The UIL state quarterfinals are this week and wouldn’t you know it, the Brock Eagles are still playing.
Surprise, surprise (sarcasm).
It’s become the norm for the No. 3 ranked Eagles (12-1) to get to at least the state quarters. They play No. 10 Shallowater (13-0) in the Class 3A Division I quarterfinals, 7 p.m. on Thursday in Sweetwater.
Brock’s first UIL varsity campaign came in 2014 and the Eagles got to the state quarterfinals. They’ve reached at least the fourth round of the playoffs in all five years.
“We’ve been fortunate to reach the regional final all five years,” Brock coach Chad Worrell said. “It’s been a storied run to start our program. We try to enjoy the run while we’re on it because it’s sort of been an unprecedented first five years.”
Of those four previous trips, Brock has been to the state final twice, winning it all in 2015 and finishing second a season ago.
The Eagles seem to be playing their best football at the right time.
Brock beat Wall, 31-13, for the fourth time in five playoff meetings last week.
“We had a few injuries early in the season. We’d have one or two kids out each game, but we’re getting everyone healthy and we’re clicking on both sides of the ball,” Worrell said. “The kids are playing together and figuring out their roles, and doing a great job.
“Wall was a tough game, perhaps the most physical game of the year. But our kids stepped it up a notch and it’s great to see that especially during this time of year.”
Another trait Worrell likes seeing from his team this season: facing adversity and winning those close games.
Brock nearly lost in the first round, but defeated Breckenridge, 34-27.
“We’ve had several of those games this year — Whitesboro and Iowa Park — we’ve had to battle those quality teams,” Worrell said. “I don’t know if we’ve faced a team like Shallowater yet, but the kids know how to responded in those close situations.”
After Brock and Wall met for the fifth-straight year, its game with Shallowater will be the fourth playoff meeting in five years.
But the Mustangs will be a far biggest test for the Eagles.
Shallowater won, 22-21, in 2014 and Brock won, 38-10, in 2015 and, 31-13, last season.
“They are super talented with athletes all over the field and it starts with their quarterback Cutter Sparks. He’s a dual threat QB that runs physical and he can throw to anyone,” Worrell said. “Linebacker Holt Pierce is probably their best defender and their linemen are like tight ends — big and athletic and it’s been paying off in the playoffs. They’re really a team with no weaknesses and no one has come close to slowing them down. It’ll be a tall order for us.
“We’re going to have to get to the quarterback and running back before they even get started. We have to figure out a way to get through that big offensive line and limit the big plays. We’ll have to drive the field and control the ball — keep their offense off the field — and take time off the clock. Hopefully we can wear them down and these big games will definitely be won up front.”
POINTS FOR: Brock 510, Shallowater 647
POINTS AGAINST: Brock 202, Shallowater 224