We’re less than three weeks away from Christmas and Birdville ISD still has two - TWO - teams in the Texas high school football playoffs.
Haltom and Birdville, with a combined record of 25-1, both have state quarterfinals matchups this week.
“Very excited and proud to have two teams still competing this far into the football playoffs,” BISD Director of Athletics Chris Feris said. “Especially following up on a year when all 3 of our BISD football teams made the playoffs last year. Great coaches and players being able to see their hard work and dedication pay off in terms of reaching their own high expectations! It has been a great run and we look forward to this weekend to try and keep setting unprecedented levels of success for Birdville ISD.”
The bond between these teams, while heated at times for bragging rights purposes, runs strong. Case in point, was the first question Birdville coach Lon Holbrook asked Feris after his team had just beat Grapevine to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals: Did Haltom win?
“I’m so happy for them,” Holbrook said. “Coach Jason Tucker is an awesome guy and I’m more than excited and I know they feel the same way. We congratulate each other all the time so I hope we keep it going.”
Holbrook and Tucker came out of college and started coaching in BISD during the 1999 season. Holbrook was at Smithfield Middle and Tucker was at Haltom Middle.
“It’s really good for the school district. BISD is such an amazing place,” Tucker said. “They go above and beyond with anything you need and Chris Feris does an excellent job too. The district is a big reason why we both have come this far. I’m happy for Birdville and Coach Holbrook.”
It’s the first time two BISD schools have reached the state quarterfinals.
This is the first time Haltom has made it this far while Birdville’s only other trips came in 2012 and 2013.
“It’s great to see a fellow BISD team in the same spot we are,” Birdville junior Hosea Armstrong said. “We have a lot of respect for those guys at Haltom and we support them the same way they support us.”
The Buffalos (13-0) defeated Hebron, 41-30, in the regional round. It was just their second time playing in the third round (1993). They face Amarillo Tascosa (10-3) in the 6A Division II quarterfinals at 3 p.m. on Saturday from Lubbock’s Jones Stadium.
The Hawks (12-1) will face No. 3 Denton Ryan (13-0) in the 5A Division I quarterfinals at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Ford Center in Frisco.
“It’s a blessing,” Haltom senior Michael Black said. “I’m very proud of them and what they’ve accomplished so far. I have a lot of close friends over there and they’re something special.”