There is always excite-ment and hope that good things will happen when the high school football season rolls around in August, and in that sense, at least, 2012 has been like any other year. This time around, there was hope that Nolan County’s four teams would all exceed the expectations — in this case, the lack of expecta-tions — of the so-called ex-perts. However, it hasn’t happened. In fact, victories have been hard to come all year while the losses have piled up. Only Sweetwater (4-6) has won more than twice. The Mustangs won just once in their last five games, and finished with a 27-14 loss to Brownwood last Friday — a loss which ended their hopes of reach-ing the Class 3A playoffs.
Of course, that’s the goal of every high school foot-ball team, and sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
Winning has been a hab-it at Sweetwater, Roscoe, Blackwell and Highland for most of the past two decades, and you can be sure that their players and coaches are trying their best to get back to that level.
But sometimes you have to have adversity — and in some cases a lot of adversi-ty — before attaining that success. Sweetwater’s bid for the playoffs was hampered by injuries in the past month to several of the team’s starters, but they still had a respectable effort against a good Brownwood team. A 49-20 loss to Sny-der the previous week was the Mustangs’ only lopsided district defeat. Quarterback Taylor Jones had over 1,000 yards passing this season, and the Mustangs gradual-ly gained consistency on offense, while the defense had a very solid year, with two shutouts to its credit and two others al-lowing less than 10 points.
But it has been hard to find a lot of positives for Highland (2-7), Blackwell (1-8) and Roscoe (0-9) this season as all three schools have gone through rebuilding seasons. Blackwell claimed its only victory two weeks ago due to a forfeit, while Roscoe will have to defeat Rotan this Friday to avoid a win-less year. Actually, Black-well can make the playoffs by beating Panther Creek on Friday but it may be a tough chore — Panther Creek is favored by 45 points.
But trust me, the winning will return for all of these schools.
Just three years ago, all four Nolan County teams made the playoffs. But right now, the talent level is not where it used to be and many of the more talented players still have a season or two to mature. Sweetwater also competes in one of the toughest Class 3A districts in the state, while High-land is now a small six-man Division I school after going to the state finals in 2009 as one of the biggest schools in Division II.
Basketball season is ab-out to begin, so the excite-ment and optimism will now switch to the hardcourt. Several of the players who have been out on the gridiron the past four months will now be taking their talents to the gym and hopefully, they will find more success. The same wish, of course, goes for the athletes who didn’t compete in football (or volleyball, in the case of some of the Sweetwater girls).
Hopefully, these athletes will get your support whether they win or not. But from this corner, here’s hoping that 2012 — it’s almost here — brings many more wins.