A lot of these weekly posts I have looked forward to writing. This week’s edition is not one of those. As they say, “all good things must come to end” and our undefeated season and deep playoff football run of 1993 was no different.
I’ll be honest in 1992 we should have beaten Goldthwaite in what ultimately ended in a 0-0 tie. Goldthwaite advanced to the State Championship on penetrations. It was a broken system of declaring a winner in a tie game and everyone knew it back then. Similar to college football prior to year ending playoff system. I certainly appreciate college football’s overtime system though. The 0-0 semifinal “loss” in 1992 was devastating because it just felt like the game was not decided on the field of play like it should have been. We dominated that game early on and I believe the majority felt like we had the better team overall. Now obviously the old tie breaker system was broken because now the rules have been changed to incorporate necessary overtimes.
My senior season was different though. The Goldthwaite team we faced in the rematch was a better team than ours and they proved it on the field and ultimately by winning the State Championship the next week. We got on the scoreboard first, but Goldthwaite absolutely dominated the game after our first series. A few things come to mind about that game. First is how hurt and injured we were defensively. I can remember us being so thin at the Linebacker positions that the Coaches were considering moving me and/or others to play some Linebacker when we had never played the position. The other thing I remember is how tough the Goldthwaite kids were. They had a fullback, Andy Beard who ended up playing at Rice University I believe, that was a nearly unstoppable man child in that game. I can remember him easily moving the pile another 5+ yards after contact. I can also remember making a tackle with Bob Erwin and hearing one of their kids’ legs “pop” very loudly and the kid screaming in pain. He was carried off the field only too return like two plays later with no ill effects. It was like they just popped a broken leg back in place and said, “get back in there kid?!” It was next level toughness. And they gave us a whooping as the game was basically decided by halftime.
So, 25 years ago this week we finished my senior season as State Semifinalist at 14-1. Playing 15 games of smash mouth football in the 1990’s was a great experience. It was a different era in which some things I think were better. Like only 2 teams from each district made the playoffs and there was only 1 State Champion from each classification. Seems a little watered down now days with teams making the playoffs with .500 or below season records. However, I know that there have been a lot of improvements made in game regarding safety. Obviously, I prefer the overtime rules of today. I am still surprised that someone hasn’t invented a safer and more affordable football helmet. It probably exists it just hasn’t caught on mainstream yet, but with all the focus on concussions over the last decade I’m still amazed that the helmets haven’t changed more. We survived on helmets that feel like bricks though so what do I know.
When my teams suffer a season ending “L” there are two songs that always come to mind. REMs “Everybody Hurts” and Johnny Cash’s remake of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt.” Johnny Cash’s version didn’t come out until 2002 though so back then my go to song of depression was “Everybody Hurts.” My motto is listen to one of these songs, then flush it, and off to the next adventure. It hurt failing short of our goal of a State Championship, but everybody hurt’s sometime…