El Paso, Texas High School Football: reached a high point in 2014 with the great Texas State Playoff run made by the Canutillo Eagles. No team has come close to these heights since unless you want to count the two straight TAPPS State Championships that Cathedral won in 2016 and 2017.
The 2018 season was no different. El Paso area playoff teams made a quick exit in the State Playoffs. Most were eliminated in the Bi-District round and the rest were gone after the Area round. El Paso, Texas High School football fans often question "Why El Paso teams fare so badly in the Playoffs" or "When will an El Paso team win a 11-man public school state championship?" Not easy questions to answer. Are there too many school Districts? Are there way too many high schools? Are our coaches not good enough? Is there a lack of talent in the area or is the available talent spread too thinly due to so many high schools throughout El Paso? Are our school Districts really committed to winning a State Championship? Are majority of those local El Paso area athletes who choose to participate in high school football not tall, strong or quick enough? All of these are legitimate questions. Now I don't believe our coaches are inferior. There have been coaches in El Paso that left the city and won State Championships in other Texas cities or in other States. Midland Lee was a State powerhouse in the early 1990's when Cedric Benson was their featured running back. The Rebels won two State Titles. Their head coach was a former El Paso, Texas high school football coach John Parchman. I can also go back to the early 1960's when Ysleta was coached by Red Coats. He was very successful at Ysleta High School but felt that the school District wasn't committed to winning championships. He left El Paso, Texas and won State Titles in Colorado.
As to the questions "What about too many high schools or too many school districts." Well Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have just as many schools and just as many school districts. "What about lack of talent or is the talent spread too thinly?" There is football talent in the El Paso area but no one school has an over abundance of talent. Irvin and Andress had great football teams in the early 1990's but then Chapin High School was built causing the Northeast of El Paso, Texas talent to spread out amongst 4 high schools and so the truly great teams were no more. Maybe head football coaches should recruit athletes to their schools. Many schools in the area are magnet schools so there is nothing preventing the recruitment of athletes. I am not naive enough to think that this is not already happening or has happened in the past. And then we come to the questions about "size". That, to me, is a major part of the problem. El Paso area athletes are talented but they are not overly big. They do well against El Paso area competition but then run into out of town teams, especially during the playoffs, that have far more talent and far more size on both sides of the ball. I can think back to Canutillo's great team in 2014 who advanced through 5 rounds in the State Playoffs. The Eagles were very talented but they weren't very big. In the Semi's they finally ran into an Ennis team that had atleast 11 division 1 recruits and great size at the skilled positions. Canutillo played valiantly but they couldn't stop two 6 foot 5 inch receivers.
Food for thought: ever wonder why El Paso, Texas high school soccer or cross-country teams fare so well and go on to win State Championships? Those sports don't require great size. They require speed and agility and El Paso area athletes are very gifted in those two qualities. no doubt about that. "Will an El Paso area team ever win a football public school championship?" I won't say never but it would take a lot to happen. A head coach would have to recruit talent to his school and that recruitment would have to start early on. The head coach would have to have some say in the hiring of middle school coaches and those schools would have to play the same system of football that their future high school uses. Also, for many years, El Paso area head coaches were teachers first and coaches second. The districts finally allowed the head coach just be the athletic director of the school. This was a step in the right direction but many more steps are needed.
So much for my preaching.
In 2018... the local 6A El Paso area teams to have punched their ticket to the playoffs were Franklin, Coronado, Americas and Pebble Hills. Franklin was the only 6A team, from the El Paso area, to defeat an out of town opponent and advance to the 2nd round of the state playoffs. Franklin beat Midland High 79-56 though were eliminated by Euless Trinity in the Area round 28-44. Coronado, Americas, and Pebble Hills were each eliminated in the 1st round by out of town opponents. Coronado lost to Permian 0-42, Americas was defeated by Midland Lee 12-70 and Pebble Hills lost to Amarillo Tascosa 35-57. Now the local 5A El Paso area teams who advanced to the playoffs were Eastwood, Eastlake, Chapin, Del Valle, Parkland, Irvin, Andress, Hanks, Austin, Canutillo, Burges and Horizon. Eastwood, Eastlake and Chapin due to the new realignment faced out of town opponents in the 1st round. Each were eliminated. Eastwood lost to Abilene Cooper 41-49, Eastlake lost to Caprock 17-42, Chapin lost to Lubbock Coronado 17-35. Del Valle got by Amarillo 21-10 advancing to the 2nd round but then fell to Denton Ryan 14-42. Parkland, Andress, Austin, and Burges were eliminated upon facing out of town opponents in the 2nd round. Parkland lost to Canyon Randall 28-38, Andress lost to Wichita Falls Rider 10-41, Austin lost to Lubbock Coronado 0-45, and Burges lost to Northwest 14-48.
2018 Texas State Playoffs Franklin vs Euless Trinity (Photo by David Lord)
Parkland High School: In 2017, Parkland was the only El Paso area 5A team to advance past the Area round. Parkland defeated Lubbock Cooper 45-34 in the 2nd Round. Andress was defeated by Lubbock Monterey 52-14 while Eastlake lost to Abilene Cooper 42-21 and Del Valle was ousted by Lubbock Coronado 52-42. Parkland's playoff run ended the following week when they were defeated by Richland Hills 55-21 in the 3rd Round. Montwood was the only El Paso area 6A team to advance past the 1st Round when the Rams defeated the Midland Bulldogs 42-35 to make it two wins over the Bulldogs in the same season. Montwood was routed in the 2nd Round by the Arlington Colts 77-42 the following week. El Dorado, Coronado, and Pebble Hills all eliminated in the 1st Round. El Dorado was beaten by Midland Lee 63-0, Coronado was ousted by Odessa Permian 50-17 and Pebble Hills fell to San Angelo Central 35-20.
Private School Cathedral High, the Fighting Irish, defended their 2016 TAPPS Division 5 title by going 4-4 during the regular season and then winning their last two games to capture their second straight TAPPS Division 5 Championship.
2017 Parkland: (1st Round) Bi-District - Parkland defeated Burges 45-6 (2nd Round) Area - Parkland defeated Lubbock Cooper 45-34 (3rd Round) Regional - Parkland lost to Richland Hills 21-55
2017 Texas State Playoffs Parkland vs Richland Hills (Photo by David Lord)
Canutillo High School: In 2016, the Eagles had an unbeaten regular season. Bowie had a 9-1 regular season which was second only to the 1971 Bears unbeaten regular season. Several other high schools saw great success during the regular season. El Paso High had a very good first half season and were in the playoff race until the final week of the season. Montwood rebounded from a terrible 2015 season to once again make the playoffs. Several players had great individual seasons. Among the best players in the El Paso area were Joshua Fields at Americas, sophomore gridiron sensation Deion Hankins at Parkland, and Tyquez Hampton at El Dorado who received countless division 1 offers. Now with that said, I would have to say that El Paso area high school football took a step backwards during the 2016 season. This was true during the early season and certainly was very telling during the bi-district and area rounds of the state playoffs. The 6A teams and some of the 5A teams play out of town teams during the first two or three weeks of the season. The out of town competition usually features teams from Las Cruces, the Permian Basin, or the Lubbock area. El Paso area teams went 6-10 against the out of town competition they faced which is not all that bad. Now the post season was a totally different story. None of the 5A El Paso teams advanced past the Area Round. The Americas Trailblazers were the only 6A team to defeat a out of town team in the playoffs and advanced past the Bi-District Round in 6A competition. All in all the 2016 Texas State Playoffs were not very competitive with the majority of El Paso area teams getting beat by huge margins versus out of town competition.
Private School Cathedral High, the Fighting Irish, captured the 2016 TAPPS Division 5 State Championship defeating the Village Vikings 37-14.
2017 Texas State Playoffs El Dorado vs Midland Lee (Photo by Matthew B Leon)
Eastlake High School: The Falcons entered the 2015 season with high hopes of advancing deep into the Texas 5A State Playoffs. The Falcons had reached Regional (3rd Round) in 2014 and returned many of those players to the 2015 squad. The season didn't start well as Eastlake was defeated soundly by the El Dorado Aztecs 49-70 in the first game on their schedule. El Dorado may have been the Sun City's best team in 2015 as the Aztecs won the 1-6A District Title. Eastlake rebounded from their season opening loss and went on to win 11 straight games, most by very lopsided scores. The Falcons were the best team in District 2-5A and may well have been the city's best team by the end of the season. Eastlake cruised through the regular season and entered the Texas State Playoffs on a high note. The Falcons crushed the Bowie Bears 62-14 in its Bi-District match-up and then went on to defeat the Lubbock Cooper Pirates 24-21 in the Area Round of the Playoffs. In the Regional we saw Eastlake pitted against Lake Dallas. The two teams were mirror images of each other. Both teams featured balanced offenses and very good defenses. This proved to be true in the first half as both teams battled each other in some very bad weather conditions. Eastlake took an early 7-0 lead and a 14-7 advantage in the second quarter before falling behind 21-14 in the second stanza. The Eastlake Falcons tied the game at 21-21 and had an opportunity to take a half-time lead but a bad snap foiled a field goal attempt. The second half of the game would see Lake Dallas prove to be the better of the two teams. The team out of Dallas shut down Eastlake's offense and scored 30 second half points to win the Regional match-up 51-21.
2015 Eastlake: (1st Round) Bi-District - Eastlake defeated Bowie 62-14 (2nd Round) Area - Eastlake defeated Lubbock Cooper 24-21 (3rd Round) Regional - Eastlake lost to Richland Hills 21-51
2015 Texas State Playoffs Eastlake vs Lubbock Cooper (Photo by Andres Acosta)
The 2014 Canutillo Eagles made El Paso, TX Football History!
The year of 2014 was a very good one for El Paso area high school football. Eastlake High School and Del Valle High School each made it to the third round (Regional) of the state playoffs before being defeated by narrow margins. History was made by the Canutillo High School Eagles when they became the first El Paso area UIL 11 man football team to reach the semi-final round of the 5A Division II Texas Football playoffs. Canutillo actually made El Paso area football history when they defeated Azle High School 17-10 in the third round (Regional) of the playoffs and advanced to the fourth round (Quarter) to play Everman. The historic march continued when the Eagles defeated Everman and advanced to the Semi-Finals to play Ennis. I make the distinction of UIL 11 man football because in 6 man football Jesus Chapel, Faith Christian, and Immanuel Christian have all won state titles in the private and parochial state playoffs. Jesus Chapel has won 4 titles, Faith Christian has won 2 championships, and Immanuel Christian has won one championship. I will talk about these titles later in this chapter. I will now discuss the seasons of the Eastlake Falcons, Del Valle Conquistadores and the Canutillo Eagles in more detail below.
Eastlake High School: The Falcons are the newest high school in El Paso but have made the playoffs in 2 of their 3 years of varsity competition. Eastlake finished the season with an 8-4 record after losing to Everman High School 20-31 in the regional stage of the playoffs. The Falcons led this game going into the 4th quarter. The 8-4 record was quite remarkable when you consider that Eastlake lost each of their first three games of the season before coming together as a team and putting together 8 straight wins. The Falcons dropped contests to El Paso El Dorado 23-31, Las Cruces Onate 14-21, and Amarillo Palo Duro 0-35. Eastlake's most impressive victory during the season was probably against Del Valle High School. The Falcons playoff run began with a Bi- District win over Bowie High School 41-7. Eastlake then defeated Lubbock Cooper High School 32-14 in the Area round before losing to Everman in the Regional round. The future is very bright for the Falcons and I look for them to be a perennial playoff contender.
2014 Eastlake: (1st Round) Bi-District - Eastlake defeated Bowie 41-7 (2nd Round) Area - Eastlake defeated Lubbock Cooper 32-14 (3rd Round) Regional - Eastlake lost to Everman 20-31
2014 Texas State Playoffs Eastlake vs Everman (Photo by Bobby J Reyes)
Del Valle High School: The Conquistadors have a lengthy, proud football tradition and have been playoff contenders for many years. The 2014 team was led by highly regarded and sought after quarterback Steven Montez. Montez was recruited by many colleges before committing to the University of Colorado. Del Valle finished the season with a record of 11-2 after losing to 2013 state champion and currently ranked #1 in the state, Aledo High School 21-37 in the Regional round of the playoffs. Del Valle's only loss during the regular 2014 season was to the aforementioned Eastlake Falcons. The Conquistadors narrowly defeated Chapin High School 42-35 in a Bi-District matchup. Chapin is another of El Paso's very strong football teams. Del Valle then defeated Amarillo Palo Duro 38-17 in Area stage of the playoffs. Palo Duro had defeated Eastlake earlier in the season. The Area victory would set up a Regional matchup with perennial state power Aledo. The Conquistadors played a very respectable game against the defending state champions before falling 21-37. I would expect Del Valle to continue its playoff run for many more years to come.
2014 Del Valle: (1st Round) Bi-District - Del Valle defeated Chapin 42-35 (2nd Round) Area - Del Valle defeated Amarillo Palo Duro 38-17 (3rd Round) Regional - Del Valle lost to Aledo 21-37
2014 Texas State Playoffs Del Valle vs Aledo (Photo by Bobby J Reyes)
Canutillo High School: The 2014 Eagles accomplished what no other El Paso area UIL 11 man football team had done before. Canutillo became the first El Paso area team to make it to the fourth round (Quarter Final) of the state playoffs and then continued their historic march with a Semi-Final match up against Ennis High School. The Eagles had come close to making history in 2013 when they led Wichita Falls at halftime of their Regional matchup before turning the ball over too much in the second half ending their playoff run. The loss left a bitter taste in Canutillo's mouth and the Eagles were determined to make amends in 2014. The 2014 season was a remarkable one for Canutillo.Their only loss was to Franklin High School 13-24 in the second game of the year. Many observers thought Canutillo was the better of the two teams but lost the game because of turnovers and questionable officiating. The Eagles then ran off 12 straight wins, most by very lopsided scores. The Eagles playoff run began with a Bi-District victory over Ysleta High School 63-28. Canutillo would then defeat San Angelo Lakeview 27-10 in an Area round match up. This set up a Regional matchup with Azle High School. The Eagles were very confident going into the game with the
Dallas area Azle squad. The Hornets featured a dual threat running game but the strength of the Canutillo squad was its defense. The Eagles shut down Azle and won the Regional matchup 17-10 and thereby created El Paso area football history. A Quarter Final matchup against Everman was next up for the Eagles. Everman had defeated Eastlake High School the week before to advance to the game. Canutillo continued its historic playoff run on December 6th, 2014 with a 17-10 victory over Everman High School. The Eagles never trailed in the game leading 7-0 at halftime and 14-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Everman tied the game 14-14 in the 4th quarter which allowed Canutillo's placekicker, Frank Avila, to become the game's hero. Avila calmly and confidently kicked a 22 yard field goal with 27 seconds left in the game and sent the Eagles soaring into the state semi-finals with a 17-10 victory over Everman. Next up would be the battle with perennial state power Ennis High School.
Canutillo had certainly made El Paso area football history. Not only had the Eagles won four playoff games but now they were going to play Ennis for an opportunity to play for 5A Division II State Championship. I had never seen the citizens of the El Paso area, not only
Canutillo fans, so proud of their local high school team. You could see Go Eagles signs all over the city. Orange became the favorite color in the city. Stories about the Eagles dominated the newspapers and local television newscasts for the entire week leading up to the game. The Canutillo Independent School District decided to cancel school on December 12th to allow students to make the trip to Lubbock, Texas to support their Eagles. The fans were cautiously optimistic that Canutillo would be victorious over Ennis. A victory over the Lions would not be an easy accomplishment. Ennis is located south of Dallas. The Lions have a proud football tradition winning 4 state championships in the past and reaching the state semi-finals in 2013 before losing to eventual state champion, Aledo. The Lions had a very strong football team which had at least 8 players that had already signed to play major college football. Ennis entered the game with a 12-2 record with 12 straight wins. Canutillo entered the game with a 14-1 record winning 13 straight games. Both teams featured very strong
defenses but Ennis had a much better offensive team. Canutillo had played several teams in the playoffs that were run dominated. The Lions of Ennis had a balanced offense and could run and pass the football equally well. It would be the passing game that would prove to be too much for Canutillo. The Eagle defense played well in the first half but could not stop the Ennis passing attack which featured a pair of 6 foot 6 inch receivers. The Lions used their height to catch several passes that led to 3 touchdowns in the first half. Canutillo displayed a gutsy, no quit attitude during the first half and showed the Lions that they were in a battle for four quarters. Canutillo kicked a field goal late in the first half that made the score 13-10 and seemingly would give the Eagles the momentum going into the third quarter but unfortunately Ennis would mount an 80 yard touchdown drive in the last two minutes of the half to take a 20-13 lead into halftime. The third quarter would feature even better defense by both teams but it was evident that Canutillo's was tiring out. Ennis would prove the stronger of the
two teams shutting out the Eagles in the second half and eventually winning the game by a 13-41 score. Canutillo's historic season came to an end on December 12th but the Eagles had made the city of Canutillo, Texas and the whole El Paso area very proud. I don't know if another Sun City area team will ever equal or surpass the record set by the 2014 Eagles but the team has shown the rest of Texas that El Paso area teams can play football. The Canutillo players should keep their heads up and be very proud of their season. The season may be over but the Canutillo players have made a lot of memories that will last a life time. Canutillo's football team was dominated by seniors but I have no doubt that the Eagles will remain a force in El Paso for many years to come. The following is Canutillo's 2014 playoff run: 2014 Canutillo: (1st Round) Bi-District - Canutillo defeated Ysleta 63-28
(2nd Round) Area - Canutillo defeated San Angelo Lake View 27-10
(3rd Round) Regional - Canutillo defeated Azle 17-10.
(4th Round) Quarter - Canutillo defeated Everman 17-14
(5th Round) Semi - Canutillo lost to Ennis 13-41
2014 Texas State Playoffs Canutillo vs Everman (Photo by Jamey Olmstead)
This writer would like to personally thank the Canutillo Eagles for a season to remember and for proving that teams from El Paso can play football.
El Paso Area Football History Prior to 2014
A sad but true fact: No El Paso area public school 11 man football team has ever won a Texas State Championship. In fact, no El Paso area public school 11 man football team has ever advanced past the third round of the playoffs. Why can't an El Paso team win the state title? This is a question that is debated in many quarters including on this very excellent website, EP GRIDIRON.com. I will not answer that question for you in this book other than to say that I believe that there are many reasons, the main one being that there isn't a strong enough commitment from the main school districts to do so. I plan to write another book reliving some of the great football games played in El Paso during my life time. My plan is devote a chapter in that book to answer the question of why an El Paso team can't win a state title. Will an El Paso team ever win a state football title? Perhaps, but not unless there are some major changes in the way the school districts view the question. Again, I will not discuss those changes. Since I can't write about any state titles in El Paso 11 man football, I've decided to write about the teams that have come the closest.The 1937 Austin High School Panthers is the only team in El Paso history to finish a season undefeated (a season of 10 or more games). The story of the 37 Panthers is well documented in Ray Sanchez's excellent book, The Good, The Bad, and The Funny of El Paso Sports History. I highly recommend you read Ray's book if you want the full story of the 37 Austin team. The Panthers finished that season with an 11-0-1 record with a 3-0 playoff victory over Abilene. Austin's next playoff opponent was Wichita Falls. The game ended in a 7-7 tie but the Wichita team advanced in the playoffs because they beat Austin 3-2 on penetrations. A penetration, for those of you that are not familiar with the way playoff games used to be decided, is when a team gets inside its opponent's 20 yard line. Austin's season ended on this archaic paper statistic. Fortunately, today's high school and college games are now decided on the field in overtime periods. No team will ever have to suffer the disappointment of losing a playoff game due to penetrations. Several other El Paso teams have also won or loss games because of penetrations----Eastwood, Coronado, and Bowie just to name a few. Nobody will ever know if the 37 Panthers would have won the state championship if they had beaten Wichita Falls.
Wichita Falls was beaten by Longview 12-19 in the state championship game.
Several El Paso teams have made it to the 3rd RD of the State Playoffs. I have listed the year, team, and their playoff games below:
2013 Canutillo: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat El Paso High 45-7 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Canyon Randall 28-21 (3rd Round) Regional - Defeated by Wichita Falls 10-19
2013 Texas State Playoffs Canutillo vs Canyon Randall (Photo by Jamey Olmstead)
Canutillo led Wichita Falls 10-7 at half time. The second half was a disaster for the Eagles with interceptions, fumbles, and a field goal attempt that was blocked and returned for a touchdown. Canutillo had plenty of chances to win this game but was unable to take advantage of them.
I have just finished listening to the Canutillo-Wichita Falls game (November 30, 2013). No El Paso public school 11 man football team has yet to reach the fourth round of the state playoffs as of this date. There have been many chances and several El Paso teams have been close and yet the coveted state championship title remains only a dream.
2012 Burges: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Canutillo 47-28 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Hereford 35-28 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost to Wichita Falls Rider 35-64
2012 Texas State Playoffs Burges vs Hereford (Photo by David Lord)
The Burges Mustangs enjoyed one of the best seasons in their long history in 2012. The Mustangs, led by brothers Aaron and Alvin Jones, finished the season with a 10-3 record with playoff wins against Canutillo and Hereford. The only defeats for Burges occurred in the second week to Americas 24-28 and in the fourth week to Chapin 30-7. The Mustang's season would end with a loss to Wichita Falls Rider 64-35 in the third round of the playoffs. Wichita Falls Rider would eventually lose to Lancaster 19-26 in the state semi-finals. Aaron and Alvin Jones would both sign with UTEP and Aaron had a very successful 2013 season for the Miners before a season ending injury.
2009 Chapin: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Canutillo 30-7 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Wolfforth Frenship 33-11 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost to Denton Ryan 21-61
2009 Texas State Playoffs Chapin vs Denton Ryan (Photo by David Lord)
The 2009 Chapin Huskie season got off to a rocky start. The Huskies would lose their first two games to Las Cruces Mayfield 0-38 and Americas 16-17. Chapin would then win their next 10 games before losing to Denton Ryan 21-61 in the third round of the playoffs.
2008 Parkland: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Austin 44-41 (2nd Round) Area - Beat San Angelo Lakeview 49-41 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost to Stephenville 13-51
2008 Texas State Playoffs Parkland vs San Angelo Lakeview (Photo by David Lord)
The 2008 Parkland Matadors lost 3 games during the regular season by a combined total of 14 points. Parkland was defeated in the first game of the year by Hanks High School 21-22. The Matadors would lose to Del Valle 31-34 and then to Riverside High School 28-38 but managed to make into the playoffs and advanced to the 3rd round with wins over El Paso Austin and San Angelo Lakeview.
2006 Chapin: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Riverside 46-20 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Hereford 53-30 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost to Wichita Falls Rider 0-48
2006 Texas State Playoffs Chapin vs Hereford (Photo by David Lord)
The 2006 edition of the Chapin Huskies finished the season 12-1 after sailing through a 10-0 regular season and playoff wins against Riverside 46-20 and Hereford 53-50. The Huskies were defeated by Wichita Falls Rider 0-48 in the third round of the playoffs. Wichita Falls Rider would lose to Wolfforth Frenship in the next round of the playoffs.
2005 Franklin: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat San Angelo 28-14 (2nd Round) Regional - Beat Mansfield Summit 41-38 (3rd Round) Quarter - Lost to Euless Trinity 14-63
2005 Texas State Playoffs Franklin vs Euless Trinity (Photo by David Lord)
The Franklin Cougars of 2005 finished the season with a 12-2 record losing only to Lubbock Monterey 31-14 in the third game of the season and to Euless Trinity 14-63 in the third round of the playoffs. Euless Trinity was led by future UTEP quarterback, Trevor Vittatoe, and won the state championship. The loss to Trinity by a score of 14-63 shouldn't come as a surprise. They beat everybody on their regular season schedule by at least 15 points with most of the games being complete routs.
2005 Chapin: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Parkland 34-31 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Big Spring 62-43 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost Aledo 35-41 in overtime
2005 Texas State Playoffs Chapin vs Aledo (Dominique Hamilton FB Images)
The Chapin Huskies of 2005 finished the season with an 11-2 record losing only to Coronado 28-38 in the second game of the season and to Aledo 35-41 in overtime in the third round of the playoffs. Aledo was defeated by Wolfforth Frenship 7-21 the following week.
2004 Texas State Playoffs Riverside vs Wichita Falls Rider (Photo by David Lord)
The 2004 Riverside Rangers sailed through the season unbeaten with 12 straight wins. The season came to a disappointing end when the Rangers were defeated by Wichita Falls Rider 7-49 in the third round of the playoffs. Wichita Falls Rider would eventually lose to Aledo 35-40.
2003 Riverside: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Irvin 14-6 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Amarillo Palo Duro 20-7 (3rd Round) Quarter - Lost to North Crowley 8-35
The 2003 season didn't start off on a very positive note for the Rangers. Riverside was defeated in their first two games of the season by Bel Air 7-19 and by Irvin 20-22 before reeling off 10 straight wins to cruise into the playoffs. The Rangers would finish the season with a 10-3 record when they were beaten by North Crowley 8-35. North Crowley would go on to win the state championship by beating Bay City 20-6.
2001 Del Valle: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Coronado 28-12 (2nd Round) Area - Beat Abilene High 14-10 (3rd Round) Regional - Lost to De Soto 28-56
The 2001 Conquistadors finished the season with a 10-2 record only losing to Lubbock Coronado 16-24 in the third game of the season and to De Soto 28-56 in the third round of the playoffs. De Soto would lose to Euless Trinity 21-31 the following week. Euless Trinity would lose to Lufkin 23-27 in the state semi-finals and Lufkin would eventually beat Austin Westlake 38-24 to win the state championship. El Paso fans might remember that former UTEP quarterback, Trevor Vittatoe played for and led Euless Trinity to a state championship in 2005.
1990 Andress: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Bel Air 28-7 (2nd Round) Regional - Tied Midland Lee and advanced on penetrations (3rd Round) Quarter - Lost to Arlington Lamar 7-49
A strong case could be made to say that the 1990 Andress Eagles was the best football team in El Paso history. The Eagles started the season 11-0 with a victory 10-3 victory over powerhouse Midland Lee in the first game of the season. Andress was seldom pressed in the regular season with most games ending in blowouts. One of the stars of this team was Ray Mickens who went on to be an All American at Texas A&M and then on to a long career with the New York Jets of the NFL. Andress beat Midland Lee in the playoffs on penetrations before losing to Arlington Lamar in the third round of the playoffs. Arlington Lamar would go on to beat Dallas Carter 28-7 in the state semi-finals before losing to Aldine 10-27 in the in the quarterfinals.
1979 Coronado: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat Bel Air 13-6 (2nd Round) Regional - Beat Lubbock Monterey 24-8 (3rd Round) Quarter - Lost to Lewisville 7-15
Another very good Coronado team, some people believe that this T-Bird team was the best to ever play in El Paso. The Thunderbirds finished the season with a 10-2 record losing to Odessa Permian 8-14 in the first game of the season and to Lewisville 7-15 in the final game of the season. Lewisville would go on to lose to Temple 3-0. Temple would eventually win the 1979 state title by beating Houston Memorial 28-6.
Fabens Wildcats solid year and closed it out with solid playoff wins over two out of town opponents in Kermit and Stamford defeating them by an average of 27 points. Faben fell to Childress in the 3rd round of the quarterfinals.
The T-Birds of 1975 may have been the best team in El Paso high school football history. Coronado was coached by Jack Quarles and featured future Texas Longhorn, Lance Taylor. Coronado finished the season with a 10-1-2 record. The only blemishes on Coronado's record were a 3-0 loss to Odessa Permian, a 6-6 tie with Eastwood, and a 14-14 tie with Odessa Permian which resulted in Permian advancing in the playoffs because of a 3-2 lead in penetrations. Coronado had a chance to win this game as they were on the Permian 31 yard line late in the fourth quarter. Coach Quarles decided to go for a first down instead of trying a 47 yard field goal, not believing the T-Birds could kick the winning field goal. Permian stopped Coronado's attempt to make the first down. Ironically, the T-Birds would have won the game if they had been successful in making a first down inside the Permian 20 yard line. The game would have been tied 3-3 in penetrations and Coronado would have won the game on a 10-9 lead in first downs. No one can know if the Thunderbirds would have gone on to win the 1975 state title. Permian was defeated 10-20 by Port Neches Grove in the championship game and finished state runner up. Port Neches Grove was ranked #1 in the state for most of the 1975 year. In 1996, Lance Taylor would become the only player from El Paso to be elected to Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
1973 Coronado: (1st Round) Bi-District - Beat El Paso Parkland 43-0 (2nd Round) Regional - Tied Hereford 7-7 and advanced on penetrations (3rd Round) Quarter - Lost to Arlington Houston 6-17
The Thunderbirds of 73 finished the season with a 6-5-2 record but caught fire at the right time. Coronado lost 4 of their first five games (Odessa Permian 8-36, Las Cruces Mayfield 0-3, Amarillo Tascosa 6-28, and Hobbs, New Mexico 20-27) and then went on to win 5 of their next 6 games with the only blemish being a 21-21 tie with Austin High School. The Thunderbirds then went on to beat Parkland and tie Hereford 7-7 in the playoffs.Coronado advanced into the next round of the playoffs because they led Hereford on penetrations 5-3. The 73 T-Birds became the first El Paso team to win a regional final and advance to the third round of the playoffs.
You may have noticed above that I said that no El Paso public school 11 man football team has ever won a state championship. The statement that no El Paso team has ever won a state championship is not true. In fact, one school, El Paso Jesus Chapel has won four state titles and finished runner up two more times. Jesus Chapel, located on Album Street on the East side of town, is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial School (TAPPS). Jesus Chapel's football championships have come in 6 man football. The years and scores of the title games are listed below:
6 MAN FOOTBALL
1990 J C: Jesus Chapel was 6-0 and defeated Midland Christian 58-34 John Johnson, Billy Stern, Chris McNeely, T.L. Moore, Eddie Martinez, Ben Ortiz, Eric Williams, Mike Abeel, and Dahn Green were named to the All-State Team.
1991 J C: Jesus Chapel was 5-2 and lost to Midland Christian 44-39 (runner up) Sal Portillo, Chris Eskew, Eric Williams, Eddie Martinez were named to the All-State Team.
1993 J C: Jesus Chapel was 5-4 and lost to Midland Christian 74-34 (runner up) Ruben Cadena, Steve Cadena, David Moore, Tony Bos, and Kareem Cager were named to the All-State Team.
1998 J C: Jesus Chapel was 7-1 and beat Greenville Christian 72-52 Gabe Serrano, Nathan Hon, and Cory Sears were named to the All-State Team.
1999 J C: Jesus Chapel was 8-0 and beat Watauga Harvest Christian 57-20 Eric Fierro, Sam Serrano, Brice Helton, and Brett Mehl were named to All-State Team.
2000 J C: Jesus Chapel was 8-0 and beat Dallas Metropolitan 70-46 Eric Fierro, Brett Mehl, Brice Helton, Chris Gonzalez, Joey Moreno, and Rudy Webber were named to the All-State Team.
Two other private schools in El Paso have won state championships in 6 man football. Those schools are:
2010 I M C: El Paso Immanuel Christian who finished the season with an 8-4 record and beat Lucas Christian 89-63 to win the TCAF (Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship)State Championship.
2006 and 2007 F C: El Paso Faith Christian won TCAL (Texas Christian Athletic League) State Championships in 6 man football. The 2006 team was 10-0 and beat Midland Trinity 92-61 to win the title. The 2007 team was 8-3 and beat Midland Trinity 44-22 to win the title.
There is one more high school I want to mention if you will allow me the liberty to geographically stretch what is generally meant by El Paso area. Fort Hancock is a little Texas town that is approximately 52 miles southeast of El Paso. The only reason that I am including Fort Hancock in this chapter is because they usually play a couple of El Paso teams to round out their schedule. Fort Hancock is a UIL member and plays 6 man football. They have won five state titles and also set a consecutive win streak of 70 games. The year and the opponent for each of Fort Hancock's state championships is listed below:
1986-1987 F H: Fort Hancock defeated Christoval 50-36
1988-1989 F H: Fort Hancock defeated Zephyr 76-30
1989-1990 F H: Fort Hancock defeated Jayton-Girard 48-24
1990-1991 F H: Fort Hancock defeated Christoval 66-17
1991-1992 F H: Fort Hancock defeated Christoval 66-14
1992-1993 F H: Fort Hancock lost to Panther Creek 26-54 (runner up)
I will not ask you to give me the liberty to geographically stretch the El Paso area to include the high schools in Las Cruces, New Mexico (even though they play El Paso teams each year) because their state championships have occurred in New Mexico. I will only take the opportunity to congratulate Las Cruces Mayfield with 8 state titles, Las Cruces High with 8 state titles, and Las Cruces Onate with 1 state title. Congratulations on a job well done and for your proud and ongoing football heritage.
OTHER SOURCES: Ray Sanchez's The Good, The Bad, and The Funny of El Paso Sports History El Paso Times El Paso Herald Post uiltexas.org tshol.org inductee list texasalmanac.com tapps.net maxpreps.com Wikipedia.org