Houston’s Favored to Host High School State Football FInals

Back in 2006 the University Interscholastic League began having predetermined locations for the state football playoff finals.

This may bend Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones out of shape because he’d like for those 10 games to be played over three days at his AT&T Stadium in Arlington every year.

But many high school football coaches feel that because of the huge number of high schools in the Metroplex Area, teams playing a championship football game against an opponent from the Dallas-Fort Worth area are at a distinct disadvantage.

They have a long way to travel for the state championship game and must spend at least one night in a Metroplex Area hotel while their opposing team players from that area get to sleep at home in their own beds.

Many of these high school football coaches believe that the high school football players who compete for the state championship will treat it the same way the National Football Players do the Super Bowl. They will remember it forever.

And they would like to see the sites of the state championship games rotated, like the NFL does the Super Bowl, at least between the state’s three indoor facilities in Houston, San Antonio and Arlington, according to an article that appeared in Saturday’s edition of The Houston Chronicle.

“On Thursday, Fox 26 reported the UIL’s 11-man championships (10 games) would be played at NRG Stadium on Dec. 17-19,” the article stated.

“The games won’t return to AT&T Stadium this year—the Dallas Cowboys face the New York Jets on Dec. 19—leaving NRG Stadium and the Alamodome in San Antonio as the other two options. Officials from the UIL and NRG Stadium said nothing official is set.

“Houston appears to be the leading candidate, a decision Southeast Texas area coaches after five consecutive years of heading north to play title games against schools making short drives to AT&T Stadium,” the article continued.

And it really could be great for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs, who made it all the way to the championship finals last season, in what was deemed as a “rebuilding year.”

But Dave Campbell’s “Texas Football Magazine, which is somewhat like a bible to Texas high school and college coaches, players and fans, not only has picked the Mustangs to win District 9-4A Division II but has also tabbed the ‘Stangs to win the 4A Division II state championship over Gilmer, the team that slipped past the Mustangs in last year’s state final game.

And if you thought last season was a rebuilding year, look at the short list of starters returning for the 2015 season—like junior quarterback Jack Dallas on offense and four starters on the defensive side of the football.

Head coach Cornel Thompson has been able to put his players in the right positions during his tenure as the Mustangs head man and has collected four consecutive trips to the Region III finals and one trip to the state finals.

Many high school football fans believe Dave Campbell is talking through his hat in predicting a state championship for this year’s Mustang team.

But regardless of the talent level of a particular West Orange-Stark football team, Thompson and his coaching staff always has them ready to play and geared for the victory.

KWICKIES…With pro golfing star Phil Mickelson’s name continuing to be mentioned along with high-stakes gamblers, it won’t be long before the makers of Enbrel medicine that he is the pitchman for will dump him much like Nike and others dropped Tiger Woods like a hot potato when his carousing became common knowledge. Lefty has never been under investigation and has not been charged with a crime. But the rumor is that Mickelson placed bets on sporting events with an illegal offshore operation according to a report by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”.

Here is a brief follow-up on our Korner last week about Orange native Willie Armstrong’s induction to the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame that took place Saturday on the school’s campus. His wife Carylon, also an Orange native, said the induction was fantastic and that his high school quarterback George Woodrow was in attendance along with his two college quarterbacks, James Harris, who played in the NFL and Matthew Reed. A story told at the induction was that the team was charged an extra $100 for a post-game meal for Orange native Ernie Ladd, who had the reputation of cleaning out a buffet whenever the team ate after a game.

Orange native Percy Hines will be inducted into the Texas Coaches’ Hall of Fame tomorrow (Thurs.) in Houston. Hines is the step-brother of Willie Armstrong and coached in the Lubbock area for many years after his playing days were over.

Former University of Texas star golfer Jordan Spieth defeated veteran Tom Gillis on the second extra playoff hole Sunday to win the John Deere Classic golf tournament played at Silvis, IL. and become the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2000 to win four times in one season before the British Open, which starts tomorrow (Thurs.). The 46-year Gillis, who was a PGA Tour rookie the year Spieth was born (in 1993), was attempting to become the oldest first-time winner on the PGA Tour in 20 years. But Gillis plunked his approach shot into the water on the second extra hold to thwart his chances.

Although I wasn’t much of an Oakland Raider fan, I really loved watching Kenny Stabler at quarterback with Alabama, Oakland and the Houston Oilers. The Snake as he was called died Thursday at the age of 69 after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Stabler compiled an impressive 28-3-2 record as a starter at Alabama where he played for Paul “Bear” Bryant. Oilers coach Bum Phillips and Raiders’ owner al Davis pulled off one of the biggest one-for-one trades in NFL history—Stabler for Dan Pastorini—and the exchange of star quarterbacks established the Oilers as a bona fide Super Bowl contender for a third straight season.

JUST BETWEEN US…The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for our Houston Astros, who are reeling from six straight losses and eight of the last 10 games due mostly from the lack of hitting. The skid has knocked the Astros out of first place in the American League West Division, a position they have held since the middle of April, with the highly-favored Los Angeles Angels replacing Houston. The timing creates a dilemma for the Astros’ front office which has until the end of the month to upgrade the club via the non-waiver trade deadline. The team had been pretty happy with their current players throughout the first half of the season and probably wouldn’t have been very active as the trading deadline nears. They were looking for a strong No. 2 starting pitcher, but now must also focus on a productive outfielder, first baseman and designated hitter. Hopefully they might be able to find a player who would cover two or possibly all three needs in one talented package.