Winter arrived. The forecast for the 5:00 game in Southland looked bleak. But as with most weather forecasts, this one turned out to be incorrect. I arrived in Southland to the sun shining and the wind finally settling down. Don’t get me wrong, it was still cold, but a slight breeze is better than a biting 25mph cut-right-through-you wind any day!
I found Coach Zach Morris of the Aspermont Hornets mid-field. Both teams were busy warming up. Getting to optimum warm-up levels would take a while. We talked about the Hornets chances against Morton. Coach Morris had already noticed how athletic the Indians appeared during warm-up, but thought they would match up really well. Discussion turned to the race in Division II, District 10. His squad faces a Lueders-Avoca team that has an outstanding freshman player the Hornets will need to contain. A playoff spot is on the table. Coach Morris ended by telling me Aspermont will move up to 1A Division I for next year’s football season. I wished him luck as the Hornets headed to the dressing room to pad up.
Coach Shean Abston, Morton Indians coach, was elusive before the game. Fully dressed Morton spent the warm-up time prior to the game getting in all the reps they could and never left the field. I did catch him at the side door to the concession stand after the game. He was waiting on food and drinks to take to his players. Because Morton is one of the few teams who have chosen and been approved to go from 11-man to Sixman in the same season, everyone wants to ask how they are adjusting. Abston smiled at that question and said the players really liked playing sixman. There were things that they had to really adjust to… like the Quarterback not having the ability to run the ball. He said they were getting there and enjoying the process. I asked him what the players thought about all the running. He laughed and said that he knew they would be way down in numbers and would go to Sixman at some point. He started the first day of two-a-days with lots of running. His mindset was that he would train them like sixman football players. Because of that foresight, the players were in great shape and the pace of the game was not a factor.
One of the players at halftime was excited that they were playing a good Aspermont Hornet team but were competing well. As we walked to the gym to deliver the drinks and food, Coach Abston also told me he really has enjoyed the community of sixman football and how it is a brotherhood. Morton will have at least two more games at the sixman level before the season is finished. I shook his hand and welcomed him to sixman football. Pleasant guy. The Indians will continue to improve.
Let me take a moment to wax eloquent… Coach Abston hit the nail on the head when he said that sixman is a brotherhood. Coaches help out other coaches, fans greet each other cordially, and we all love the Friday night-lights on the 80-yard field. During the games, passion for our team echoes out into the night on every run, every catch, every tackle, every down, every series. Penalties are vehemently denied and shouts are often heard from parents and fans in the stands. After playing their hearts out, players pray together, extend their hands for a shake or fist bump, and coaches hug and pat opposing players on the shoulder pads and really mean it when they speak positive words. I’ve witnessed this over and over and always find myself smiling. It’s that feeling that sticks with you right where it counts. There really is nothing like sixman football, but more importantly, there are no greater people than those within the sixman community. Brotherhood. I think yes.
As always sixman peeps, Go forward and do GOOD!
Last night’s extremely windy game between Northside and Jayton was shrouded in a bit of controversy. Northside sat the Varsity starters and played only the younger players. I have no idea how the game was reported to UIL, but I had a good time watching it!
First person I saw was Coach Josh Stanaland. He’s a really great guy and easy to talk to. Of course, I’ve known him since he was born. His mother and I used to play softball together in an adult league in Sweetwater. Wow… that was a LONG time ago. But I digress… Coach Stanaland is excited about the Jaybird’s hunt for a playoff berth. They are healthy and ready to take it to the next level. Benjamin and Guthrie will test them in the coming weeks.
I caught up with Coach Jeremy Reeder on the field a little later. Very pleasant and personable! We talked about how he was sitting his varsity to keep them healthy for the upcoming Chillicothe district battle to determine playoff spots. The Indians recently rebounded from a string of injuries and didn’t want to chance another string. Coach Reeder moved to Northside from Oklahoma earlier this year. Welcome to Texas and Sixman football, Coach!
Although it was difficult to stand and take pictures because of the gusty winds, it was a great Thursday for football. Who am I kidding? Any day is a great day for Sixman football! Because I try really hard to remain unbiased and cover as many 1A towns as I possibly can, my hometown of Jayton doesn’t get all the love. It is very nice to get to a Jayton game every once in a while. Who can fault me for that? It’s where I grew up… it’s what I know! One thing I’ve found is that all 1A towns and teams have unique traditions. I absolutely love witnessing the variety in each town. No two towns are the same. It’s pretty cool!
Observations from Jayton:
Be on the lookout! I’ll be coming to a 1A town near you! We have football now and basketball is ramping up. And never fear! If you are in a 1A town far away just know that I don’t mind driving.
Until I see you, 1A Fans… Go Forward and do GOOD!
Yep. Hits so loud you could hear them clear across the field and into the stands. Clearly.
Santa Anna was the backdrop for Garden City and Milford 2017. A very disciplined, focused Garden City team versus a very fast, aggressive Milford team. What a Battle!
Many Sixman coaches were at the game. It was great to see Coach Jones from Balmorhea and Coach McVey from Santa Anna once again. Michael and Dency McClure from Sixmania were in attendance to broadcast and take pictures. I really enjoy both of their company. Great people! Not only was it going to be a great game but so many of us know each other, have great conversations, and laugh freely. Isn’t that they way it is in every Sixman town on Friday night? Good people come together to support the team and watch the game we love so much, talk and laugh with our friends, and eat concession stand food.
Shoutout to the Santa Anna concession stand! Drinks with ice in a cup. Seriously, that’s the way to go! I also had some really tasty French fries!
It was my first chance to meet Coach Jeff Jones from Garden City and Coach Ronny Crumpton from Milford. I spoke with Coach Jones before the game. It was really good to finally meet him. He was definitely in game mode but gave me a big smile and told me he was glad we were there.
I didn’t catch up with Coach Crumpton until after the game. I introduced myself and he paused when I told him my name and then smiled a little smile (I get that a lot). We talked about the game and ended our conversation as he stated, “We have some things to clean up.” He thanked me for coming. I was glad I got to meet him.
Overall it was a great night of Sixman football. It was the best game I’ve seen in a very long time. It really was a war zone out there. If they come together next year for a game, you can bet I’ll be there. Will you?
Quote of Night (heard someone talking about one of the referees):
“I really like his hair! It’s all business in the front and a party in the back!”
Observations from the evening:
Wonder where Sixman football will take me next week? Until then, all you Sixman folks Go forth and Do GOOD!
I arrived at Santa Anna’s football field before anyone had taken the field. I took the opportunity to sit at the end of the field on the pad where the high jump mats take up residence during track. It was a beautiful evening. A slight breeze was blowing and the temperature was in the high 80’s. Before long the padless Blackwell hornets jogged onto the field to begin warm ups. The Santa Anna Mountaineers would soon join them.
The cheerleaders sat up the stereo system and planted the Mountaineer flag beside the bell. I was able to get a really cool picture of the flag with the sun setting in the background. Sometimes it’s the little things that make my trip to various towns really cool.
As I was taking pictures around the field, I spied Coach Tom McVey walking across the field. He was flexing. I can only assume he wanted me to take a picture, but I wasn’t ready and totally missed the moment. Later he gave me a hug and welcomed me to Santa Anna. We had a really good conversation about a variety of subjects. I did notice that the football field grass was in excellent condition and rivaled that of the field in Sands. We also talked about how some seasons are “down” seasons and are largely character building. I could tell he really cares about his players.
Just prior to game start, I found Coach Lowry. I had been hearing he had a young but good Hornet team. Coach admitted he had mostly underclassmen on defense but his offense was made of some good seniors. He was very complimentary of his players and thought their play would take them pretty far this year. I wished him luck and went to find my spot on the sideline.
While the score was somewhat lopsided, I saw a Mountaineer team that kept fighting and never gave up. You just can’t teach that. The Hornets were pretty solid on both sides of the ball. Santa Anna was a great place to visit. Another Friday night under the lights and a long drive home, smiling and jamming to some good tunes.
Observations from my time at Santa Anna:
I took the wrong road into Ackerly, but found a cool, old gas station. The Sinclair gas station is closed but it was in great condition and as an added bonus, the green dinosaur still sat out front. Under the overhang of the gas station sat an old vehicle in really good condition. I have been to Ackerly many times, but I always turn on the road right beside the school. So glad I took the “wrong” road. And it still got me to the Sands Mustang football field.
I like to arrive early and look around; observe the pre-game activities of the home town. Although I arrived more than an hour and half before game time, the Mustangs flags were already flapping in the wind from the top of the stands and the cooker was billowing smoke.
I made my way to the field and found Coach Billy Grumbles. He was watching a few of the mustangs warm up. He welcomed me to Sands and shook my hand. We had a great conversation about the team and the upcoming game. Soon Coach Keith appeared. I thanked him for doing such a creative and fun Coach Spotlight interview. You could tell they had fun with it! He welcomed me to Sands with a big smile!
Soon after I found Coach Toby Goodwin in the middle of the field. I had not seen him since week 1 at the Gridiron Classic. He smiled real big and thanked me for coming. After discussing players and the upcoming game, conversation turned to mutual friends and general small town stuff.
This is what I love about Sixman football and the 1A community. We are all from small towns. If you graduated from a small 1A school, no matter how many years ago, there is a chance that you know many others from small towns. We grow up playing against each other and then come back to our communities or another small community. Our kids then grow up playing with and against each other. And the pattern continues. And what an awesome pattern it is. Others then move in and find the small town life has meaning and join our ranks. This makes for a wonderful community of people who genuinely care about each other. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
I really enjoyed my visit to Sands. The coaches from both teams were welcoming and reminded me why I love small town Texas and 1A schools!
Observations from Ira vs Sands: