Every player in the South Hills football program has taken a vow, something along the lines of famous prose penned for far different reasons: I choose not to be a common man.
Their ideals and beliefs as teammates revolve around a commitment to uncommon principles, uncommon manners, and striving to be uncommon football players.
A playoff victory Friday would certainly be uncommon, a first in school history.
South Hills has taken big steps as a football team over the past few years, this year becoming undefeated District 7-5A champions.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Scorpions (10-0) face Richland (9-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Saginaw in a Class 5A Division I game. The Rebels are equally hungry: They haven’t won a playoff game since 1984.
“It would mean everything,” said junior quarterback Trey Jones. “We’ve never been past the first round. It would give us a boost as a program.”
It would be a boost not only for South Hills, but, as Scorpions coach J.J. Resendez reminded, also a big shot in the arm for the Fort Worth school district, which hasn’t had a school advance past the second round of the playoffs since Wyatt in 2000. There will definitely be one in the area round this year. Dunbar and Wyatt play in the first round this week.
The Scorpions want in, too. Their mantra: “Get another week. And see what happens.”
“We haven’t been able to take the next step,” Resendez said. “It would be huge for South Hills and the FWISD to get another team in the second round. I don’t know if you can state how big it would be.”
The Scorpions haven’t had the best playoff experience, losing to Burleson the past two seasons, but the South Hills players believe they are different this year, having grown as a team through adversity. When star quarterback Tracin Wallace went down a second consecutive season with a knee injury, the Scorpions didn’t blink.
Jones stepped into that role a year ago, and he’s done it again this year. As a junior, he is older, wiser, and more comfortable, particularly in big games. With no such experience as a sophomore, he admitted his nervous butterflies entering the playoff game last year would be better described as “scared. I had never been in a playoff game before.”
That’s not an issue this time around, and with eight games under his belt this season, he’s fluent in his reads and confident in making good throws.
This year alone, the Scorpions have played in big games, the biggest so far a victory over Arlington Heights, a perennial district frontrunner. Jones and running back Kyran Jackson put the Scorpions on their backs in leading South Hills back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter.
That victory was a touchstone triumph, the first over the Yellow Jackets with this nucleus of players.
Jones said his teammates pledged to not give up, “whatever we do, don’t give up.”
The Heights game was much the same as the playoff barrier, Resendez said.
“We’ve been in the same spot three years in a row and hadn’t beaten Heights,” Resendez said. “We got over that hump, it felt good. The boys played their tails off. It was a great game. You can’t say enough about the character and the fight the boys have. They get after it and they’re not going to quit.”
As a 10-year-old youth quarterback, Jones was coached by none other than Deion Sanders, the former Cowboys cornerback.
Sanders, Jones said, “basically taught me the quarterback position.”
“I talk to him all the time,” said Jones, though he wasn’t sure if the two would talk before Friday’s game. “He would probably tell me to stay calm, do what I know how to do, and not get a big head.”
Resendez and Richland coach Ged Kates go way back as players for archrival high schools in the Birdville school district. Resendez, a member of the Class of 1992, played at Haltom and Kates at Richland. Kates was a year younger.
“We’ve known each other since high school,” said Resendez, who acknowledged a little competitiveness between the coaches. “But it’s always been friendly. They’re a dang good football team.”
Two area quarterbacks, Dillon Davis of Class 5A Aledo and Shaun Taylor of private school Fort Worth All Saints, were named Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Players of the Week on Wednesday for their respective classifications.
Davis passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns against Saginaw Boswell as the Bearcats finished the regular season 10-0. Taylor passed for 399 yards and four TDs as the Saints won the SPC Class 4A title.
Players of the Week
Cleburne wide receiver Austin Robinson is the dfwVarsity offensive Player of the Week for Week 11, and Trophy Club Nelson linebacker Chance Cover is the defensive Player of the Week. A total of 16,388 votes were cast.
Reach John Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @John_F_Henry