The Pearland Oilers kick off for the first time in the 2014 Texas high school football season during their game against the Conroe Woodlands College Park Cavaliers played on August 29, 2014 at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas. Pearland would go on to win the contest 25-14.
Pearland cheerleaders practice prior to the Oilers' opening game of the 2014 Texas high school football season against Conroe Woodlands College Park played on August 29, 2014 at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas. The Oilers would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 25-14.
Conroe Woodlands College Park players huddle before being introduced to the crowd prior to their game against Pearland played on August 29, 2014 at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas. The College Park Cavaliers would lose to the Oilers 25-14.
Pearland defensive back Matt La Chiusa and his teammates stand during the playing of the National Anthem before the Oilers' opening game of the 2014 Texas high school football season against the Conroe Woodlands College Park Cavaliers played on August 29, 2014 at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas. Pearland would go on to win the contest 25-14.
Mason Punchers' wide receiver and backup quarterback Seth Hudson (21) warms up prior to Mason's Week 2 game against De Leon on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium, better known as "The Puncherdome," in Mason, Texas. The Punchers dominated the Bearcats and won the contest 55-7.
Mason Punchers' cheerleaders line up in front of the home crowd stands prior to Mason's Week 2 game against De Leon on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas. Better known as "The Puncher Dome," Schulze Stadium was built in 1938 and was originally used as a horse racing venue.
Visiting De Leon fans wait for the second half of the Bearcats' Week 2 game against the Mason Punchers on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas. The Puncher Dome received a slight facelift in 2008, when its stadium lights were upgraded and visitor's side refinished.
Mason Punchers' Haden Hudson (28) breaks free for a big gain during fourth quarter action of Mason's Week 2 game against De Leon on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas. On a typical Friday night, The Puncher Dome holds around 2000 people, many of whom line up the fences next to the covered grandstand in order to watch the Punchers.
Mason High School twirler Faith Ingracia performs along with the rest of the Puncher Band during halftime of Mason's Week 2 game against De Leon played on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas.
Seth Hudson (21) and fellow Punchers salute the American flag as the National Anthem plays prior to Mason's Week 2 game against De Leon on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas. Located in a town of just over 2000 people, Mason High is classified as a 2A school by the UIL due to its enrollment of less than 200 students.
The De Leon Bearcats are forced to punt as the sun sets on The Puncher Dome during their Week 2 visit to Mason on September 5, 2014 at R. Clinton Schulze Stadium in Mason, Texas. With two dominating wins in a row, the Punchers are expecting a repeat of their 2011 campaign, when they won the program's first ever state championship.
Senior captain Grant Key of the Sabine Cardinals leads his team out of the tunnel prior to their Week 3 game against the West Rusk Raiders on September 12, 2014 at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium in New London, Texas. Key and the Cardinals dominated the Raiders from the first snap and handily won the game 40 - 14.
Sabine Cardinals senior quarterback Tanner Sharp scores a rushing touchdown from 11 yards out to put the Cardinals up 6 - 0 over the West Rusk Raiders during their Week 3 matchup played on September 12, 2014 at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium in New London, Texas. Completely rebuilt in 2012 after being condemned thanks to corroded beams in its stands, Bruce Bradshaw Stadium boasts of having the first lights for night games in Texas, giving rise to the its nickname: "The Original Friday Night Lights."
West Rusk Raiders junior quarterback Dee Starling warms up prior to their Week 3 game against the Sabine Cardinals played on September 12, 2014 at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium in New London, Texas. The 2012 renovation was not the first time Bruce Bradshaw Stadium had to be built from the ground up; it was destroyed by the New London School Explosion of 1937, where an accumulation of natural gas under the high school, then called London School of London, Texas, was accidentally ignited and caused an explosion that left around 295 dead.
Senior wide receiver for the Sabine Cardinals Cody Sauce catches a long touchdown pass during the Cardinals' Week 3 matchup played on September 12, 2014 at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium in New London, Texas. Originally added in 1934, the stadium's lights were a product of the booming East Texas oil industry during the 1930's, which helped rebuild the London School after the disastrous explosion as well as keep the football program relevant until the coming of World War II, when the industry declined and large numbers of families abandoned East Texas.
A Raider helmet lies on the turf after being discarded by a frustrated owner following the Raiders' 14 - 40 loss to the Sabine Cardinals on September 12, 2014 at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium in New London, Texas. After almost 100 years of the New London school explosion, the Raiders and West Rusk High School still find ways to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on March 18, 1937. On the new turf at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium, the 37-yard line tickers were painted gold at the request of the Raiders coaching staff, honoring both the year of the tragedy and the London School's original team color.
El Paso High School junior quarterback and defensive back Angel Lepe (12) and senior kicker Bailey Dickerson (14) stand alongside their teammates during the playing of the United States National Anthem prior to the Tigers week 4 high school football game against the Jefferson Silva High School Silver Foxes played on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. El Paso won the contest 18 - 7.
Jefferson High junior quarterback Jan Amato lines up his team during third quarter action of the Silver Foxes week 4 high school football game against El Paso High played on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. Located at the southern-most foot of the Franklin Mountains, R. R. Jones Stadium overlooks central El Paso as well as the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Jefferson Silva High School's drill team (top) is visited by the home team's dance team during fourth quarter action of the Jefferson vs El Paso high school football game played on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. A sportsmanship and hospitality gesture, spirit squads for the home team visit their counterparts in the visitor stands, with the senior captains for both teams introducing their members and then taking photos together.
El Paso High School band members celebrate their team's 18 - 7 win over Jefferson Silva High School during their week 4 game played on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. Built along with El Paso High in 1916, R. Randolph Jones Stadium is the third-oldest active high school football stadium in the state, and one of the first concrete stadiums to be built in the country.
El Paso High senior linebacker Rodolfo Payan (42) sacks Jefferson Silva High School junior quarterback Jan Amato during fourth quarter action of the week 4 game played between the schools on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. R. R. Jones Stadium is overlooked by the Classical Revival architecture of El Paso High School, highlighted by the six towering pillars making up its Corinthian porch at the main entrance to the school.
The El Paso High School Tiger mascot fist bumps Jefferson Silva High School cheerleaders during fourth quarter action of the Tigers and Silver Foxes football game played on September 19, 2014 at R. R. Jones Stadium in El Paso, Texas. El Paso High School is now undergoing preparations for the centennial celebration to be held during the 2015-2016 school year.The Tigers' hope is that its football team can continue its recent improvement under coach Robert Morales, who helped the Tigers break a streak of 10 consecutive losing seasons, and add another reason to celebrate next year.
A Katy High School fan drives a Katy-themed convertible past Jack F. Rhodes Memorial Stadium prior to the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs on September 26, 2014 in Katy, Texas. The Tigers would go on to play an almost flawless game and beat the Mustangs 50 - 7. Probably the most recognizable high school football team in the state, the Katy Tigers are used to blowout victories and state championship seasons, with 12 appearances and six wins in the final game during the last 20 years.
Katy High School Band members warm up prior to the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas. "That Roarin' Band From Tigerland" is best known for appearing in Wes Anderson's 1998 movie "Rushmore" alongside Bill Murray.
Katy High School's homecoming court is presented during halftime of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas. While homecoming is practiced all throughout the United States, Texas high schools are unique in their use of large homecoming mums and garters for girls and boys, respectively. While tradition originally called for a boy to present his homecoming dance date with a single chrysanthemum, hence the name mums, the gesture has grown larger and more elaborate as the decades go by. The girl in turn will give her date a matching, but smaller, garter to be worn in his upper arm.
Katy High School Band members interact with fans behind their section during a timeout in action of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas. Founded in 1939, the Tigers' football program was competent since before it's first state title win in 1959, but it wasn't until Mike Johnston became head coach in 1982 that it found the unparalleled success it now enjoys. Coach Johnston took the Tigers to five state championship games, winning three of them, including the 1997 title, breaking an almost 40-year championship drought for the program.
Junior runningback for Katy High School Kyle Porter scores a touchdown during first quarter action of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs on September 26, 2014 in Katy, Texas. Now under head coach Gary Joseph, the Tigers are looking for their eighth state championship, which would match the all-time record, currently held jointly by Celina High School and Southlake Carroll High School.
Junior wide receiver for the St. Anthony Yellow Jackets Jordan Torrens (21) and fellow teammates run out of the tunnel prior to the start of the third quarter of their week 5 high school football game against St. Stephen's Episcopal on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas. St. Stephen's would win the contest 28 - 7 after pulling away in the fourth quarter.
Members of St. Anthony's drumline warm up prior to the Yellow Jackets week 5 high school football game against St. Stephen's Episcopal played on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas. Originally founded in 1903 as a Catholic seminar, St. Anthony was converted into an all-male high school in 1995 and did not become coed until 2003.
Senior quarterback for St. Stephen's Episcopal Taylor Brown (10) fields a high snap during second quarter action of the Spartans' high school football game against St. Anthonyl on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas. St. Anthony plays its home football games at the oldest active football field in the state of Texas, Lang Field. Opened in 1910 as part of the then-seminary of St. Anthony, the field has been witness to one state championship season in 1990.
Members of St. Anthony's drumlinewalk to the field enveloped in trash bags and ponchos to guard against the heavy rain in which the Yellow Jackets played their week 5 high school football game against St. Stephen's Episcopal played on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas. Along with most other private schools in the state, St. Anthony is barred from entering UIL competition, under which most high school football in Texas is organized. Instead, St. Anthony competes under the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAAPS) along with over 200 other private schools in the state.
Senior linebacker for St. Anthony Lee Martinez walks dejected through the Yellow Jackets' sideline after it became clear that St. Stephen's would win the game between the schools played on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas. The result spoiled St. Anthony's homecoming, for which Lang Field was full despite the incessant rain and unfavorable result.
Members of St. Anthony's dance team, the Jacket Jewels, react as St. Anthony's 2014 homecoming court is announced during halftime of the Yellow Jacket's week 5 football game against St. Stephen's Episcopal played on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas.
Olan Vining, sophomore wide receiver for St. Anthony, looks on as his teammates warm up prior to the Yellow Jackets' week 5 high school football game against St. Stephen's Episcopal played on September 27, 2014 at Lang Field in San Antonio, Texas.
Fans arrive at Abe Martin Stadium, home of the Lufkin High School Panthers, before the Pack's homecoming game against Whitehouse on Oct. 3, 2014 in Lufkin, Texas. Renowned state-wide for its fans and atmosphere as much as for its football team, 41-year-old Abe Martin typically houses over ten thousand football fans during the Panthers' home games.
Panther cheerleaders walk through a tunnel in Abe Martin Stadium prior to Lufkin High School's homecoming game against Whitehouse on Oct. 3, 2014 in Lufkin, Texas. Established in 1905, Lufkin High has a proud football tradition dating back to the 1930s and '40s, when head coach Abe Martin led the Panthers to four district championships and only ten losses in seven years. The town's football success was continued by Dunbar High School, the segregated African-American high school in Lufkin, and its conquest of three state championship titles in the 1960's. After Lufkin High's integration in 1970, the Panthers have continuously produced eventual NFL players, including current Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant, and were crowned state champions in 2001.
The Whitehouse High School drumline plays for excited fans and cheerleaders following halftime of the Wildcats' week 6 high school football game against Lufkin High School played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas. Down by 28 points in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats mounted a frenetic rally but were eventually eight points away from spoiling the Panthers' homecoming game and lost by a score of 48-52.
Whitehouse High School junior Cade Parrish (29) warms up prior to the Wildcats' week 6 high school football game against Lufkin High School played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas. While Dez Bryant is the school's highest profile graduate, Lufkin's most successful football player is Dunbar alumnus Ken Houston, who was inducted to the National Football League's Hall of Fame in 1986 after a career playing for Washington and the Houston Oilers.
A member of Lufkin High School's "Panther Pride" drill team sits in the empty stands prior to the Panther's homecoming football game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas. Classified as a 5A school by the UIL, Lufkin High serves the vast majority of the town's roughly thirty-five thousand inhabitants.
Lufkin High School kicker Javier Montes (14) converts a point-after-touchdown during first quarter action of the Pack's homecoming football game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas. Lufkin was rocked in late 2011 when it received the news that John Outlaw, its head coach for 17 years, passed away after a heart attack. Soon after, the Panther community dedicated its playing field to head coach John Outlaw, and since 2012 the Pack has played its games at John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium. Outlaw's legacy at Lufkin includes over 160 games won, three trips to the state semi-finals and a state championship victory in 2001.
Lufkin High School players huddle before the second half of their homecoming game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.
Midland Lee senior defensive back Juwan Lee (6) and his teammates stretch prior to their rivalry game against the Odessa Permian Panthers on Oct. 12, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. The Panthers beat the Rebels 45-28 in this year's installment of one of the most storied rivalries in high school football nationwide.
Stephanie Fortune watches as young Midland Lee fans play catch prior to the Rebels' rivalry game against Odessa Permian played on Oct. 12, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. While the rivalry is renowned for being a central point in H. G. Bissinger's book, and subsequent movie, "Friday Night Lights," the Permian-Lee game raised to national prominence after a 20-year stretch from 1980 to 2000 in which both schools were in the running for the state championship seemingly every year. During that stretch, Permian won the title four times, with Lee claiming three championships and each school claiming a national championship title.
Members of Midland Lee High School's drill Team, "The Dixie Dolls," watch as the Rebels head back to the locker room after warming up prior to their rivalry game against Odessa Permian on Oct. 12, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. Although both schools are far removed from their heyday as perennial state contenders, the annual game still draws over ten thousand attendees every year and is the most important game in both teams' schedules.
Odessa Permian cheerleaders run ahead of the Panthers as they enter the field for the second half of their rivalry game against Midland Lee on Oct. 12, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. In recent years, the rivalry has been a decidedly lopsided affair, with Permian winning seven of the last nine games, while the Rebels dominated the Panthers during the previous 11 meetings, winning 10 of them.
Midland Lee senior quarterback Wesley hall throws a pass during fourth quarter action of the Rebels' rivalry game against Odessa Permian played on Oct. 12, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. This year's contest featured a Panthers team with only one loss, while the Rebels came in to the game dragging a four-game losing streak. The Rebels kept it close early thanks to their defense, but couldn't hold fully stop the Panthers' offense en route to a dominating 45-28 victory.
Odessa Permian Senior wide receiver Taylor Thompson (12), junior defensive lineman Aaron Briswalter (55) and sophomore offensive lineman Jayce Rush (64) celebrate among teammates and cheerleaders after the Panthers defeated their archrival Midland Lee 45-28 on Oct. 10, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. Known popularly as "Mojo" after the chant started in the late 1960's, Permian counts itself as one of the elite programs in the state, with six state titles at the state's highest classification, seven undefeated seasons, close to 500 wins and two national championships to boast about.
Members of Denison High School's drill team, The Stingerettes, perform outside Munson Stadium prior to the Yellow Jackets' football game against Sherman High School on Oct. 17, 2014 in Denison, Texas. The Denison-Sherman annual rivalry game, known as "The Battle of the Axe," is the longest continuously played rivalry game in the state of Texas, dating back to 1901. The winner of the annual game takes possession of an axe-shaped trophy which has the scores of every game engraved in its blade.
A Sherman High School fan and his sign are engulfed in smoke after the Bearcats' entrance into Munson Stadium prior to their football game against Denison High School on Oct. 17, 2014 in Denison, Texas. During the rivalry's 113 years of existence, the Yellow Jackets and Bearcats have met at least once annually, with the exception of six years in which the teams didn't play, including 1918 and 1919, during World War I.
The Denison football team huddles in the middle of Dr. Rene and Eva Gerard Field at Munson Stadium before the start of warm-ups prior to their annual game against archrival Sherman on Oct. 17, 2014 at Munson Stadium in Denison, Texas. Originally built by Works Progress Administration as part of New Deal policy in 1940, Munson Stadium underwent a complete renovation before this season. The six-million dollar project included a new walkway leading to the stadium entrance from Downtown Denison, as well as a rebuilding of the home side stands and press box.
Denison high school students throw baby powder in the air after a Yellow Jacket touchdown during second quarter action of their annual rivalry game against Sherman on Oct. 17, 2014 at Munson Stadium in Denison, Texas. The Sherman Bearcats hold the historical advantage in "The Battle of the Axe" series, having won 68 games to Denison's 40, with 8 ties during the 116 games played by the schools.
Denison linebackers warm up in front of a burning sky prior to the Yellow Jackets' annual rivalry game against Sherman High School on Oct. 17, 2014 in Denison, Texas. During this year's edition of "The Battle of the Axe," Denison dominated Sherman 42-20 on their way to picking up the school's 40th rivalry win and keep the axe in Denison for the second year in a row.
Yellow Jackets wide receiver Jamale Childs is raised by his teammates as he hoists the Axe after his team defeated Sherman 42-20 in their annual "Battle of the Axe" rivalry game played on Oct. 17, 2014 at Munson Stadium in Denison, Texas. While the rivalry has been played for 113 years, the Axe only became a feature after it was donated in 1949 by Jack Barker, a Denison business owner in order to stop vandalism associated with the rivalry. Since then, each game's score is engraved on the blade after the game and the trophy is left in the victor's care until next year's Battle.
Southlake Carroll players Steven Stewart (43),Grant Stewart (64), Connor Lanham (9) and John Miscoll (59) run out of the tunnel prior to the second half of the Dragons' senior night game against Haltom on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, Texas. Southlake Carroll handily beat Haltom 62-0. The Carroll Dragons are one of the most successful programs in Texas high school football, having won eight state championships, which ties them with Celina High School for most in state history.
Carroll Dragon Band tuba section members walk outside Dragon Stadium before the Southlake Carroll High School senior night game against Haltom High School on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, Texas. The Dragons have seemingly been a powerhouse since the school's establishment in 1965, but their statewide fame did not arrive until the 1980's when, led by legendary coach Bob Ledbetter, they dominated the 3A classification with 72 consecutive regular season victories and three state titles in 1988, 1992 and 1993.
Southlake Carroll senior Deondre Wiltshire is escorted by his family after being introduced during senior night festivities before the Dragons' football game against Haltom High School on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, Texas. After a decade of booming growth in 1990's Southlake, Carroll High moved into the 5A classification in 2002, then the state's largest, and the Dragons took Texas by storm. Southlake Carroll went undefeated in their first 5A season, capturing their fourth state title and continuing undefeated until next year's championship match, which they lost to the Katy Tigers. That 2003 loss would be their only one for almost four years, as the Dragons went undefeated for three straight seasons, capturing consecutive state and national titles from 2004 to 2006.
A Southlake Carroll cheerleader laughs during the Dragons' senior night football game against Haltom High School on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, Texas. Southlake Carroll's undefeated streak would end at the hands of Miami Northwestern High School in 2007, and their state championship winning streak would also end later that year. The Dragons would go on to capture their latest title in 2011, capping a decade of dominance in which Southlake Carroll appeared in six of the ten 5A state championship games during that span, winning five of them.
Southlake Carroll senior Kale Foss (44) warms up prior to the Dragons' senior night football game against Haltom High School on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dragon Stadium in Southlake, Texas. This year, the Dragons are once again living up to their powerhouse reputation, after nine games they are still undefeated and have one more week to go in their regular season. They are ranked number 2 in the state by the AP and have clinched at least a share of their district title.
A member of the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes coaching staff walks down the ramp leading to the Mustang Bowl field in Sweetwater, Texas prior to the Golden Tornadoes' game against the Sweetwater Mustangs on Nov. 7, 2014. Built in 1939 by Civilian Conservation Corps members, the Mustang Bowl is one of the most unique stadiums in the state, featuring a field enclosed by an oval extension of the grandstand. It has been widely hailed as one of the top stadiums in Texas, meriting an inclusion to the Texas Football Stadium Hall of Fame.
A Sweetwater football player has a quiet moment away from his team before warm-ups start for Sweetwater's senior night football game against Lamesa played on Nov. 7, 2014 at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater, Texas. The Mustang Bowl has been updated numerous times during its 75 years of existence, including a complete revamp of all Sweetwater High School athletic facilities started three years ago by Head Coach and Athletic Director Shane Mobley. The work included installing new turf in the stadium and field house, renovating the softball field as well as installing new batting cages for practice.
Sweetwater's offensive players walk down the Mustang Bowl staircase as they begin warming up for their senior night game against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes Nov. 7, 2014 at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater, Texas. The Mustang Bowl sits in a city of a little over 11,000 people, with its home-team classified by the UIL among 4A (3A before 2014) schools. The Mustangs are one of the most successful 3A programs in the state, having amassed the fourth-most wins all-time in the classification, although they have only won one state championship, in 1984.
Sweetwater High School cheerleaders perform during second half action of the Mustangs' last game of the 2014 regular season on Nov. 7, 2014 at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater, Texas.
Senior Sweetwater wide receiver Isaiah Mcgee (5) tightens up his pads prior to the Mustangs' senior night game against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes Nov. 7, 2014 at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater, Texas. The Mustangs are a proud program which has suffered through rough years after a string of 22 playoff appearances in 25 years, with its last winning season coming in 2008. Attendance at the Bowl declined and facilities fell into disrepair, and it wasn't until the recent renovations and this year's 10-0 season by the Mustang that attendance numbers picked up.
Carlos Gallegos (79) and Cory Mendez (50) walk out of the tunnel with their teammates before the second half kickoff of their senior night game against Lamesa on Nov. 7, 2014 at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater, Texas. The Mustangs wrapped up the regular season with a 57-6 win over the Golden Tornadoes, giving the program an undisputed district championship, an undefeated 10-win season and its first playoff berth since 2008.
Jayton Jaybirds Freshman Judd Latham sits in the Jaybirds locker room before the start of their bi-district playoff game against the Guthrie Jaguars on Nov. 14, 2014. The Jaguars lived up to their billing as state champion contenders and beat the Jaybirds 84-34. Guthrie and Jayton play six-man football, a variety reserved for the smallest schools in the state, which often do not have the enrollment to field a full 11-man team.
Jayton junior quarterback Slade Coulter speaks to his offense in the huddle as the Jaybirds warm up for their bi-district playoff game against Guthrie on Nov. 14, 2014 at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton, Texas. Six-man football was invented in Nebraska in 1934 and was sanctioned by the UIL in Texas four years later, with 55 schools competing that year. Today, there are around 130 public schools participating in UIL competition, along with over 50 private schools in other leagues.
Jayton head coach Josh Stanaland talks to sophomore center/defensive end Kobe Lisenbee during the third quarter of the Jaybirds' bi-district playoff game against Guthrie on Nov. 14, 2014 at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton, Texas. Due to its limited number of players in the roster, six-man football requires most players to take positions on both sides of the ball, with many playing almost every snap of the game.
Roy W. Chisum leans on his truck as he watches the Jayton Jaybirds bi-district playoff game against Guthrie on Nov. 14, 2014 at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton, Texas. While some schools, like Jayton, have been playing six-man football since their establishment, there are many others which have grown out of the game thanks to increasing enrollment in their areas. Katy and Pearland High Schools, perennial high-classification powerhouses outside of Houston, got their start in six-man football in the 40's and 50's, as have done others like Friendswood, Dripping Spring, Cooperas Cove and more.
Senior running back Travis Scogin weeps as the Jayton High School alma mater is played after the Jaybirds bi-district playoff loss against Guthrie on Nov. 14, 2014 at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton, Texas. Scogin, like the vast majority of six-man football players in Texas, will have a hard time getting offers to play Division I college football, much less getting to the NFL. This, however, does not make the game any less significant for anyone involved, it augments the importance of every game and every season of a short career. "I'm going to coach every play like it's the last play I'll ever coach," Coach Stanaland said to his team before kickoff, "and you should play the same way too."
Weslaco High School fans line up outside the Alamo Stadium's gates before the Panthers' area playoff game against the Laredo United Longhorns on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. While it's common for early-round playoff games to be played at a participating school's stadium, the vast majority of playoff games are played at neutral sites like Alamo Stadium, the largest capacity high school-only stadium in the state. For the second round of the state playoffs, Alamo Stadium played host to two games, including the showdown between the Panthers and Longhorns on Saturday.
Weslaco High School senior cornerback Undrae Galindo (21) stands during the playing of the national anthem before the Panthers' area playoff game against the Laredo United Longhorns on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. Built in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration as part of New Deal policies, the Alamo Stadium sits in a rock quarry in the historic Midtown area of the city. The stadium gets its nickname -- "the rock pile" -- thanks to its native limestone being present in almost the entirety of the structure.
Laredo United senior wide receiver Erik Corona (4) watches nervously as the Longhorns defense attempts to stop Weslaco's drive short of the end zone during their area playoff game on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. Owned and operated by the city's school district, the Alamo Stadium has played host to professional teams from various sports, but none of the tenants have been permanent. Today, "the rock pile" serves as the home football field for seven local high schools throughout the regular season, as well as holding around ten playoff games for schools across the state.
Weslaco kicker Edward Limas stretches on the field goal post as his teammates warm up in front of him before second half action of the Panthers' area playoff game against Laredo United on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. Limas and the Panthers tried furiously to keep up with the Longhorns high-powered passing attack, but were unable to match United's offensive production and lost 40-28. Laredo United will now face their biggest test yet in San Antonio-area powerhouse Converse Judson.
Laredo United drill team members celebrate with wide receiver Derek Luna and his teammates after the Longhorns defeated Weslaco 40-28 on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas to advance to the third round of the Texas high school football playoffs, where they will face Converse Judson.
Laredo United quarterback Ignazio Tellez (9), wide receiver Erik Corona (4), defensive tackle Eddie Dominguez (56), safety Gus Trevino (3) and lineman Armando Valencia (51) celebrate in the Longhorns huddle after defeating the Weslaco Panthers in the area round of the Texas high school football playoffs on Nov. 22, 2014 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.
The May Tigers and Blum Bobcats line up against each other during their UIL playoffs semifinal round played at Pirate Stadium in Granbury, Texas on Dec. 6, 2014. May won the contest 60-38, advancing to the class-1A state championship game. UIL's 1A classification is reserved for the smallest public high schools in Texas and features six-man football instead of the traditional 11-man version of the game. This scaled-down version of the game is played with slightly different rules than its full-size counterpart, including a shorter and narrower field of play, no restrictions on who can receive a forward pass, slight scoring differences, among others.
Blum players warm up before the start of their semifinal playoff game against the May Tigers on Dec. 6, 2014 at Pirate Stadium in Granbury, Texas. This year's Bobcat team has gone farther into the playoffs than any other team representing Blum, a town with less than 500 inhabitants. The May Tigers, on the other hand, were trying to reach the state title game for the fifth time in program history and hope to win the school's second state championship.
A Blum Bobcats fan worriedly looks on as the May offense proves too tough to contain on its way to defeating the Bobcats 60-38 in their state playoff semifinal game on Dec. 6, 2014 at Pirate Stadium in Granbury, Texas and advancing to the 1A state championship game to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Six-man football often involves a larger percent of a town's population, and the relationship between fans and team tends to be more intimate. This relationship was reflected in the number of fans traveling over 50 miles to watch their teams. The May and Blum matchup, featuring wo towns with a combined population of less than 800, drew an estimated attendance of 600 to Pirate Stadium.
Blum players warm up before the start of their semifinal playoff game against the May Tigers on Dec. 6, 2014 at Pirate Stadium in Granbury, Texas. During the state playoffs, school districts often rent out their stadiums to host playoff games as neutral sites. While the rental fee normally goes to the district's budget, booster clubs for band, cheerleaders or other organizations often keep the money they make operating concession stands and other amenities. During the 2014 playoffs, Granbury's Pirate Stadium played host to four playoff games, with a total attendance estimated between four and five thousand, according to the Athletic Department.
May Tigers seniors Brant Harris (7) and Isaac Williams (24) kiss the State Semi-Final Champions trophy after defeating the Blum Bobcats 60-38 on Dec. 6, 2014 at Pirate Stadium in Granbury, Texas and advancing to the UIL class-1A state championship game. This will be the Tigers' fourth appearance in the last game of the season, which they have only won once: in 1977.
A Centerville High School cheerleader runs the length of the visitor side bleachers at B. E. Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, Texas as she and fellow cheerleaders decorate the side before fans arrive to watch the Tigers take on the Mason Punchers in a 2A state semifinal game on Dec. 12, 2014. Mason would defeat Centerville 27-7 and punch their ticket to the state championship game to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Mason running back Miguel Castillo stands at the edge of the Punchers' dressing room as he and his teammates wait to take the field for their 2A state semifinal against Centerville on Dec. 12, 2014 at B. E. Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, Texas. Miguel, a senior, was named to the 2A Associated Press all-state team as an honorable mention at linebacker as well as an honorable mention to the all-state academic team.
Matthew Kerr, 12, one of the Mason Punchers ballboys, cheers after a Mason score during first quarter action of their state semifinal game against Centerville on Dec. 12, 2014 at B. E. Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, Texas.
Mason sophomore Haddon Hudson celebrates with a teammate after the Punchers defeated the Centerville Tigers 27-7 in their 2A state semifinal game on Dec. 12, 2014 at B. E. Birkelbach Field in Georgetown, Texas., earning a berth in the state championship game to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Mason High School cheerleaders wait in the tunnels of AT&T Stadium for their opportunity to enter the field prior to the Punchers' state championship game against Canadian High School on Dec. 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.
John Keller, the Punchers' wide receivers coach, and his daughter Tristin kill time by watching the end of the 2A Division II state championship game between Albany and Bremond on Dec. 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. John and Tristin were waiting for their own championship game to start, as the Mason High School Punchers would face Canadian High School shortly after.
A Mason High School cheerleader enjoys a moment of calm before the Punchers take the AT&T Stadium field as they get ready to face Canadian High School for the 2014 Class 2A Division I State Championship Game on Dec. 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.
Mason Punchers senior Josh Medina weeps after his team was defeated 34-7 by Canadian High School in the 2014 Class 2A Texas State Championship Game played on Dec. 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.
Mason seniors Madelyn Glentz and Luis Castillo embrace after the Punchers were defeated 34-7 by a dominating Canadian High School team in the 2014 Class 2A Texas State Championship Game played at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.