. The Sandies host Canyon Randall at 8 p.m. Friday, August 29th at Dick Bivins Stadium. Not only is lucky No. 700 on the line, it’s a payback game for last year’s 38-28 loss to Randall, the first-ever loss by AHS to their Bell Street rivals.

Highland Park plays 24 hours later, facing Red Oak at SMU’s Ford Stadium.

Now before I fool you into thinking I can rattle off statistics like Amarillo and HP rattle off wins, I must admit the truth: we updated our online record-book last week, so the aforementioned records, plus numerous other team records, now reflect results through the 2007 season.

Individual records will have to wait until the summer when DCTF hits the shelves. When that time comes, fans know we’re even closer to the season.

And as these records indicate, this season promises to be as significant as any other in state history.