by Adam Rosenfield
Admit it. You’ve seen this quote plastered all over Facebook from adoring fans of Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights. It’s also the motto of just about every high school in Texas, where football isn’t just a sport – it’s a religion. From Pop Warner all the way to the Dallas Cowboys, the eyes of Texans are on the gridiron almost every day in the fall. So what are some of the most significant numbers and moments in the history of the sport in the Lone Star State? Keep reading to find out!
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Let’s start with a big number, shall we? Two hundred-thirty four is the number of six-man football teams in the State of Texas. For comparison’s sake, the State of Florida has the next largest amount of teams, with 32. A good number of Texans live in small rural towns that cannot support an eleven-man football team, and substitute six-man, which is played on an 80-yard long by 40-yard wide field instead of the 100 yard by 53 ½ yard wide field in eleven-man football, and allows all six players to be eligible receivers. Two six-man football players have made it into the NFL; legendary Houston Oilers/Cougars coach Jack Pardee and current Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna.
Texas high school football has had its share of dominant teams, but two teams have stood out above all the rest. Both the Celina High School Bobcats, a high school about 40 minutes north of Downtown Dallas, and Southlake Carroll High School Dragons, a school known for producing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, have won eight titles apiece. The Dragons were one of two school to ever “three-peat” in 5A, the largest Texas high school classification at the time.
The 2011-2015 Texas high school recruiting classes had 1,337 three, four, and 5-star recruits – 42 more than Florida. Many of these recruits stay in-state, playing for one of twelve Division 1 football programs, also the largest number of any state in the nation.
They build it bigger in Texas, sometimes with negative results. $60 million was spent on what was supposed to be a shiny new stadium for two-time state champion Allen High School in the Dallas metropolitan area. It turned into nothing, as the stadium, which was expected to hold over 18,000 spectators, was shut down due to foundation problems. Allen also boasts a marching band of over 500 people!
Another large number, this one describes the amount of players born in the state of Texas who have played in the NFL, once again leading the nation. From LaDanian Tomlinson to Coach Tom Landry, there has been no shortage of all-time greats coming from the Lone Star State.
The attendance at the Texas A&M Spring Football game? Number of Texans who play NCAA 2K15? Nope, this was the attendance of the 2014 6A Texas High School football championship, won by Allen High School. To put it in perspective, if it were compared against 2014-2015 college bowl games, the state championship would rank just outside the Top 10 in terms of attendance. In total, over 150,000 fans attended Texas high school football championship games that December weekend at AT&T Stadium.
Another NFL number – 6 of the 2014 Week 1 starting quarterbacks in the NFL played high school football in Texas. Those quarterbacks included Matthew Stafford (Highland Park), Andy Dalton (Katy), Drew Brees (Austin Westlake), Nick Foles (Austin Westlake), Andrew Luck (Houston Stratford) and Ryan Tannehill (Big Spring), though Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III, Kevin Kolb and Christian Ponder have all started games in 2013 and 2014 for NFL teams as well.
Though high school football in the state of Texas has always been on the top of the national football media’s mind, there has only been one game that’s received true national recognition, a 1994 playoff game between Plano East and Tyler John Tyler played in the old Texas Stadium. The game won an ESPY that year, and it wouldn’t do it justice to describe it, so we’ll just play the video for you, below.
Editor’s Note: High School Football America is partnered with Krossover Intelligence. This article was originally published by Krossover. Check out their blog or follow them on Twitter for more great high school football content.