Statistics, returning players and strategies mean little to none if a team’s intangibles aren’t in place. Several Texas high school football programs have worked their way to the top due to the invisible qualities they possess. Within each successful program are five immeasurable components that set them apart from their competition.
The goal of any Texas high school football coach is to win a state championship.
Cameron Head Coach Rick Rhoades has guided his Yoemen to three consecutive title wins, and “we want to make a run for the state championship again,” he said.
“In order to do that, you’ve got to take it one game at time,” he continued.
And even Rhodes understands a truly successful season doesn’t necessarily equate to hoisting gold medals when it’s all over.
“It’s really a journey,” he said.
In that journey, true accomplishments are made, and in each successful team, it’s easy to spot the following:
Friday night fame is earned.
“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking,’” former President George W. Bush once said.
Teams that don’t act, think, and look like winners won’t be. It’s not cockiness or conceit (both of which can thwart a team’s success), but rather a belief in oneself and team that states “We’ve come to play, and we plan to take a W back with us on our ‘yellow dawg.’”
Legendary Coach Gordon Wood created a proven model of trust: players trusting players, players trusting coaches, coaches trusting coaches and coaches trusting players.
Trust is key to a successful program. Winning games comes from players working cohesively.
Defensive coordinators who can count on their ends to not get hooked can dial-up more complex schemes; offensive coordinators are free to create deadly passing attacks when they know they have a back who’ll mix it up with a linebacker.
3. Coachable Players
Championships happen when athletes listen and respond correctly to coaches. This is known as being coachable. It is the mindset of “I don’t know what’s best, but this man does, and I am going to do everything within my power to get the job done the way he told me to.”
Athletes, no matter how talented, are useless to a team until they are coachable. No parent, no fan, no momma, no daddy can guide their child to success within a sport like a coach can.
There’s a reason why coaches carry that title.
Every opponent is a threat. Talking heads can critique games any way they want; sites like this one can make their predictions; but regardless of who seems to be the obvious frontrunner in a matchup, successful programs give credit to their competition.
An underdog is a bad pup to get riled up. Programs looking toward championships don’t let any team slip under their radar for a surprise upset.
The Texas high school football season is a short part of the year. Teams who win understand that. They appreciate the game and know its proper place; they know getting to play the sport is a blessing.
Regardless of outcomes, these teams realize the journey is the best part. Successful programs take one game at a time and enjoy every bit of the ride.
Senior athletes walk off the field with no regrets; retiring coaches smile over all they’ve been a part of; those teams cherish their experiences. They’re successful.
“We want to make a run for the state championship again. In order to do that, you’ve got to take it one game at a time. You’ve got to understand that you can’t focus on the ultimate goal so much. It’s really a journey …”
-Rick Rhoades, Cameron head coach