History of Yoe Football (2015)

After capturing their third straight state championship, the Yoemen, with eight offensive and eight defensive starters back, were a unanimous favorite to make four in a row.  Texas Football picked them number one, but with a long sixteen game season, anything could go wrong.


The Yoemen would get revenge for three of their four losses from 2014, and were so close to avenging the fourth.  They started by blasting Waco Connally (63-14) and Lexington (67-12).  Then they travelled to China Spring to try to avenge a (23-14) loss to the Cougars a year ago.  China Spring returned almost everyone and would go on to finish (12-2) with both losses coming to state 4A division one champion La Vega in district and regional.  The Yoemen fell behind, but did not quit, taking a lead with just over a minute left.  The Cougars, however, showed they were championship quality as they scored a late TD to win (43-41).  Waco officials made their presence known also. 


The next two revenge games came back to back, with an open date in between.  The highly ranked class 2A Refugio Bobcats brought a lot of fans to Yoe Field, but the Yoemen won the offensive game (42-27) and it was their turn to have a long trip home. 


Following the open date, the Yoemen would travel across Little River to try and bring back the bell.  Even though they got revenge in the playoffs over the Tigers, we could not get the bell.  So they made sure, nearly a year later with a convincing (27-6) victory.  Coach Rhoades and the Yoemen would breeze through the next four district games. 


The next district game against Troy was a big one, as the Trojans were in the middle of an (8-3) season that would end with a heartbreaking loss to the West Trojans (35-34) in bi-district.  Both of those Trojans teams are familiar to this year's Yoe team, as they just finished the 2016 regular season with a (56-20) victory over Troy last Friday and now are preparing to play the West Trojans in bi-district at Waco ISD in two weeks. 


Back to 2015 and the big game with Troy.  Even though Troy fans felt this would their first victory over the Yoemen after 10 straight losses in the series dating back to 1992.  Cell phone texting during the week was overwhelming, but it did not good, as the Yoemen prevailed (51-3). 


The district wrapped up with victories over Lago Vista (51-14), Florence (28-8) and Academy (49-7).  The playoffs started with a familiar foe in McGregor.  The Yoemen won (35-7) in workmanlike fashion, not knowing what the coming week would bring. 


The area game was the second in a row at Waco ISD against an unknown, but upcoming power Malakoff.  The Yoemen seemed a little overwhelmed, as the Tigers built a (32-7) lead with a few minutes left until half.  Coach Rhoades did not wait for halftime to make adjustments, as the Yoemen came up with two scores before the break and cut the lead to single digits right after half.  The second half was tight until the end, but the Yoemen pulled out the victory (45-44).  All Yoe fans were still there. 


The regional semifinal game was the third in a row at WISD.  The Yoemen took down the Grandview Zebras, and their all-state QB Zach Smith (now a Baylor Bear).  The final was (42-28) and set up a rematch with the Teague Lions (also at WISD - four in a row).  The Lions felt like they were denied a state championship by the Yoemen in 2014.  This time Yoe came back to win (28-21).


That set up the Yoemen in the semifinals and ended their four game streak at Waco ISD.  They would move up to the big house in Austin (home of the Horns).  The opponent was the Mathis Pirates from region four.  The Yoemen wasted no time putting them away (40-14). 


Next was a trip to Houston for the state finals at Reliant Stadium.  After three straight trips to Jerry’s World (AT&T Cowboys Stadium) and three straight state championships, things felt so different.  The opponent was the new kid of the block - the Brock Eagles.  When Yoe started their current streak, they had not started playing varsity football yet.


The game seemed well in hand just a couple of minutes before half.  Traion Smith had just ran down to the six yard line, which would lead to a (20-7) halftime lead.  But we all know what happened at the end of that run.  After leading the Yoemen to three straight championships and forty-two wins without injury, he went down with a terrible knee injury (surgery to repair three torn ligaments). 


That left Coach Rhoades to turn to a complete passing game.  Two plays later replacement Jordan Wells scored from the one and QB Jacob Smitherman ran in the PAT for the 20-7 lead, but the Yoemen could only muster two scoring passes from Smitherman to Sicory Smith (74 yards and Iverson Westbrook (7 yards) in the second half.  An errant snap led to two touchdowns for the Eagles.  They had scored on a 52-yard run and the errant snap occurred on first down after the kick off and was recovered by Brock in the end zone. 


The game ended (42-33).  Traion’s final run gave him 133 for first half and everyone knows that would have more than doubled in the second half.  It was painful for everyone. 


Other great players in 2015 besides those already mentioned were Jay’Lon Bryant, Ty’Rik Johnson, Caden Harris, Chris Ramirez,  Chris Valdez, Levi May, Logan Boyett, Ke’Shawn Bell, Ramon Rodriguez, Zack Andress, Jordan Young, Titus Lewis, Vincent Vargas, Tydrick Williams, Noah Kostroun, Johnny Alexander (Memphis University), Jesse Valdez, Brandon Wilkins, Eddie Luna, Brodie Sexton, Tyler Bennett, Alex Ibarra, Brandon Moore, Eduardo Bautista, Javi Torres, D’Andre Adams (Southwestern University), Frank Llanas, Isaac Cervantes, Marcus Lara, Jason Anastasiades, D.J. Fripp, D.J. Daniels, Casey Greene, Tomas Salomon, Brian McDonald, Pablo Rodriguez, Cody Eickenhorst, Christian Reyes, Adrian Lewis, Garrett Roeder and Danny Perez. 


Rick Rhoades left Yoe High for Gregory-Portland in the spring.  Defensive coordinator Tommy Brashear took over the job and is currently leading the 2016 Yoemen into the playoffs with an 8-2 record (4-1 in district).  More later, as hopes for a fith straight state finals game are still highly anticipated.  Go Yoe!