Monthly Archives: December 2012

Cedar Hill vs. Arlington 3rd Round Playoff

 

3rd Round playoffs, La Marque and Cedar Hill 024

The Arlington Colts came out with a lot of swagger before their 3rd round matchup with Cedar Hill yesterday in Mansfield. Several Colts broke pregame etiquette, crossing midfield and taunting Longhorn players. I’m not sure it would be accurate to say the move backfired, because I’m not sure the attempt to get Cedar Hill off their game and into their heads fazed the ‘Horns at all.  The Longhorns may have played their best game of the season, dominating on both sides of the ball to win 49-14.

The big play of the game occurred early. Late in the first quarter, with the score tied at 7, Safety Jonathan Buffin intercepted a Colt pass and took it back 64 yards for a Longhorn score. From there on out it was all Cedar Hill, scoring the next 35 points before Arlington finally scored a meaningless touchdown in the final minutes against Cedar Hill backups. It’s encouraging that Cedar Hill seems to be playing better every week. As I’ve heard a few times this week, “There are no more turkeys after turkey day”, and the Longhorns will need to keep playing well next week against an undefeated Hewitt Midway in the regional championship next Saturday. That said, if they play as well as they did against Arlington, the Longhorns will be very hard to beat.

In doing this, I’ve become very invested in the teams I’ve spend time with. I’ve grown to know and respect the coaches, kids and other people I’ve met at each of my eleven schools. So, for me, the bad part of yesterday had nothing to do with Cedar Hill but with what was occurring up the road between Midway and Abilene High. An Eagle win would have set up a meeting between Cedar Hill and Abilene, two teams I know very well and rematch of an epic game between these two schools during the 2009 playoffs. It looked great until the end when Midway came from behind in an improbable comeback in the final seconds. Heartbreaking lose for the Eagles, but it takes nothing away from their program. I met great coaches and people in the city of Abilene, I’m just sorry that I won’t a chance to see them play again this season.

Of my original 11 programs, 4 will be playing next weekend, as well as Stamford and Cedar Hill, Carthage advanced to the 3A-DI semifinal and Throckmorton to the 6-man semi. This coming Friday, I will be in Beaumont to see Carthage play El Campo for a spot in the state championship. Saturday, I’ll return to the Metroplex to see Cedar Hill play against Hewitt Midway at Midlothian.

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La Marque vs. Navasota 3rd Round

3rd Round playoffs, La Marque and Cedar Hill 014

The La Marque Cougars learned some tough lessons Friday night in Houston. Unfortunately, lessons learned during the playoffs are most often season ending. After a year where the Cougars were usually talented enough to overcome their mistakes, Cougar physical, mental and emotional errors were just too much to overcome against top ranked Navasota. The Cougars season ended with a 31-20 loss.

The physical: Two bad snaps by La Marque’s punt team led to two Rattler touchdowns and a fumble on the five stopped the Cougars final comeback bid in the 4th quarter.

The mental: Eleven penalties stalled La Marque’s offense repeatedly. The turning point of the game was early in the 2nd quarter. With the Cougars trailing 7-6, 1st and goal from the 3, La Marque failed to score on four attempts. On third down, from the one yard line, a La Marque lineman jumped early, moving the ball to the six. The inability to score on this drive set really set off a momentum shift that the Cougars couldn’t overcome.

The emotional: La Marque had never been in this situation at halftime during this season, trailing by 11 there was plenty of time for them to get things together. But the focus was not where is should have been. Expectations can be a double edged sword. La Marque kids are taught their whole lives that anything short of State is a failure. When things started going against them, several players didn’t have the mental toughness to keep their composure. The situation wasn’t helped by the La Marque stands where many turned on the team and coaches very quickly, adding fuel to the fire. The correct football mentality is a fine line between intensity and control. It only takes a few players crossing that line for a situation to spiral out of control. La Marque’s coaches did an outstanding job at the half trying to halt the panic and drama that had infected their team. It might have worked if La Marque had gotten a momentum changing play after the break, but they didn’t and the poor behavior couldn’t be stopped.

On the message boards I’ve seen a lot of second guessing from La Marque supporters about the coaching. If any of you are reading this, a few things to consider. The game plan the La Marque coaches implemented would have worked, against an outstanding team, if they had been able to execute on the punt team and/or score from the two. The Cougars did not lose because they didn’t pass enough or ran the wrong defense, they lost because they didn’t execute. The game plan was sound and so are the offensive and defensive philosophies. The bottom line was that the Cougars did not play well, if they had, they would have beat Navasota, and beat them with the plays and defenses they ran.

Second; It’s easy to blame coaches for the lack of discipline on the field, I’m sure nobody was more disappointed than Coach Jackson and his staff with the way some of the kids responded to adversity. La Marque is a very tough place to coach, opinions being yelled from the stands, incredibly high expectations and second guessing from all sides have an impact on the coaches’ ability to reach the kids. I hope people in La Marque look at those things before putting the entire fault on the coaches.

It’s sad to see each season end, especially when expectations are so high. Leaving Houston after this game was tough, knowing I won’t get a chance to see these people again. Hopefully the lessons this game should have taught will be learned and the Cougars will be back and improved in 2013.

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