Unfinished Business: After win over Vandegrift, varsity football ready for state semi-finals

The varsity football team removed Vandegrift from the state title hunt Friday, Dec. 4 with a 24-17 victory.

Kaylie Waldman, Guest Reporter

The football team has set a new record in the 12-year school history, advancing to the 5A State semifinals this Friday at NRG stadium in Houston. Kickoff against George Ranch is at 7:30 p.m. Students can get tickets Thursday in the front office for $6. Tickets are $15 at the gate and parking is $12.

“I’m very confident on how far this team will go,” coach Ryan Bailey said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in a couple of state championship games, haven’t won one yet, but this team has better chemistry, and that’s what it takes. The work ethic that they’re putting in, they’re having fun so it’s not a grind, they’re not wearing down either, and that’s a big part of it. When you see that as talented as we are, we have as good a shot as anyone else, and I feel confident that we’ll get it done.”

Though the chemistry of the team has gotten them to the semi-finals, it’s not the only factor pulling them toward victory. The team practices six days a week, evaluating each game and making the necessary adjustments.

“At this time of the year, everything has to be perfect, so you look at everything,” Bailey said. “Everybody that’s in the playoffs is good and earned their way there, so you can’t make any mistakes. The biggest thing we have to do is make sure everyone is healthy, and we’ll be fine.”

Even with all the work the team puts in on and off the practice field, they still have some parts that they can work on to improve.

“The part of the team that probably needs the most strengthening is finishing the game with knowing that whatever adversity we faced throughout the game, that we can make it through as a team,” senior middle linebacker R.J. Phillips said. “Just one game at a time will strengthen this, which starts in practice.”

During the district season the team constantly improved, with only two losses against Vandegrift and Cedar Park.

“We’re in the toughest district in the state. Nobody plays as physical as we do,” Bailey said. “That helps you get ready for playoffs, because nobody in the playoffs will hit us as hard, and no one is as physical as we are so it gets us more prepared. We’re going to take away everything they did to us, things that hurt us, things that we did well and take that into the playoffs with us, to benefit us.”

No matter the outcome of Friday’s game, the team has still made history for the school. The coaches and players know they have done their hardest, had fun playing and enjoyed the season as a team together.

“One hope that I have for the players, if they don’t make it as far as desired, is that they do the very best they can and have as much fun as they can,” Bailey said. “This is a fun ride. Football is hard, I don’t know if people understand how hard it really is with all the mental things you do, and how physical of a game it is and how much it hurts, and you still have to be smart and do the right things. These kids go out and have fun with it, and continue to do that and when you’re together with your friends. These guys have been together forever, and I want them to go have fun, and if they do that and do the very best they can, then we’ll be fine.”

The winner of the semi-finals game will play the winner of the Aledo-Lake Ridge game at the 5A state championship Friday, Dec. 18 at NRG Stadium in Houston.


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