Here’s something to keep in mind as you come to Texas.

The salient feature in Texas geography/demography is the Triangle. Take the three largest metro areas in the state — Houston, Dallas-Ft Worth, San Antonio — and connect them with straight lines. The area within that space contains 60% of the state’s population, 80% of its wealth, and almost all of its growth.

Consider the following: 1) Texas has 254 counties ; 2) Texas is the fastest growing state, and yet, 3) about half the counties in the state lost population between 2000 and 2010. What’s happening here? Well, for all the counties slowly bleeding population there are towns in Texas just exploding with new growth. Towns you probably have not heard of — places like Boerne, Pflugerville, Katy, Allen, Round Rock, Wylie, Tomball, Sugar Land — have grown by at least a factor of ten in the last twenty years.

How does this tie into football? At the 4A and 5A level almost all of your champions come from inside the Triangle. The high growth areas attract people who self select into competitive high schools. These schools have more kids, more resources, and better coaching than you’ll find outside the Triangle. The coaches from El Paso, Corpus Christi, the Panhandle and other locales outside The Triangle may have all kinds of theories as to why they’re not competitive but, in the end, it comes down to demographics.

Here’s another feature in Texas geography not found on a map. Draw a line from Corpus Christi to Laredo. Everything south of that line is considered the Rio Grande Valley or, more often, just … The Valley. Outsiders may refer to this area as South Texas but here in Texas it’s just The Valley. Now the Valley is overwhelmingly Hispanic and unbelievably passionate about their football. During the playoffs if a Valley team makes it to the third round legions of their fans will make the 200 mile trek to San Antonio. And, though its been over 50 years since its happened, if and when a Valley team wins state the region will just go bonkers. Harlingen came pretty close last year and it will be huge if they make it farther this year.

Finally, as for me, I live here in Port Lavaca, the epicenter of Sandcrab Nation. Describing what all that entails will take its own post at a later date. So, for now, Welcome to Texas.

Mark Howell


Great post. Interesting point about the demographic shift in the state and something to talk to people about when I’m outside the “triangle”. I watched a You-Tube video of that third round game with Harlingen last year and the atmosphere looked just amazing. I knew my project wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Valley and I’m really looking forward to my week in Harlingen.
Port Lavaca also was highly recommended to me. I ‘ll be there for homecoming week and I look forward to your description as a citizen of Sandcrab Nation.

Big & Bright/ Texas AND Euro Football Roadtrip

My last few days at home for a long time. I’m heading to El Paso on Tuesday, then to San Antonio for the THSCA clinic and all star game at the Alamodome. I will be meeting with several El Paso coaches next week about the condition of football in that city. I know their teams haven’t had a lot of success statewide, so it will be interesting to get some insight into what causes the disparity between the far west and the rest of the state.

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  1. Good luck and bon voyage!

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