Granbury sophomore quarterback Ryan Suitt was an eighth-grader and the seniors were sophomores when coach Scotty Pugh took over the Pirates football program. Expectations were low and losing had become a tradition.
Fast forward three years, and Pirates football is enjoying a renaissance it hasn't experienced in more than 30 years.
Granbury (6-2, 4-1 in District 7-4A) clinched its third consecutive playoff appearance last week with a 56-18 victory over Fort Worth Trimble Tech. It marked the first time since 1981, according to Pugh, that Granbury has reached the post season in three consecutive seasons. Many Class 3A (now 4A) districts in the 1970s and '80s were split into zones, and teams advanced through zone playoffs into 16-team brackets.
"When we came in here our goal was to have it turned around in three years and we have done that," Pugh said. "Our kids bought in to what the coaches were teaching and have done a great job adapting to our system. It's a great time to be here and what we accomplished hasn't been done in a long time. We just have to keep the fire burning and the momentum rolling."
Granbury lost the season-opener to Wichita Falls, won five straight, then lost to Fort Worth Southwest - another playoff-bound team. Last week Granbury rebounded to beat Fort Worth Trimble Tech.
"Consistency has been our biggest key," Pugh said. "The kids have matured and learned enough to know that it's a team thing. They have learned the process of how to win since it had been so long since they had won here. It's been a slow process that were still working on."
Granbury will get a chance to see where they stand this week when they meet state-ranked Aledo (7-1, 5-0).
"Aledo is who we want to model our program after and by no means are we close to where they are, but were headed in the right direction," Pugh said. "We talked about it after we lost to Southwest and felt our kids matured and we got better from that game than some of the ones we have won. We know this is just another district game and not to make it more than what it is. Our goal is just to be better this week than the last."
Part of that growing process has started behind center, where Suitt is just a 15-year-old sophomore. Last year he started the final game on varsity as a freshman.
Last week, was Suitt's best game of the season. He completed 16 of 18 passes for 281 yards and five touchdowns. For the season he has connected on 84 of 151 passes for 1,331 yards and 11 scores.
"Every game slows down a little bit and it's gotten better and better as the season has gone on," Suitt said. "I'm more comfortable now than I was at the beginning of the year. Over the summer I took some lessons to prepare for the season which helped. I'm just learning to let things progress and make smarter decisions."
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