It’s nearly impossible to talk about six-man football in the state of Texas without talking about Richland Springs. The Coyotes have won the state title 7 times since 2004, notching wins in 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004.
Six-man football has been a UIL sport since 1938, but the recent dominance of the Coyotes definitely puts them in the discussion as one of, if not the, best programs ever. Head Coach Jerry Burkhart has been around for all of their titles, and his family and sons have been a part of Richland Springs teams since they arrived. The Coyotes also boast a claim to a national record by virtue of having the services of Tyler Ethridge: Ethridge threw for 230 touchdowns in his career, but the statistic isn’t officially recognized because it occurred in six-man football.
This season, the Coyotes have been better than ever. They’re 14-0 rolling into the state title game, and no one has come close to touching them. Richland Springs has been a full team this year, and have been especially tough on defense with Hutton Lusty and Walker Tippie leading the charge.
If Richland Springs is the team of tradition, then the Balmorhea Bears are the new kids on the block. Legendary Head Coach Vance Jones has the Bears playing in their first state title ever, at a time when the six-man finals are finally being played alongside the 11-man finals at AT&T Stadium in December.
These are big days for the Bears, who boast their own undefeated record coming into the state finals, but are still the very clear underdogs. Quarterback Marco Martinez and running back Marcos Mendoza are excellent players, but they’ll have their hands full with a Richland Springs team that looks like one of those historically dominant Richland Springs teams.
The Bears and the Coyotes will kick off at 4 PM CST in AT&T Stadium to open the Texas High School Football State Championships.
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