A beautiful fall Friday night in Texas. Clear skies, mid-70’s, and a slight breeze out of the north. Great weather for a district opener between two of the area’s highest ranked teams, the Allen Eagles and our own hometown Wildcats. Both teams came in undefeated in non-district play. Allen with a wild run & gun, no huddle offense. Plano with a balanced attack equally taking advantage of the legs of running back Rex Burkhead and the arm of left handed quarterback Carson Meger.
The game was as wild and wooly as advertised. Allen’s offense is everything the pundits have been saying over the past few weeks – think Texas Tech if they had better athletes and a sympathetic coach. All you college football folks out there write this name down, Dan Buckner. This senior wide out, or split ends as we called them back in the day, is 6-4, 210 lbs. He will play big time college football somewhere. He’s a Michael Irvin style possession receiver who makes space with his body and gave the Wildcat defense fits all night.
It was a great game but unfortunately the homeboys ran out of time and were outscored 35-29. But beyond the game itself there was a certain pagaentry about tonight’s game. The stadium was filled to it’s 14,000+ capacity. They even opened up the gates to the south end zone grass to accomodate additional spectators. Allen only brought half their band (300 vs. the full contingent of 600). These guys cover the field. I’m not sure where the rest would have found to sit anyway.
As the Plano band was playing March Grandioso, accompanied by hundreds of excited middle schoolers who were being allowed on the turf at Clark Stadium for the first time, watching the stands as thousands of Wildcat fans waved their fans in time with the march it dawned on me that this was how high school football was meant to be. The way it should be played. The way it should be enjoyed.
The Cats may have been outscored Friday night. But there were no losers. Parents, students, townspeople of both cities have much to be proud of. And it was on display for all to see Friday night at Clark Stadium.