State Football Championship Recap

Photo by Steve Young


If you were looking for compelling storylines, then you need not look further than this past week’s Texas High School Football state championships from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. From the first female to score points, to some of the most unbelievable finishes you could ever imagine, this year’s state games simply had a little bit of everything for fans of the game. Below is a recap some of those top moments.


Rockdale wins 2nd state championship in school history

It did not look good in the early going, but Rockdale erased what was a 21-point deficit to win their second title in school history, 45-29. The Tigers simply played about as bad as you could have expected in the opening quarter and change, as the defense gave up the big play while the offense could not get going and turned the ball over. That all translated to a 21-0 deficit early in the second quarter.


To be fair, none of these kids from Rockdale had played in this game before while Brock had not only played for state in 2015, but had also played in AT&T Stadium the previous week in the semifinal win over Kemp.


The lightswitch flipped from that point forward as the Tigers proceeded to close the game on a blistering 45-8 run. Can you guess who provided the spark? That would be the same duo that caused opponents problems all season long - quarterback Torry Locklin and receiver JaQuayln Crawford. It just so happened that these two players (Locklin, offense; Crawford, defense) earned MVP honors following the game.


Locklin finished the contest with 256 yards rushing, 202 yards passing and accounted for a total of 5 touchdowns scored. Crawford himself also had offensive MVP numbers with 82 receiving yards, 57 yards on the ground and 2 scores, but also forced a fumble on the defensive side of the ball.


The turnaround was huge, but there was another moment that is certainly worth mentioning. When it became apparent that Rockdale had the game in hand, Gunner Miller, the son of head coach Jeff Miller, prepared to enter the game. Miller was diagnosed with cancer back in 2015, and after having part of his shin surgically removed, playing contact football was no longer an option.


That was until Thursday night, when the senior, who is in remission, walked past dad onto the field one final time to take the kneel down. The emotional final play secured his team’s state championship. The idea was actually brought up by Miller’s teammates during practice that week. It all played out in a way that you could not have dreamed up any better.


The “Victory V” was as bright as it ever was for the Tigers on Thursday night.


1st female scores in state game

Strawn captured the 1A 6-man DII state championship on Wednesday. During the 78-42 win, senior kicker K-Lani Nava put through 9 extra points to become the first female player to account for points in a state championship game. Strawn finished 2017 with a perfect 16-0 record.


West Orange-Stark’s run comes to an end

All good things must eventually come to an end, as did West Orange-Stark’s impressive 40-game win streak. The Mustangs fell to Texarkana Pleasant Grove in the 4A DII state championship game, 41-21, ending a streak of wins that spanned over three years. WO-S last lost a game to Richmond Foster (42-12) during non-district of the 2015 season. The Mustangs had the state’s longest winning streak after Bremond’s run ended at 49 games earlier this season.


Carthage wins another title

One of the state’s most consistent programs added another state title to the trophy case. Scott Surratt’s Carthage Bulldogs easily coasted by Kennedale in the 4A DI title game, 49-21. This was Carthage’s 6th state championship since 2008, all coming under the leadership of Surratt. In his 11 years as the coach, he has amassed an impeccable 134-27 record. Surratt recently received a $20,000 raise to bring his salary to over $150,000 a year. That is a very large amount for a 4A school, but in my opinion he is worth every penny when you account the money he generates for the district.