Thursday, December 10, 2009
Canadian going for 3 in a row*
* it's a little bit of apples and oranges
The Canadian Wildcats are attempting this weekend to match what only one Texas Panhandle football team in history has ever done, and that's to win three state titles in a row. Amarillo High accomplished that feat in 1934-36.
But we need to be historically fair to some of Canadian's Panhandle predecessors. The Wildcats are attempting to do this during the era of two state champions per class. Canadian won the 2007 Class 2A Division II state title, and won last year's Class 1A Division I state title and will play Goldthwaite in Lubbock on Saturday for the 1A Division I crown again.
A quick history lesson: Prior to 1990, there was only one state football champion per class as it still is for all other team sports. But 5A added Division I and Division II state champions that year. Class 4A followed in 1996, Classes 3A and 2A in 1998, and the last holdover, Class 1A, in 2006.
What this means obviously is teams double their chances to win state. That wasn't a luxury available to some good teams in the era of one state champion per class, which is the way it should be, by the way.
Here are a few area teams that might have won at least three in a row if playing under today's playoff format:
1. Dumas: Demons won 3A (now 4A) state titles in 1961-62, and then went 10-0 and lost in the first round in 1963.
2. Childress: Bobcats went to the now-3A state finals in 1975-76, and then made three straight runs to the 3A semifinals in 1977-79.
3. Wheeler: Mustangs won Class B (now 1A) state titles in 1977 and 1979, and were state finalist in 1978. For that matter, in 1976, Mustangs were 9-1, but didn't advance to the playoffs when only one team per district could qualify.
4. Stratford: Elks were Class 1A quarterfinalist in 2003, state finalist in 2004 and state champions in 2005.
Would any of them have won three in a row playing under today's rules? Best bet would have been Childress' five-year streak in the 1970s. The Bobcats were one of the smallest enrollment 3A teams in the state and playing much larger schools.
Would Canadian have won the previous two state titles playing under the old rules? Would the Wildcats (15-1) have beaten Division I winner Farmersville (13-2) in 2007 for the overall 2A title? Probably. Would they in 2008? They would have played district rival Stratford for the 1A crown, a team they had lost to in the regular season. Hmmmm.
I'm not taking anything away from Canadian. The Wildcats are on a remarkable run and are simply playing by the rules the UIL has set forth. But in terms of historical perspective, it's apples and oranges.