Paschal remains positive despite playoff elimination

Posted Wednesday, Nov. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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At practice Monday, Fort Worth Paschal held its playoff destiny in its own hands. After Tuesday morning, it did not.

The UIL State Executive Committee’s decision to overturn Arlington Martin’s forfeited games had a much further impact than just the Warriors’ record. Paschal went from 3-3 in District 3-5A play with a chance to clinch a playoff berth — its first since 1995 — to 2-4 and playing for little more than pride and a winning record.

“It’s unfortunate for anybody involved — the highs and the lows for Martin and then the ups and downs for us has been tough as well,” Paschal coach Matt Cook said.

Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Panthers found plenty of motivation left for tonight’s meeting with Arlington Lamar at Clark Stadium.

“When I told the boys [Tuesday] there were some tears and a lot of sad faces, but we regrouped,” Cook said. “One of our goals was to have a winning season and we still have that opportunity to go 6-4.”

This has been Paschal’s most successful season since Cook arrived in 2007, and one of the best in more than a decade.

“This has been by far our best season,” Cook said. “I think the last time Paschal was 5-5 was 1999 and it’s been since the ’70s since the school has had a winning season. So we’re on the verge. That’s our next goal and that’s the next thing we can knock out.”

The strides made at the varsity level are trickling down. Cook pointed out that the sub-varsity squads have had winning seasons and that the energy surrounding the football team has reverberated beyond the locker room.

“We feel like we’re on the cusp of something really great happening,” he said. “We feel like we’ve got it going the right direction.

“As far as school spirit, I would say it’s up. Everybody talks about going to the games and wants to go to the games. We’ve got a lot more involvement from the student body and that’s been the most exciting of anything is that our kids hear the positive throughout the school about what they did Friday night or what they’re about to do. So that’s been a big, big change here.”

Top ranking

Saginaw Boswell receiver Alex Martinez wears No. 7, but his teammates call him No. 1. That’s because No. 1 is his current class rank among Boswell seniors. Martinez, whose grade average is 103.848 on a 100-point scale, is on pace to graduate in May as valedictorian.

“They don’t really even call me by my real name anymore,” Martinez said of his teammates.

Martinez is the team’s third-leading receiver with 13 catches for 154 yards and a score this season. He also plays baseball and runs track.

“It’s pretty amazing,” coach John Abendschan added. “It’s a special deal and it makes me proud to coach a kid that can handle all he does and maintain a GPA that keeps him No. 1 in a class of 547. It’s just remarkable.”

Martinez, who hopes to attend Stanford next year, said his commitment to academics started in middle school when his mother instituted a “no A, no play” rule. He dedicated himself to improving academically and climbed from a rank of 13 as a freshman to potential valedictorian as a senior.

Abendschan noted that coaches and teammates often find him studying, even during team meals.

“We had our team meeting and he said, ‘When I’m on the field or the practice field, I’m 100 percent with you guys. But when I’m off, I’m 100 percent on my books, so don’t ever question my commitment to you guys because I will always work as hard on my grades as I am for you and vice versa.’”

Boswell (6-3, 6-1 District 6-4A) has clinched a Division II playoff berth and faces Saginaw Chisholm Trail in the regular season finale Friday at Pioneer Stadium.

Player of the Week

In the fan vote for top performance from Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Fort Worth South Hills quarterback Tracin Wallace won with 11,617 votes. More than 18,000 votes were cast. Visit the site Monday to see who’s in the running for this week’s games.

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