Friday Night Lights: LaMarque vs. Coldspring

The cold was unrelenting. I took refuge in the men's restroom at halftime but, as anyone who's spent anytime in a men's public restroom will tell you, eventually the elements are a better option. It wasn't just the cold, it was the constant drizzle and wind that forced many of us to stand near the urinal trough.

I tried to rely my training, i.e. Survivor Man marathons on the Discovery Channel. Unfortunately, I don't think Les Stroud could have anticipated a survival situation with no ability to make a fire or build a shelter. I drank about a gallon of hot chocolate and warmed my hands with hotdogs to fend off the elements.

LaMarque and Coldspring played in the area round of the Texas High School Playoffs on Friday night at Buddy Morehead Stadium in Conroe. The area round of course being the second round, but then if that's news to you you probably don't really care about Texas High School football, freedom, or the Constitution of the United States.

I sat with my new friends from LaMarque, I say sat, though I never actually sat due to the rain that accumulated on the bench seating. I say friends though I never actually spoke to anyone. Cougar fans seemed friendly enough, they are Texas High School football royalty after all, having won state in 1995, '96, '97, '03, '06 and made been runners up in '86, '93, '94, '98, and 2010. LaMarque recently dropped down to 3A in recent years meaning smaller schools to run through to a state date.

Coldspring is the pride of San Jacinto county, and I guess I should say Coldspring Oakhurst Consolidated School District, but then no one else really does. The Trojans have made two appearance in the state title game, losing both. The Cougars and Trojans played in the area round of the playoffs last year. LaMarque won and lost a week later to Navasota. I watched the LaMarque-Navasota game, sitting a few rows from a group of Coldspring fans. I asked how the game went, they felt the referees had gift wrapped the contest for the Cougars or at least that's what I think they meant when they said, "it was some bullshit what the refs did to us." 

That made this year's playoff matchup a bit of revenge for the Trojans. I don't know much about the Trojans but I know this, they're going left. They ran the toss sweep so much to the left that the LaMarque fans were convinced it was a ploy to lull the Cougars to sleep in order to run a bootleg to the right. I would have agreed had the Trojans not had so much success running to the left. Coldspring's offense huddles about three yards off the ball, call the play, turns and sprints into formation and snaps the ball all in about 1.5 seconds. This is made easier by the fact that I never really saw Coldspring line-up anyone at wide receiver. The Trojans employ a bevy of lilipution sized running backs and after 2+ quarters I still couldn't tell them apart. They all ran north/south and they all finished runs.

LaMarque on the other hand lined up in a four wide set all night. This appeared pointless as they only threw to one kid, a tall one named Michael Hardeman. They must have thrown a jump ball/lob pass to him 6-7 times. Other than that the Cougars ran the ball, not effectively, but they none the less ran that sucker. Coldspring's defensive line spent so much time in the Cougars backfield that they eventually started taking snaps.

LaMarque fans weren't optimistic as we huddled for warmth at halftime. As a matter of fact a couple of them had already chalked up the game in the "L" column based on the teams first half performance. Mind you the score was 14-10 Coldspring. The other thing I noticed about LaMarque fans was their trend towards wearing Cowboy gear. All I can think is that the son-bitch Matt Schaub has soured fans on I-45 south.

The game was close through three quarters with Coldspring holding on to a 17-10 lead into the fourth. LaMarque moved down inside the Trojan 5 yard line at the end of the 3rd quarter and couldn't convert. Coldspring took this opportunity to dial up 20 unanswered points, 14 of which I read about later because my frozen self was heading to the house.

Coldspring gets Rockdale next week at A&M Consolidated in the regional semis. LaMarque should be just fine for 2014. Regardless of the outcome there is a certain drama to seeing a high school playing career end. For many of these kids there isn't a college career waiting and patches on the letter jacket serve as a badge of honor. The same can be said for cheerleaders, band members, and the drill team.

If you get a chance you need to get out to a playoff game or nine before the season is over. You could of course knock this out in one weekend by attending the State Title games at Jerryland the 19-21 of December. Tickets are $15 a day for three games each day that you can watch live on Jerry's gigantic TV.

Posted on November 23, 2013 and filed under Sports.