For more than 15 years, Fort Worth All Saints football had been the face of the Southwest Preparatory Conference.
The Saints won six state titles since 2004 — no other SPC school had more than four during that span.
Needing a change, the Saints left the 16-team SPC and moved to Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which has 221 teams.
If All Saints hasn’t proved it’s the best private school in the state yet, it can certainly plant that flag in two weeks at Waco Midway High School.
The Saints (11-0) meet Plano Prestonwood (10-2) in a TAPPS Division I state semifinal, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.
Dallas Bishop Lynch (12-0) and Houston St. Pius X (9-1) play 6 p.m. Saturday at Georgetown. The winners advance to the state championship game, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Midway.
“I honestly believe that these four teams, plus maybe Bishop Dunne and Nolan Catholic, are the best teams this season in this conference, and it’s no disrespect to any others,” coach Aaron Beck said.
All Saints opened the season against Prestonwood and won, 61-50. The Saints beat St. Pius, 49-37, in October.
“Looking at those games, it could’ve gone either way,” Beck said. “That’s how good this conference is.”
The Saints are averaging 46.5 points per game and have scored at least 42 points in seven straight outings.
“We have a great group of guys,” Beck said. “It’s a testament to the program and we’re proud of what we’ve created here.”
Senior quarterback Shaun Taylor has thrown for 3,384 yards and 56 touchdowns, eclipsing 300 yards eight times. He has plenty of options, too, like senior receivers Brendan Harmon (committed to Rice) and Jaylon Robinson (Oklahoma), who transferred from Fort Worth Paschal.
“I was in the third grade when coach Beck won his first state title and ever since then the tradition has become bigger,” Taylor said. “I’m glad these guys are here, we have a good team and hopefully we come out on top this year.”
Harmon and Robinson have combined for 2,200 yards and 35 TDs. Senior wideout Mason Suitt adds 850 receiving yards and eight TDs.
Moving to a proven private-school winner is a stroke of good fortune, Robinson said.
“I feel like no one can beat us if we play up to our standards,” he adds.
The Saints defense has played better of late, too. After allowing 25 points per game in its first seven weeks, All Saints has yielded 36 total points in its last four games.
Senior linebacker Caleb Silvia leads the team with 102 tackles. Senior defensive ends Luke Brockermeyer (Rice) and Kole Pannell have combined for 127 tackles and 20 sacks. Senior linebacker Grayson Mann (Northwestern) adds 63 tackles and seven sacks.
Senior free safety J.C. Rispress (SMU), who also came from Paschal, is second on the team with 96 tackles.
“I think the championships speak for themselves,” said Brockermeyer, whose father Blake was a standout at FW Arlington Heights, an All-American at Texas and played in the NFL for nine seasons. “That would be my case why we’re the best private school.”
But while the Saints haven’t lost a game this year, it hasn’t been all easy.
Coming over from SPC, All Saints played a TAPPS independent schedule this season.
That got them eight games, so new Houston-area UIL team Alvin Shadow Creek was also added. The Saints beat the Sharks, 46-16.
“It’s been a whirlwind, but we felt it was going to be more competitive for our program in TAPPS,” Beck said. “This year’s schedule was tough, but it’s been a nice fit, and we’ve been fortunate enough to make some new friends and play in places we never have before.”