Tascosa head football coach Ken Plunk and the Rebels advanced to the Class 6A Division II state semifinals last season for the first time in school history. [John Moore/ For Press Pass Sports]
Was last year a fluke?
Can they do it again?
These are the common questions swirling around the Tascosa Rebels after they took the state by storm, making a run to the Class 6A Division II state semifinals last season.
Head coach Ken Plunk, who enters his 11th season this fall, is well aware of those questions, but wants his program to be known as more than a one-hit wonder.
“We’ve built a culture,” said Plunk, who is 61-54 at Tascosa. “We appreciate what happened last year, and it was historic. Our thing is, we want to make it where it’s the start of something special. Our hope is we just want to put ourselves at the level to compete with the top-tier teams.”
Class 6A and 5A teams from the Texas Panhandle have the reputation of struggling to compete with the big boys off I-35.
Tascosa is changing that perception.
Under Plunk and his staff, the Rebels haven’t had a losing season since 2014, and have won at least nine games in three of those years (2014, 2015, 2018).
In 2015, Tascosa first proved they could hang when they caught fire late in the year. The Rebels advanced to the regional round giving Denton Ryan all it could handle before a 41-34 loss.
“We came in and wanted to put in an offensive system, a defensive system and special teams system built around unselfish players,” Plunk said. “We’ve been fortunate that we have really good players, but one thing we’re going to do is we’re not going to be held hostage by one player.”
Tascosa players celebrate in the snow after beating Haltom 48-27 in a state quarterfinal at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. [John Moore/ For Press Pass Sports]
Player by committee is Tascosa’s driving force. Plunk has never been scared of using six backs out of his powerful flexbone offense. Even with a rare talent like running back King Doerue, who is now getting carries as a true freshman at Purdue, Plunk still shared the wealth among his team.
“We’ve found our system is more lasting than waiting on an all-star group,” Plunk said. “It’s not hurting from a recruiting standpoint. Since we’ve been in this system we’ve sent a player to a Division I college every year. I think colleges can appreciate the fact a King Doerue can do everything. He can run, block, he can catch passes, basically do anything asked of him.”
Tascosa quarterback Joseph Plunk ran for a team-high 1,766 yards last season. [John Moore/ For Press Pass Sports]
Quarterback Joseph Plunk, the youngest of Plunk’s three sons, has been watching his dad’s program since he was 8-years old. Seeing how this offense works for a decade, it’s hard to find a QB that runs it better than Joseph.
With that said, the senior says being where he is isn’t possible without the success of those before him.
”I’ve seen a ton of great Tascosa players come through this program, said Joseph, who rushed for 1,706 yards last year. My brothers Alex and Jacob also played here. “They’ve been great influences. Former quarterback Jacob Biggers was big influence on me by the way he played. I play a lot like him.”
The Rebels open the season against Abilene High at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Shotwell Stadium.