Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Coaches think 9-3A will be tough league
A general thought among many high school football coaches is that nondistrict games do not mean nearly as much as district games, the latter of which actually count toward playoff seedings.
Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers does not subscribe to that theory.
"Those games [nondistrict] count because you have to see how your team is and your strengths and weaknesses, so those games are very important to us," he said. "We feel like we've had good preparation for district play and we feel like we're as healthy as we've been all year."
If that's the case, both Argyle and Sanger have to feel pretty good about their nondistrict showings heading into District 9-3A play today.
The longtime rivals enter the district slate with perfect 5-0 records and face off against a pair of Class 2A move-ups in Aubrey and Pilot Point, the defending Class 2A Division I state champion. The district also includes Gainesville and Whitesboro.
Rodgers, whose Argyle team earned its first-ever outright district title last year in what was arguably the toughest 3A district in the state, said that losing powerhouse programs such as Celina and Prosper to realignment didn't necessarily make the district any easier.
Pilot Point (2-3) returns to Class 3A after a brief stint in 2A, and Aubrey (3-2) is about to start its first district season as a 3A program after the Chaparrals reached new heights last year under head coach G.A. Moore, who is the winningest high school football coach in Texas history.
"We lost two playoff contenders, but we got two playoff contenders back," Rodgers said. "If you combine the record of Pilot Point and Aubrey [from last year], you're talking about 25 or 26 wins from last year so in that respect, yeah they are 2A and they're moving up, but they know how to win games. You can't discount those teams moving up. Yes, it's a big jump and it's a big difference, but they know how to win. They're very worthy opponents and they will compete for the district championship."
Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath has the task tonight of shutting down a Pilot Point offense that has averaged 38.2 points per game, but the Bearcats also haven't shown much of an inclination of stopping opponents either, which bodes well for Galbreath.
The Indians are enjoying an unprecedented start since Galbreath's arrival, and have put up some lofty offensive numbers of their own, averaging 42.2 points per game behind arguably the state's best 3A quarterback in Dane Evans.
Sanger will host the Eagles in the regular-season finale in a game that could decide the district title. But there's a lot of football to be played before then.
"I think you have to give Argyle their due respect for the success they've had in recent years," Galbreath said. "They obviously had a really good team last year and made a good run, and they were the district champ last year so until someone takes that from them, they're the champ. You have to give them their due. Other than them, I think the district's wide open. I think there's some really good football teams out there."
The "second season" begins today, and Rodgers said that after last season's 10-0 regular season and outright district title, he's refocused the goals of his program to extend beyond district championships.
"Without a doubt, I changed all the goals," Rodgers said. "I raised all the goals I had listed in the locker room so we would begin to set the bar higher in our own minds to be thinking of bigger things than what we've already accomplished."
So how big is today's opener as his team hosts Aubrey? In a six-team district, it's bigger than some might think.
"Anytime you look at a six-team district, every win is important," Rodgers said. "I think when you have more teams, you have some comfort there, but when you only play five teams, it's a big deal. One loss could wreck where you want to be at the end of the year. I think Aubrey will be contending for a playoff spot, so it's most important that we get off to a good start."
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com.