A memorable scene from the 2004 film “Friday Nights Lights” features a coin flip among three high school coaches to determine which of their teams advance to the playoffs. That immortalized event at The Convoy Truck Stop on I-20 between Midland and Odessa was carried on live radio and television.
There were no camera or radio crews at the Whataburger in Midlothian late last Friday night, but there was a coin toss to determine Timberview’s playoff fate. And while it likely won’t be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, the events of last Friday night will forever last in the memories of the players and coaches who experienced them.
“Everybody was nervous, nobody knew what was going on,” senior wide receiver Braylon Royal said.
The unique circumstances were cause by a perfect storm of three results: Lancaster defeating Waxahachie, Summit defeating Timberview and Legacy’s win over Red Oak. As a result, Waxahachie, Timberview and Legacy all finished district play at 3-4 and tied for the final playoff berth from 14-5A. Enter the tiebreaker rules.
Legacy was eliminated on the first tiebreaker: point differential. Coincidentally enough, Timberview and Waxahachie were even in point differential. The tiebreaker rules stipulate that the next tiebreaker cannot revert back to head-to-head, and thus a coin flip was necessary.
“Our kids really believed that it was over, so it was a pretty emotional roller coaster for them,” Timberview coach James Brown said. “A lot of the seniors felt like it was their last game. I don’t know if they knew everything that could happen or would happen. They were down and out, so we pulled them together and told them that we had a 50-50 chance. We just told them to have positive thoughts.”
Respective athletic directors and head coaches from Waxahachie and Timberview decided to meet at the Whataburger in Midlothian to carry out the decisive toss. Timberview was assigned tails … and tails it was. With the team gathered in the weight room back on campus, Brown used FaceTime to deliver the news to his players.
“It was good to see the kids,” Brown said. “To go from one of the worst losses in their careers to the high of having another chance to start over 0-0 and see what happens, they were really excited about it.”
“Coach told us, ‘We’re in,’ and everybody just went crazy,” Royal recounted.
Royal also confessed he was one of several to reference the movie.
“I did,” he laughed. “I said this was just like ‘Friday Night Lights.’”
With that real-life drama behind them, Timberview can now turn its focus to preparing for at least one more game. The Wolves draw District 13-5A champions South Oak Cliff, which started the season 0-3 but has reeled off seven consecutive victories.
“We feel very fortunate,” Brown said of getting a shot in the postseason. “Just to get through this district and get in … you never know what happens now.”
Brown and Royal both have respect for South Oak Cliff, but feel like their regular-season opponents have them prepared to face anyone.
“Our kids are battle tested,” Brown said. “For us it’s just another difficult opponent on the schedule and we’re going to prepare the same way we have.”
“I think the district we’re in prepared us very well for the playoff matchup we have coming up,” Royal added. “I’m pretty sure we’ll be labeled as underdogs, but we don’t mind that at all. We actually prefer it. It makes us work harder in practice. It gives us something to hold on to and fight for.”