The La Marque Cougars took their first step towards a sixth championship, dominating Houston’s Furr High School 54-0 at Barnett Stadium. This sets up a probable rematch between La Marque and the one team to defeat the Cougars this season, Cold Spring-Oakhurst next Friday in Reliant Stadium. For La Marque to win their 6th championship, they likely will have to fight through three great teams in consecutive weeks and get out of a very tough Region III. After Coldspring, the Cougars would likely face the top ranked team in the state, Navasota, then possibly another power in West Orange-Stark in the region final. With the expectation of the very tough road to come, a blowout like they got tonight might have been exactly what the Cougars needed. La Marque was able to rest kids, let some bumps and bruises heal and give some of their young kids a lot of playing time.
What really stood out tonight for me was the contrast between a strong program and one that suffers from the lack of much of what makes Texas football so special. The big multi-school ISD’s of Dallas, Austin and Houston, don’t have the same support most programs in this state enjoy and tonight was a vivid example of what that difference means on the field.
During my trip I’ve tried to learn what quality programs have in common. The most important similarity I’ve seen in all 11 programs I’ve followed is they all have great support. When a community really cares about the quality of the program, school board members are elected with the same values and the board hires a superintendent who supports the football program from above. This dynamic is one of the main factors in what makes the Texas model successful. In places like the Houston ISD however, the model has broken down. The public doesn’t care and so the administration doesn’t care and athletics become a low priority.
Despite, having basically a home game, Furr had just 62 fans in the stands at kickoff. (I counted), while La Marque brought maybe 2000, (too many to count). La Marque brought up a lot of JV and freshmen and dressed around 80; Furr dressed 27.
Texans, if you want to know what football is like in the rest of the country, and where your football is headed if you ever lose such things as athletic period and the requirement that all your coaches also be teachers, just look to schools like Furr from big city ISD’s. While good enough to go 6-3 in their district against similar schools, they were overwhelmed in every way by a school that makes football a priority.
It was great to see the kids and coaches at La Marque again, the Cougars were inexperienced and sloppy when I last saw them in week zero and looked much more polished during practice yesterday and during the game tonight. The La Marque coaches do a great job and run a very disciplined program. They are a pleasure to watch.