November 2004 News Letter Friday Night Madness   |   Round One Bi-District   |   Round 2   Class 2A Division II Region II area playoff   |   Round 3 Regional Quarter Finals   |   Round 4 Regional Semi-Finals
November 2004 News Letter Friday Night Madness

“The Monthly Diamondhead”
November  2004
Editor-Reporter-Chief Cook-Web Slave-
Ron Leonard
E- mail: webmaster@25thaviation.org

Friday Night Madness
"The Journey To A State Championship"
Ron Leonard

If you are to win a 2A State Championship in Texas the road goes through Celina

Celina Football Stadium

After a summer of fun in the sun, and “North Country” salmon fishing in Alaska that would make mere mortals jump for joy I was longing for the rites of fall I was so accustomed to. High school football, not just any high school football would do It had to be high school football Texas style. The third season, the playoffs where anything is possible if you can just get to the playoffs. It is a series of events that encompasses every level of ability and school size, 64 teams from each classification from 6 man football played at the tiniest schools of far west Texas to the 5A monster schools of the Metroplex of Dallas and Houston. From this group of 64 a champion would emerge in December.
     I had done my best to be content with Alaska high school football, but after attending several games I came to the conclusion they just can't play on the level I was accustomed to. It wasn't the kids fault, they have some excellent athletes. It wasn't a coaching problem they have adequate coaches. It boils down to logistics, and a short season, which hindered the development of the players.
     The entire football season is eight weeks long, which includes regular season games (5 or 6) and the playoffs three games max to win state. There are two divisions' big schools and small schools of two leagues each with eight teams per league. Only the worst two fail to make the playoffs. North Pole was the winner this year with an enrollment of 949 Over West Anchorage with an enrollment of 1849. The final score North Pole 44-West 13.
     Logistics to play games is a bear. Fairbanks to Juneau is more than 1,100 miles by air. There are no roads to Juneau so you must fly there. From Anchorage to Fairbanks is slightly more than 400 miles, and it is 250 miles south to Homer, so for financial reasons, as many games as possible are scheduled at Anchorage stadium, which is not far from the airport.     
     After mulling this dilemma over in my mind for several weeks, I just bought the tickets from Anchorage to Dallas ($562). The America West flight would leave on November 11 at 1:40 A.M. arriving at DFW in Dallas at 11:30 A.M.  It was a tough flight being stuck in an exit row where the backs of the seats didn't recline so sleep was out of the question, but we arrived safe and sound. My son picked me up and we were off to Celina where I will spend the next six weeks concentrating on football. Needless to say my wife is not real thrilled about me making this trip while she holds down the fort at home in Alaska.     
     The school at the center of this article is Celina high school, in a town of 1,000 friendly people located 45 minutes north of Dallas in a predominately farming community. That is until August when football season at the local high school starts.
     In August it becomes a sea of orange and white. You have to be at the stadium at 4P.M. to stake out your grandstand seat for a game that starts at 7:30. The crowds can sometimes reach 5,000 with an important game, and parking can be an adventure into the unknown.
     Celina had been state champion on six separate occasions with a state record four in a row in class 2A from 1998 through 2001 with a state record win streak of fifty-seven straight wins, and twenty-five straight playoff victories.
     The 2002 UIL realignment caught them with 3 extra kids on the record so they were moved up to class 3A, where they had to compete with some schools with three times their enrollment. It mattered little, as 2002 would be an undefeated regular season stretching the win streak to sixty-eight before a loss 21-20 in the 3A playoffs to Daingerfield on a missed extra point with no time remaining. For many of the players it was the first taste of defeat ever. Graduating seniors who had never lost even going back to the local peewee league. It was an emotional experience wrought with tears and disappointment.
     2003 brought a 9-1 record with the only loss during the season to arch rival Gainesville who would go on to be the undefeated 3A division I state champ. During the run through the playoff's Celina again would taste defeat, this time to Gilmer who went far into the playoffs in 3A Division II before succumbing to Atlanta in the Semi-Finals.     
That brings us to 2004, and the story at hand. With a record of 10-0 during the regular season (and an enviable 99-3 over the past 6 years) the playoffs start tonight at Bedford's Pennington Field, near Dallas and the Celina Bobcats drop back into class 2A dominance hopefully is again at hand.
As the playoffs progress I will try and document the success of this years Bobcats in both pictures and words, in some kind of expose' that will hopefully conclude the Saturday before Christmas with yet another Celina State Football 2A Championship.
Oh Yeah, I almost forgot my grandson Cody Waller plays right guard. So I guess I have a vested interest in this year's outcome.

  Go Cats!
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