Goodbye 2019, thanks for another great football season
Wildorado students Chloé Aduddell, left, Trey Mathews, Liam Houghland and Caleb Madden, honor fallen teammate Quinten Pond. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
Another Texas High School Football season has come and gone. This one was a little more special as we close the second decade of the 21st century and look forward to a brand new chapter in 2020.
This was my 18th year covering high school football in some capacity, and one I won’t soon forget.
When I look back on this season from the first day of fall workouts to our final Texas Panhandle team, McLean, battling for a state championship on Wednesday at AT&T Stadium, I can’t help but think what a tremendous year it was.
I’ll always remember how emotional it was to see a team and community come together like Wildorado. The team dedicated its season to fallen teammate Quinten Pond, who lost his life in an ATV incident in early September.
A tip of the cap to coach Ty James and his assistant Connor Copley. Both were tremendous for their players and school when needed.
The Demons celebrate after holding off Wichita Falls Hirschi for the program’s first playoff win for the first time in 22 years. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]
The Dumas Demons captivated a community through a historic 10-0 regular season. Dumas won its first playoff game in 22 years, and ended a fantastic season at 13-1 with an appearance in the Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal.
Amarillo High reeled off eight straight wins to claim the outright District 3-5A Division I crown and its first since 2016.
Wheeler running back Hesston Marshall galloped for 475 yards against Archer City during a 54-47 bidistrict. Who could ever forget that?
I love the Division I door stayed wide open for a second straight year for an area that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Gruver’s Jalin Conyers signed to Oklahoma, as well as Tascosa’s L.B. Moore and Wellington’s John Michael Holcomb inking with Texas Tech.
Bushland quarterback Jared Thomas, left, shared a special season with his father and Bushland head coach, Jimmy, in 2019. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
How about 2019 being the “year of the coaches son”.
There hasn’t been a season where the Texas Panhandle had so many head coaches kids make an impact for their team.
Tascosa quarterback Joseph Plunk led the Rebels to seven playoff wins at the Class 6A level for his father, Ken, over the past two years.
Bushland’s Jared Thomas and his father, Jimmy, went 12-0 before falling to Brock in the Class 3A Division I regional semifinals.
What about the Koetting twins, Bill and Jack from Canadian. Both have been leaders for their father, Chris, getting to play in a Class 3A Division II state title game and two semifinals with their dad in three years on varsity.
The same can be said for Gruver’s Matthew Felderhoff. He played in a state title game for his father, Terry, in 2018, and was a key cog to another successful year for the Greyhounds this year.
All five were major contributors, but most importantly, all are high character young men.
McLean’s Ben Crockett ended 2019 with 2,965 rushing yards and 63 touchdowns. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]
Then, there’s a personal favorite of mine.
I’ve talked about him all year.
McLean do-it-all standout Ben Crockett.
Crockett ends his high school career in the conversation as the greatest Class 1A player in history.
There’s a stigma that Six-man players can’t play at the 11-man level. Stuff that comment in a sack when talking about Crockett. His will to win, his 6-foot-1, 215 pound bruising, punishing style could play at the state’s top classification.
He ran for over 8,000 career yards. Crockett had 5,725 yards the past two seasons. But there’s no way he’d know those stats if you asked him.
Crockett would know his team had 39 wins, a state championship and played for two over the last three years. That’s all that matters to the humble Crockett, and a reason his selflessness makes him one of the all-time best.
In the end, hats all of our coaches, and players in 2019. Thank you for an unforgettable season. Here’s to hoping season can be just as exciting.