Richland Springs vs. Calvert
Friday, 6:30 in Hico
Name a better six-man postseason rivalry than Richland Springs vs. Calvert.
There isn’t one, at least not in the past 20 years.
Calvert didn’t begin to play six-man until the 1998 season and immediately began to make an impact. As far as Richland Springs goes… well, I think those nine state championships since 2004 speak for themselves.
And along the way, they have played some storied games.
Since 2002, the Trojans and Coyotes have played 11 times in the playoffs, with Richland Springs holding a solid 8-3 edge. In seven of those seasons, the winner has gone on to win the state title. In most of those seasons, this matchup was the tightest game the winner faced.
It all started with the classic 2002 game the Friday after Thanksgiving in Gatesville, where a scrappy Calvert team won a 60-57 classic en route to their first and only state title.
Last year the Coyotes won a low-scoring squeaker in Hico, 34-29, on their way to a record-setting ninth state title.
“When you think of Richland Springs-Calvert, you think of some of the best athletes our classification has to offer,” Calvert head coach JaMarcus Ashley said.
Richland Springs head coach Jerry Burkhart agrees.
“We know we are in for a battle,” Burkhart said. “Their speed is so dangerous. We always expect a close, hard-fought game.”
Leading up to this week though, the scheduling gods have not been kind to either team.
Despite being through 13 weeks of the season, Richland Springs has only played nine games. This season they have not dominated the competition as in the past and the highest-ranked team they have faced was a 5-4 Austin Royals squad.
Calvert has only played 10 games, but on the level has faced better competition. They traveled across the state to drop early games to Borden County and Rankin, then pulled out close wins over Bryan Allen Academy and Bastrop Tribe, which are two solid private schools.
“We’re just as confident as ever,” add Calvert’s Ashley, who himself is a 2011 Calvert alum and has played in this rivalry. “We aren’t the healthiest or deepest team, given some of our circumstances, but we’ve been working extremely hard since June to put ourselves in this position.”
Both teams expect a physical game that goes the distance.
“We will have to impose our will on Richland,” Ashley said. “We understand what they bring to the table. This isn’t the most talented team to come through Calvert, but it is definitely the best TEAM I’ve ever witnessed here.”
“We know that we are in for a battle,” Burkhart said. “We have to prepare ourselves for a dogfight mentally. Calvert will cause you to make mistakes. We will have to overcome adversity and play hard every down.”
PREDICTION: Calvert 52, Richland Springs 48
|Year||Winner, Score||Eventual State Champion|
|2003||Richland Springs, 48-26|
|2006||Richland Springs, 52-14||Richland Springs|
|2007||Richland Springs, 76-26||Richland Springs|
|2010||Richland Springs, 66-58||Richland Springs|
|2011||Richland Springs, 72-22||Richland Springs|
|2016||Richland Springs, 86-36||Richland Springs|
|2018||Richland Springs, 60-47|
|2019||Richland Springs, 34-29||Richland Springs|
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