Posts Tagged With: La Marque

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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Bi-District: La Marque vs. Furr



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.

Furr crowd

La Marque crowd

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.

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La Marque vs. G-Ball Highlights

Nice highlight package from Mike Lockwood and

Thanks, Mike and good luck to all of you against Texas City, should be a good game.

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La Marque vs. G-Ball

Wrapping up a very interesting week with my first ever Texas high school football game tonight. The 35-12 victory made very obvious both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Cougars at this time. The Strengths:

-After two scrimmages where the La Marque’s offense couldn’t put up any big plays, they opened the action with a 50 plus yard screen pass TD on the second play of the game. They followed with several other explosive plays.

-Quarterback, Demun Mercer was spectacular with both his feet and through the air, running the ball with great speed, moves and power and throwing three very nice touchdown passes.

-The young offensive line did a very good job controlling the line of scrimmage and moving Ball’s defensive front off the ball. They were challenged this week to show they could be physical and I think they did a very good job dominating the front.

-A dominating job was done by the defensive unit, who  deserved a shutout. Ball’s offense could do nothing and, I’m guessing,had more negative yardage plays than positive tonight. There were many highlight reel defensive plays including an interception return for a touchdown and some giant hits.


-Fumbles; The Cougars put the ball on the ground 8 times,, directly causing both Ball scores and ending several potential scoring drive with fumbles deep in Ball territory. Without the turnovers La Marque gets a shutout and scores in the 50’s. They will not win games against quality teams if they don’t fix this.

-The Cougars looked a little shaky on special teams. La Marque returners looked tentative to get downhill and run north-south instead bouncing to the sidelines too often.

Attached is the link the the Galveston news article on the game.

Overall Impression-

I had a great time at La Marque. I was very impressed by the coaches. This is a very good staff with a lot of experience and knowledge between them who treat their players with a great combination of respect and toughness.  The kids have the ability to be completely loose, then flip a switch and become coachable and go about their business the right way. The community was very welcoming and the pride so many have in this program is amazing. The stands tonight were full of families that have no direct connection to the school, decked out in their blue and gold and supporting this school and program. La Marque has its problems and it is a place that is struggling in many ways, but the football program is a positive thing for the players, the student-trainers, the band and so many others. It is also a great source of civic pride for a community that needs something to believe in.

I want to thank the coaches, Mr. Haley, Mr. Lockwood and everyone else who were so helpful this week. I think the La Marque chapter of my book will be very interesting and I hope there is more to be written about it in December. CTS.

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Preseason Predictions for La Marque from Houston and Galveston

La Marque ranked as the top 3A in the Houston area by the Houston Chronicle…gh-3810170.php

Today’s story in the Galveston Daily News.

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La Marque and Port Lavaca Calhoun Scrimmages

I had the opportunity to see scrimmages yesterday of two of the first three teams I’m following; La Marque and Port Lavaca Calhoun. I am always glad to see, as different as Texas HS football is from the football in Nevada, some things are the same. Scrimmages are sloppy.

Too many kids are in their first varsity action. Practice is supposed to prepare you for what you’re going to see in the game, but a coach can’t simulate the speed and intensity of lining up against a stranger wearing a different uniform. The only way to get varsity experience is to get varsity experience and often that means making sloppy mistakes. That said, I think the coaches at both La Marque and Calhoun were generally pleased with what they saw.


Calhoun- The Sandcrabs scrimmaged against two Houston area schools in Tully Stadium in Houston. After doing poorly in their first offensive and defensive series’, they quickly got better, dominating the play more and more as the night wore on. One offense, the quarterback showed deceptive speed and impressive physicality on his option runs, one of the slotbacks also showed great speed. The two returning defensive tackles started slow, but seemed to get better the longer they played. (I’m sorry, I don’t know names yet and PLC didn’t even wear numbers, I’ll report better when I’m there in week three)



La Marque- La Marque went up I-35 to scrimmage against former district opponent Friendwood. Like PLC, the Cougars came out a little slow, dropping too many balls, missing some blocks and getting off the ball a little slower than they would like. The La Marque offense seemed to catch their rhythm better as in their second go around and during the game quarter simulation. The La Marque defense basically overwhelmed Friendwood, pitching a shutout, picking off numerous passes and sacking the quarterback many times. The coaches were happy overall, especially with the defensive play, but aware they need to fix some things.  As good as the defense looked, I’m guessing they would have preferred a little more run game than they saw at Friendwood. Las Marque will play their first three games against much more run focused teams than Friendwood who ran mostly spread sets with four or five split receivers.

This morning I went to the scout meetings preparing for the G-Ball game Thursday night. I’ll write more later in the week.

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Back to the roadtrip, first stop; La Marque

After a nice mini-vacation following the THSCA, with my wife in San Antonio, I’m back on the road getting my first look at the teams I’ll be following during the season. I met with Coach Jackson yesterday and spent the morning watching La Marque practice. I was very impressed with the La Marque’s offensive philosophy. I get the feeling that at La Marque,  X’s and O’s are secondary to three overriding goals of their offense.

1)      Use formation, speed and athleticism to spread the field from sideline to sideline.

2)      Use many false keys to keep the defense from effectively using the guards to find the ball.

3)      Most Important: Use tempo to control the clock and wear out the defense.


I’m sure many people attribute the success La Marque has had to the great athletes at the school, and they are not wrong about the athleticism at such a small school; but it would be foolish to overlook the strong coaching and organization. Their system makes athletic mismatches even more devastating.

The players and the coaching staff all seem to understand this philosophy. This morning the offense got a lot of repetitions and looked very polished for the first week in August. I’m glad I don’t have to come up with a defensive game plan to try to stop this system.


I’m very much looking forward to seeing this team with pads on, the week of the Galveston Ball game, or the “Clash of the Causeway.” With 7 returning defensive starters and an explosive offense, La Marque should be tough to beat.

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