ESPN Documentary Featuring 6-Man Football
Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com

 

Among a handful of national and state records currently held by the Richland Springs Coyotes includes one of the longest win streak in six-man football, 45 wins from 2010 to 2012 (beating their previous record of 38), the national record for career touchdown passes (230 by Tyler Ethridge from 2004-2007), but also the state record for most state championships in six-man football (tied with Southlake Carroll and Katy for 11-man); the Coyotes improved on this record with their eighth overall title, downing Balmorhea 96-50 in the 1A DII state championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The Coyotes breezed through their regular season before reaching the pinnacle match at Jerryworld, allowing an average of 8.2 points per game- this number is lowered to 4.1 when removing RS’ 86-36 win over a quality Calvert team. The Coyotes faced two teams ranked in the preseason top ten in non-district play, and downed both with ease; topping Zephyr on the road in week two 52-6, followed in week five by a 49-0 shutout over Sterling City. This was one of Richland Springs’ four shutouts in 2016, including two of the three district 13-1A DII opponents (Cherokee and Rochelle).

The Coyotes recorded more blowout wins in the non-district portion, from the fewest points scored in the win over Sterling City, to the most points scored, the aforementioned 86-36 shootout over Calvert. The Coyotes offense scored an astounding average of 60.1 points per game in this portion of the schedule. During this time the Coyotes defense was stellar as well, allowing only six (twice), eight, seven and 14 points along with two of the four shutouts in non-district play.

The playoffs as we Texas high school football fans know, are a different beast; this was no different for Richland Springs, but as they seemingly are year in and year out, the Coyotes were up to the task. RS defeated some of the top teams in 1A DII last postseason, including back-to-back district champion Milford in area 78-43, and a 92-62 shootout over recent powerhouse Crowell in the semifinals.

An up-and-coming Balmorhea team played the Coyotes close in the first quarter of the state title game, as Richland Springs led 24-22 entering the second. Other than a 20 point showing by the Bears in the fourth quarter, it was all RS from then on, as the Coyotes went on to claim the state title early, as the 45 point mercy rule kicked in with a Hutton Lusty 41 yard run with 2:03 to go in the fourth to seal the deal.

Key Losses

December 14, 2016 – Texas UIL State 1A Div. II championship game between Balmorhea and Richland Springs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Image Credit: John Glaser/texashsfootball.com)

TE/NG Colt Carlisle, C/DE Traven Day, WR Cody Pardy

Richland Springs received many accolades for their stellar 2016 season, including three quality seniors on a team whose core was primarily juniors and sophomores. Carlisle and Day earned first team all-district honors on both offense and defense, and Pardy earned first team all-district honors as a special teams player. Carlisle and Day also earned all-state honors, Carlisle for tight end and Day for center.

Key Returners

December 14, 2016 – Texas UIL State 1A Div. II championship game between Balmorhea and Richland Springs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Image Credit: John Glaser/texashsfootball.com)

 

RB/LB Walker Tippie, QB/DB Jordan Burkhart, RB/LB Hutton Lusty

Tippie torched defenses all over Texas last season, rushing for 2,193 yards and 43 touchdowns, including 414 yards and eight scores in the state title game. Burkhart, who earned first team all-district honors at quarterback in 2016, is back to guide the juggernaut offense. Lusty racked up 92 tackles last season en route to district and state defensive MVP honors.

The Verdict

December 14, 2016 – Texas UIL State 1A Div. II championship game between Balmorhea and Richland Springs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Image Credit: John Glaser/texashsfootball.com)

Richland Springs is in a prime position to earn an overall state record nine state titles in 2017, as the Coyotes return last season’s core group of juniors and sophomores, including the Texas Six-Man Coaches Association’s Player of the Year and Defensive MVP. Familiar teams from last season remain on the schedule, including Zephyr, Sterling City and Austin Hill Country Christian. One key difference from the 2016 schedule however is the season opener, as the Coyotes travel to Jayton to take on Division I preseason favorite Happy.

The Coyotes will be on the road for two of their three district games, traveling to Rochelle and Cherokee, with a home game against Lohn sandwiched in between. 13-1A DII as a whole returns plenty of experience across the board, however this district is still Richland Springs’ to lose. Should the Coyotes reach the postseason, familiar faces from last season could await, including state finalist Balmorhea, Milford, Strawn, Turkey Valley and Calvert.

 

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