So, we’ve actually played five weeks of the season (kind of) and have almost made it to the midway point of the season. I figured this was as good a time as any to check out where we stand.
It has definitely been a strange start to a season. With TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) not playing in the early weeks and several games canceled due to COVID-19, there were a mere 74 games played.
Last weekend, as we finally had what was close to a full slate of games, there were 110.
There’s a whole slew of teams that have only played two games: Evant, Van Horn, Water Valley, Paint Rock, Sierra Blanca, Dime Box, Olfen and Arlington Texas Leadership Charter. There’s also been two schools that have only played a single game: Apple Springs, Lohn, and Harrold. Dawson is yet to play a game due to low numbers and COVID, but still says they hope to play their district schedule.
I also decided it would be a good time to highlight five teams who have surprised us in a good way and five in some sort of another way.
Of course, none of this really matters, and each of the teams still has to prove themselves in district play, but this is how I see it.
Five Teams Who Have Surprised Me (in a good way)
- Westbrook Wildcats – This one is kind of obvious. The Wildcats came into the season with high expectations but were also a 5-5 team that had not been to the playoffs since 200 All they’ve done is beat Motley County, Borden County and Strawn. Of course, they are in the same district as Sterling City and Highland, so there’s still a lot of hills left to climb, but for now, Westbrook deserves the attention.
- Lometa Hornets - Predicted to finish fourth in a four-team district after a rough 3-7 season in 2019, the Hornets are 4-0. Lometa is averaging almost 60 points a game while only allowing 15. I’m not saying they’ve played the toughest schedule out there, but you have to start somewhere. Like Westbrook, they still have that tough district schedule ahead, but to have already surpassed last year’s win total is a great accomplishment.
- Buena Vista Longhorns – The Longhorns went 1-8 last year and were expected to finish fourth in a four-team district this season, but are already 3-2. The season hasn’t been perfect but winning a few games over west Texas rivals Grandfalls-Royalty and Sierra Blanca, who 45’d them last season has to feel good.
- O’Donnell Eagles – A playoff team a year ago, they expected great things from themselves this year and they’ve delivered. At 4-1, they have wins over teams like Gordon, Garden City (albeit they are down this season) and Jayton and hope they are ready for a district with the likes of Borden County.
- Follett Panthers – After a down year in 2019 (2-6), the Panthers have bounced back with a strong start to 2020. The defense has been key, as they have allowed a mere 24 points this season in five games and appear to set up for a more typical deep playoff run.
Five Teams Who Have Surprised Me (in other ways)
- McLean Tigers – We all knew there would be some rebuilding after two straight trips to Jerry World and the 2018 title, but I’m not sure anyone expected the Tigers to be 2-3 with their only wins being over division 2 teams: a drumming of Darrouzet and a slim two-point win over Lefors.
- Milford Bulldogs – I am not going to say that losing to Abbott, Jonesboro, and Plano CHANT is awful, but when you are a preseason top-15 team, starting 0-3 has to be a shock. The schedule should lighten up here, so the young Bulldogs have time to right the ship and make the playoffs.
- Blackwell Hornets – The Hornets were a state semifinalist a year ago and returning most of their team, so expectations were high. So, when Blackwell lost to Eden in the opening weekend, 64-60, it shocked quite a few, especially considering they had not lost a regular season game since 2016. They still look to be the team to beat in District 6-1A D2 but will need to get things going in a tough region.
- Dime Box Longhorns – I am not really going to bang on the Longhorns in their first official UIL football season, but rather the luck they’ve had with their schedule. Due to being so far East and originally booking a bunch of TAPPS teams in the preseason, Dime Box has only been able to play two games and they are lucky to have played that many. Last week’s game was canceled at the last minute and they picked up Red Oak Ovilla Christian. They are still favored to win their district, let’s just hope they get to play a few games prior.
- Calvert Trojans – I am only kind of joking here as well, but the Trojans have not been the dominating force many were expecting. You cannot really fault them for trying. They’ve tried to play a tough schedule, traveling to Gordon to play Borden County, to Bryan to play Bastrop Tribe and all the way to Rankin to face the Red Devils. Unfortunately, they don’t have much to show for it other than a tight win over Tribe and a lot of great experience. As has been the case for teams like Union Hill and Dime Box, the schedule has just not cooperated with them. Coach Ashley is trying to get his team going but it is going to be hard when you have a bye every other weekend.
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