What High School Football Is All About
You've probably figured out by now that I have a deep love and passion for High School Football. There is something to be said about the fight and heart that goes into each play, each drive and each second of every quarter that those kids are on the field. Look through the face mask of the player's helmet and find their eyes and you will see a light that I can only assume is "magic". As you watch the kids battle it out for the win on the football field you will witness a very raw emotion that is surrounded by and founded on an innocence that will be lost once high school is over.
This Friday, that "magic" will be witnessed on many football fields across Texas. Not only is it the final football game of the regular season - but for some, this is the last high school football game they will ever play. The last time they will take the field with their teammates who have become their brothers. Some will move on to play again in the playoffs and some will walk off that high school stadium football field for the very last time.
That very "magic" can be witnessed right here in Lubbock, TX Friday at 7:30pm at Plains Capital Park at Lowery Field when two Lubbock teams will take to the field they both call "home". A 48 minute battle will commence for the "Win" with these cross town rivals. Because with this win comes more than just the "W" - this win will deliver the "Silver Spurs" to winning high school - a tradition that has been going on for 56 years - but moreover this win will secure a playoff seat. So you can imagine with so much on the line for the Lubbock High Westerners and the Monterey High Plainsmen, "magic" will surely be in the air.
Earlier this week I had a chance to chat with the head football coach at Lubbock High - Coach Jason Strunk - and was also able to watch the Westerners practice as they prepare for Friday's game. Watching the kids practice and the coaches coach, it is very apparent that last week's 70-0 loss to the Frenship Tigers only added fuel to the fire and is lighting up the Lubbock High Westerners Football team. Listening to Coach Strunk talk to the guys after practice he summed it all up with these words "We've got one game to get it done - and we're gonna get it done". That's one game to get to the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row AND secure the "Silver Spurs". It's all or nothing for the Westerners. If Strunk and his team win Friday's game against the Monterey Plainsmen and get to the playoffs, it will be the first time since 1951-52 that the Westerners have had back to back playoff apperances. Getting a win also means claiming the "Silver Spurs" - something that they have only possessed 10 times in the last 56 years this game has been played, most recently being in 2007.
So as Strunk says, they've got one game to get it all done - the playoff seat and the Silver Spurs - and if they do not "get it done" then Friday's game is the last high school football game the seniors of Lubbock High will play. When talking to a few of these seniors about this game and everything that rides on it I asked them to give me one word as to what they are feeling or what they think of the upcoming game. Here is what they said:
Tye Porter - "Respect"
Anthony Martinez - "Fight"
Rudy Vara - "Playoffs"
Rodrick Johnson - "Legendary"
Matthew Tackitt - "Continuing"
Mark Flores II - "Honor"
Angel Gallardo - "Victory"
I challenge you to head out to Plains Capital Park at Lowery Field Friday at 7:30pm and witness the magic of high school football brought to you by the Lubbock Westerners and the Monterey Plainsmen. I also encourage you to take a moment to look at those kids on the field and on the sidelines between plays and during the time outs - try to catch just a small glimpse of that "magic". You will see that light in those player's eyes that reflects each one of the words the Lubbock High seniors spoke. And when you've seen that light - then you have truly seen the "Friday Night Lights".