Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: In a district with open enrollment is Sachse becoming the trendy football school in Garland ISD?
SACHSE — Back when the Sachse football program was getting started and its teams were getting crushed, coach Mark Behrens reminded his assistants that building a winner would take time.
“It’s not a sprint,” he said.
Building a winner would be more like a marathon, and on a road filled with potholes. Sachse, which is now 4-0 and No. 12 in SportsDay’s Class 5A area rankings, won a total of three district games from 2004 to 2008.
But those struggles weren’t a surprise.
Building any football program takes time, and patience is especially important in the Garland ISD, which is one of the rare districts that has open enrollment. Students in the Garland ISD, regardless of where they live, can choose to attend any school.
Not all students get their first choice because of overcrowding and other factors, but according to the Garland ISD, nearly 97 percent get their first, second or third choice of school. For those who wanted to be part of a winning football program, Sachse wouldn’t be high on the list a few years ago.
Senior offensive lineman Adam Hayes attended Webb Middle School, where most students move on to nearby Naaman Forest. Hayes decided to attend Sachse, where his mother teaches and his older brother played football.
“I got teased a lot when I said I was going to Sachse,” said Hayes. “They’d say, ‘Oh man, Sachse’s horrible.’”
That was back in 2008, when Sachse was winless in district play. Garland and Naaman Forest shared the district title that season, and South Garland had won the district title a year earlier. In 2010, Rowlett was the Garland ISD’s top team.
The success of those programs attracted many of the best football players. But Sachse started getting some wins in 2009, when it finished 4-5, and in 2010, when it was 5-5 and came up just short of the playoffs. Sachse broke through a year ago, finishing 8-4 and winning its first playoff game.
“After that season, we now have something to build on,” said senior outside linebacker Isaiah Smith, who has 59 tackles in just four games. “I felt like it opened a lot of doors.”
“This freshman group we have this year,” Behrens said, “we think it’s the best group we’ve ever had.”
As is the case every year, the Sachse coaches didn’t know many of the freshmen before they arrived for fall practice. Two years ago, one of the freshmen was Kent Myers, who attended Schrade Middle School in Rowlett.
“I didn’t know him when he came,” Behrens said, “but I learned his name pretty quick.”
Myers, now a junior, has been stunning in his first four games as quarterback. He’s thrown 14 touchdown passes, without throwing an interception, and has also run for seven scores.
Myers has emerged as the star, but Behrens said the roster as a whole is much different than four or five years ago. That gives Sachse, which has still never beaten Garland or Rowlett, a chance to win its first district title this year.
“Before, it was like, ‘Oh it’s just Sachse,’” Hayes said. “Now it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s Sachse, and they’re good at football, and I want to go play for them.’”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.