Falling for Texas football

My loving relationship with Texas high school football began one fateful morning in the December 1996. Up until that point, Texas football had crossed my path a couple times with her silhouette of aluminum stadiums lighting up the Friday night skies – or signs of GO CHAPS GO catching my eye.

Until that chilly December morning, I had not given these pleasantries much of a second thought. On this particular morning my little brother and I had headed to the Barbershop with my our father.

I don't know if my father planned it or not, but we arrived for our haircuts where the barber offered discounted cuts to local football team players. Also happened to be about the same time that the local team, the Westlake Chaparrals, kicked off against Abilene Cooper in the 5A Division II State Championship on television.

This turned out to be a fortunate coincidence – I believe unplanned – seeing as we did not have cable at home. I pretty much watched my first complete Texas High School Football game as future NFL star Drew Brees and the Chaparrals pummeled Abilene Cooper 55-15 at Texas Stadium to bring the State Title, and a perfect record back to the Hills of Westlake.

With that, my high school football love affair began.

By the end of the school year, I had read Friday Night and had started throwing the football around with my older brother. All though I didn't make the football team my seventh grade year, I attended as many of the Chapparrall home games as I could and watched Westlake games haphazardly from the mayhem of the "Chicken Coop" (area for middle schoolers, in the end zone. In eighth grade, I again tried out for football again and somehow managed to squeeze onto the 40-man B-Team roster.

I don't rember much of that season other than that I ran a lot of plays into the huddle as a wide receiver, and I watched probably two passes meant for me soar over my head. It turns out me playing high school football wasn't meant to be, but my days as a football fan had just started to gain steam.

In high school, the glamor of the football team swept me up in its coat tails with the Friday morning pep rallies and the hard-hitting nights games. I followed my Chaparrals that seemed destined for greatness again as the headed to the State Championship again in 2000 and 2001. Both times they lost, but the excitement leading up to both those games filled the hallways with a buzz that does not compare to anything else I experienced in my schooling days.

Attending college at the University of Washington, I soon felt a void that only the excitement of Texas Football filled. Sure the Washington fans loved their team, but gone were the pep rallies filled with "I had a dream last night..." speeches and the singing of the alma mater, locked arms with my classmates at the end of the games.

Fortunately my little brother kept me updated on Westlake. He eventually served as the mascot for the Chaps his senior year, and I got to see the Chaps return to the big stage at the Texas State 5A Championship game at the Alamodome. Westlake eventually lost to Southlake Carroll 43-29, but the game definitely brought back Texas-sized memories.

Now back in Texas, I am looking forward to the upcoming season and engulfing myself in central Texas high school football. I think the Lake Travis-Westlake game in the second week will be one of the best games of the season for the area

It will likely say a lot how about how each team will do in in November and possibly Demember. Can Lake Travis win three state titles in a row? How will the Westlake players adjust to the MOJO style of coaching brought in by new coach Daren Allman?

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