As the movie Friday Night Lights suggested, Texas is home to the best High School Football in the world. The fact still remains that, when it comes to high school football, Abilene is home to some of the best teams the Lone Star State has to offer. To make my point, all three Abilene high schools have been gone to state championship competitions on numerous occasions. So lets get started to see which school is at the top on the list.
1981 Brownwood High Lions
Winningest Coach In Football In America
Start talking high school football and inevitably coach Gordon Wood and the Brownwood Lions will come up, as they should, because he was head coach for Brownwood High School from 1960 to 1985 and is undoubtedly thee winningest coach in high school history. Wood started the 1981 season with a loss to Abilene Cooper, it would be the only loss the Brownwood Lions would see that season. Brownwood went on to win thirteen victories to claim another district title and their seventh state championship. The Lions opened up the next season with their first win over Abilene Cooper since 1977. That game was also historical because it was Wood's 366th win, which tied Red Franklin's record set back in 1958. When Brownwood won their next game over Weatherford, Coach Wood became the winningest high school football coach in the United States with 367 wins. Coach Wood spent twenty-six seasons at Brownwood before he retired at the age of 71. Altogether Wood won 15 district championships, 2 co-district championships, seven state championships, and an 82% winning record. 1980 played a role in Brownwood Lions history, as Cen-Tex Stadium was renamed Gordon Wood stadium.
2003 Jim Ned Indians
Who ever said “one man does not a team make” had never met Colt McCoy. He is one incredible athlete and he's got what it takes to influence and motivate an entire team, because when ever McCoy got hurt and didn't play the entire team suffered. Colt McCoy attended High School in Tuscola, where he was coached in football by his dad, Brad McCoy. Colt was awarded several different honors throughout his high school career, including being named the Associated Press 2A Offensive MVP and First-team All-state on two different occasions. As Colt played through high school, he managed to complete 536-of-849 passes (63.1%) for 116 touchdowns. He's ranked as the all-time leading passer in Texas Division 2A high school football and he's fourth, in all Texas high school football history. McCoy suffered a concussion on a tackle by a 215-pound Bangs High School running back, his father coach McCoy decided not to let him play. At the time Jim Ned was 8–0, but as McCoy missed the next two games due to the concussion, Jim Ned's season began to unravel. McCoy returned to the game and played in the 2003 Texas 2A State Championship against the San Augustine Wolves whereby Jim Ned lost 28–7. Today NFL player Colt McCoy returns to Abilene and hosts the NFL's kid summer camp.
2004 Wylie High Bulldogs
Lone Star Cup Champions
The voice of the Wylie Bulldogs Trace Michaels told me that, “to watch the 2004 Bulldog team play ball, is like watching a miniature NFL team, these kids played like there was no tomorrow. One of those young men was Case Keenum, who has gone on to break nearly every NCAA record in college football history.” While Keenum played football for Wylie High School his career stats are what legends are made of. Case passed for 6,783 yards and scored 48 touchdowns, he rushed for 41 touchdowns and racked up 2,000 yards in the process. Keenum logged in 42 starts at quarterback and posted a career record of 31 wins and only 11 losses, including the 17 to 14 win over Cuero Gobblers during the Class 3A Division I state championship, Wylie's first and only state title to date, however the school has also won the prestigious Lone Star Cup for academics and athletic accomplishments from UIL for the years ranging from 2000 to 2006.
1996 Cooper High Cougars
High School Coaches Hall Of Fame
Cooper High school has given birth to a couple pro NFL players, one of those young men is Justin Snow the other is Dominic Rhodes who is an incredible player, so much so that he garnered the attention of MTV and ESPN and remember we're talking about a high school athlete here. Dominic Rhodes and the Cooper High School Cougars captured the attention of an entire nation yet the Cooper Cougars have not won a state championship to date and it's understandable why. The 1996 Cougars and Dominic Rhodes had to face off against Austin Westlake and QB Drew Brees, today Brees is one of the NFL's best players and the Saints QB. The State Championship game of 1967, Cooper High School lost to Austin Reagan 19-20, fast forward to 1996 The Cougars lost to Austin Westlake 15-55. The teams of the mid 1990s to the early 2000s were consistently in the playoffs. Randy Allen the Cougars Head Coach since 1991, was named to the Texas High School Coaches Association's Hall of Honor in 2006. History finally made it full circle, Coach Allen was on the 1967 Cooper Cougars team that went to the state championship and lost. On a side not, that '67 Cooper team lost by one point because the officials declined to rule a possible touchdown in favor of the Cooper Cougars on the final play of the game, it was the call that was heard around the state. Because Dominic Rhodes was such a major and positive influence to all his team mates, I feel that the 1996 Cooper High Cougars should be in the number 2 position.
The 2009 Abilene High Eagles team is at the top of my list because they were ranked #2 in the nation and the Eagles were named Team Of The Century. The 2009 AHS team not only went on to win State but set a few football records on their assent to the top. Abilene High School is the most tradition-filled football program in the Lone Star State. Since the very beginning, it was Coached by P. E. Shotwell, for whom Shotwell Stadium is named after, the Eagles won their first state championship in 1923. Dewey Mayhew the school's winning-est coach guided them to their second state title in 1928, and a third one in 1931. Under 1950s coach Chuck Moser, Abilene Eagles won three consecutive state titles in 1954, 1955 and 1956 and 49 consecutive games, which stands as a national record. By 1960s through the 70s and into the 80s, Abilene Highs football program fell into a three decade dry spell. From 1988 to 1995, the Eagles had 8 consecutive losing seasons. However, things started to turn around when coach Steve Warren arrived in 1996. His teams went unbeaten in 2004 and 2005, but lost to Southlake Carroll both years. In the 2007 season, the Abilene Eagles beat Southlake Carroll 22-21 to end their run of consecutive state championships wins. The Eagles advanced to the state semi-finals for the first time in over 50 years. In 2009, the Eagles had an undefeated season and won the Division II State Finals against Katy High School 28-17, giving the Abilene Eagles its 7th State Championship and first in 53 years. The 2009 Abilene Eagles Football team is truly” The team Of The Century”.