FOR NEARLY A CENTURY, THE MAJOR Texas high school football programs dotted the state: Tyler in East Texas, Converse Judson in San Antonio, Temple in Central Texas and Plano in North Texas.
In a tectonic shift of power, many of the major
programs now share attendance boundaries instead of geographic regions in the same state.
Many of the top programs have established
themselves in North Texas, all residing in close
proximity to less than a half-dozen major highways. There still are plenty of top teams around
the state, but the virtual sweep by North Texas
high schools of state football titles in 2013
points toward an unusual concentration that’s
not gone unnoticed.
The results are known. The causes are more
a confluence of population growth and culture
but not nearly as definitive as the 2013 state
championship results in which North Texas
schools Allen, Cedar Hill, Denton Guyer and
Aledo swept the top classifications.
The foundation has been created as schools
have grown in size, coaching trees have blossomed and the sheer number of schools has
multiplied. In an area where four schools (Plano,
Garland, Celina and Southlake Carroll) once accounted for 26 state titles between them, there
are now 22 state titles by 11 schools in the last
13 years. The North Texas area accounts for
nearly 30 percent of the 245 schools aligned in
the UIL’s new Class 6A.
Cleary, the odds of winning a state football
lottery has gone up.
Across North Texas, there are good programs
stocked with an abundance of players and coaches with plenty of resources. From Denton Guyer
to the north of downtown Dallas to Cedar Hill
on the south side is a distance of just under 50
miles. The two schools, which played each other
in non-district the last two years, have three state
titles and another state final appearance (Cedar
Hill lost to Katy in 2012) in the last two seasons.
Heading west, Denton Guyer to Aledo is even
The Dallas-Fort Worth high school football
scene is cashing in on championships
BY DAVID MCNABB
a shorter trip. Since 2010, this pair of schools,
which have scrimmaged each other the last four
years, have won five state titles. If you want more
evidence to the North Texas theory of football
evolution, add Denton Ryan and Guyer to the mix
as each made state final appearances in 2010.
While North Texas schools grow in enrollment
and potency, all cannot be attributed solely to
Abilene coach Steve Warren has been successful at competing with North Texas programs
in early playoff rounds and won the 2009 5A DII
“I can honestly say, I’ve never gotten off the bus
back home and said, ‘We lost that game because
they have more kids than us,’ ” Warren said. “We
all know numbers are important. But there are
just so many good programs that give a lot of
themselves for a chance to win a state title.”
Of course, some will also note that having
the UIL state championships at Arlington’s AT&T
Stadium should be considered in the mix as well.
But, while many college coaches will tell you
the Houston area has the highest concentration
of top college prospects, North Texas schools
producing the 2013 Class 5A Division I and II
state champs, the Class 4A Division I and II
state champs and the Class 3A Division II state
champs is hard to ignore when researching successful programs.
While there may not be a Class 6A, 5A and
4A sweep for the upcoming 2014 season,
North Texas teams will provide a bulk of the
state champions. And while pointing to the Dallas Cowboys’ home as a factor, it’s also worth
noting that Odessa Permian in far West Texas
actually was the first to popularize the motivation of reaching Texas Stadium as the home of
the Cowboys in the 1970s and 1980s.
Matt Wixon of The Dallas Morning News
noted North Texas’ growing track record has
been building for many years. He wrote:
The North Texas success is shared among
many programs with diverse playing styles.
While the record-setting offenses of Carroll get
a lot of attention, there are also power-running
programs such as at Trinity to defensive-minded
state champs such as Cedar Hill.
But some of the North Texas success also
is attributed to the cycle of change. There are
many coaches who have honed their programs
after decades of competing against the dominating nature of other statewide programs.
McKinney ISD athletic director Shawn Pratt
played for Plano under Tom Kimbrough. Pratt is
one of among many in a generation of coaches
Many of the top high
school football programs
themselves in North Texas.