I saw my first six-man football game, or at least three quarters of one. One of the many unique things about this game is the mercy rule. When one team goes up by 45 points the game ends. With so much open field and so few players to cover it, the six-man game is very much about individual matchups. The superior team with 6 quality players will most often overwhelm a team with weak spots, so very lopsided scores are the rule and many games don’t go the distance.
Friday night at Throckmorton, the Bryson Cowboys came with a plan to control the clock and grind the ball down the field. This worked early with two long drives limiting the explosive Throckmorton offense to three plays and the Cowboys took a 16-14 lead. But the plan had two flaws;
1) Bryson had several good linemen types who would have been at home playing guard in the 11-man game, but they didn’t have the athleticism to change gears once the Greyhounds shut the power run game down
2) Bryson could do nothing to slow down the Greyhound offense.
Throckmorton scored 9 touchdowns on the first 15 plays in the 1st half. Through the air and on the ground they dominated every facet of the game. The downfield blocking was scary. In Texas, unlike the rest of the country, blocking low in open field is legal. This technique has a strong impact on game-play across the state, but none of the 11-man teams I’ve seen use it as effectively as Throckmorton. Greyhound players threw themselves into the legs of Bryson defenders, often rolling up two or three Cowboys on a single play. The quickness and precision of the T’Rock offense was amazing to see and showed why the Greyhounds are an elite team.
Bryson managed to score once in the second half delaying the inevitable, but two quick Throckmorton scores ended the game, 74-29, early in the 4th quarter.
From my limited perspective, there are two factors leading to the success at Throckmorton. While this is a very different animal than the 11-man game, what makes a team do well is really the same.
Throckmorton has players who are very well suited to this game. The optimum 6-man player is an outside linebacker/tight end type, big enough to deliver a shot, but agile, quick and with great endurance. The ten varsity Greyhounds fit this mold very well. Receiver/DE Gary Farquhar is being recruited by Texas Tech and had an outstanding game, but the other players all seemed to outmatch their counterparts as well.
The second factor is the program itself. A quality coaching staff with a comprehensive and deliberate philosophy, kids who buy into this philosophy and a community that expects success and supports the program sums up Throckmorton and every other stop I’ve made. True, the game is very different, but football is still football and the bottom line needs are the same.
Coach Reed and his staff run a great program, from the X’s and O’s to the value lessons they teach through football, there is a purpose to all they do. The kids have clearly bought in. They respect the coaches’ knowledge and play the game the way they’ve been taught. And finally, the town of Throckmorton comes out and supports this team. As I’ve heard several places I’ve been, “If you’re a thief, Friday night would be a good time to rob the place, everyone’s at the game.” Throckmorton has under 1000 residents and the home stands were full. There couldn’t have been many Throckmortonians anywhere else Friday.
It was a different week, but a very interesting one. I got to see a bull auction (a Red Angus sold for $70,000), take part on a gameday raffle for a shotgun (guess I didn’t win, still waiting for a call) and see a version of football you don’t see many places. I want to thank the coaches the kids on the team and everyone else I talked to for being so open and welcoming. I enjoyed my week there and look forward to following the Greyhounds the rest of the way.