5 storylines heading into the UIL small school state football championships


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Canadian will play Franklin for its fifth state championship in school history Thursday. [Trevor Fleeman/ Press Pass Sports]

1. Can Canadian leave a legacy

All year Canadian’s mission has been to “Leave a Legacy”. The No. 1 Wildcats (14-1) get their chance to do so when they square off with Franklin at 3 p.m. Thursday, for the University Interscholastic League Class 3A Division II state championship. Canadian is making its seventh state championship appearance since 2007, and a fourth since 2014. They are 4-2 all-time in UIL state title games. If the Wildcats, who are 99-8 since 2014, can bring back a fifth state title in school history, they’ll pass Amarillo High for the most in Texas Panhandle history.

Post running back Ashton Jeffries scores against Panhandle during a playoff game earlier this year. [Mark Rogers/ Lubbock A-J Media]

2. Is this the year for Post

Post likes the taste of this state championship thing by making its second straight appearance at AT&T Stadium in as many years when they play Shiner for the Class 2A Division I crown at 11 a.m. Thursday. Before 2019, the Bold Gold had never been to a state championship, but things have changed since head coach Michael Pittman has taken over. In Pittman’s seven years, the Antelopes have become one of the most prominent teams on the South Plains with a combined 30-1 mark since the beginning of 2020.

Jim Ned grad and current New York Giants quarterback, Colt McCoy, led the Indians to their last state title appearance. Now led by running back, Xavier Wishert, Jim Ned hopes this is the year for the program’s first state championship. [Photo cred of Wishert: Daniel Youngblood/ Big Country Preps]

3. It’s been a longtime coming for Jim Ned

The year was 2003, the quarterback is now New York Giants QB, and University of Texas great, Colt McCoy. Yes, it’s been 17 years since the Indians competed for a state title. McCoy is still a legend around Jim Ned High School, but the times have changed.

Jim Ned will battle Hallettsville for a chance at the school’s first state title at 7 p.m. Thursday night. The Indians, who are making only a second state championship appearance in school history, have been living off adrenaline since taking down No. 1-ranked and heavily favored Brock, 19-16, in the third round. Maybe 2020 is the year for Jim Ned.

Carthage celebrates after winning the 2019 Class 4A Division I state title. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]

4. Can Carthage carry on tradition

One team that needs no introduction to AT&T Stadium is the Carthage Bulldogs.

The No. 1 Bulldogs are going for back-to-back state championships when they play the Gilmer Buckeyes at noon, Friday in the Class 4A Division II state game.

Led by head coach Scott Surratt, Carthage is

looking for its fourth title in five years, and an eye-opening eighth overall in 14 seasons — 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019. An incredible stat heading into Friday is Surratt is 63-6 in the playoffs, which means he has more state title (seven) wins than playoff losses.

Argyle’s Cole Kirkpatrick (5) and lineman Sheridan Wilson celebrate after a touchdown against Canyon last Friday in a state semifinal. [Trevor Fleeman/ Press Pass Sports]

5. Argyle is the real deal

There may be not a more complete team of size, speed, and balance than the Argyle Eagles. Argyle is back in a state championship for the first time since 2015, and are the favorites when they play Lindale in the Class 4A Division title game at 7 p.m. Friday, to close the small school championships.

Under head coach Todd Rodgers (209-37 in 18 years) the Eagles have won 12 straight district titles, and 57 straight regular season games dating back to 2015. This will be the sixth state final appearance Argyle, which won its only title in 2013.

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