Magazine pick may only be start for GHS

July 6, 2013

When “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football” magazine hit the newsstands recently, folks in Granbury, like so many places, scrambled to see where the Pirates were picked in their district.

The magazine gave the Pirates their highest prediction in a long time, third place in 7-4A behind perennial power Aledo and last year’s runner-up Fort Worth Southwest.

Granbury finished third in district last season, going 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the league. It was the most victories for a Pirate football team since 1998 and only the second time in school history that they advanced to the postseason for a third straight year. Not since LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson, not LeBron James, for the younger readers) was president have locals been able to celebrate that accomplishment (1965-68).

But that’s what happens when a team gets good. They garner statewide respect, and deservedly so. The Pirates have consistently gotten better in head coach Scotty Pugh’s five seasons, and with the talent they have back on both offense and defense this year, that trend is likely to continue.

And while this is Texas, and athletic programs are often judged by the success of their football team, Granbury has one of the most successful overall sports programs around. Football is finally leading the way after decades of futility, but across the board, GHS fans can count on making a few extra road trips when the postseason arrives.

With the exception of Aledo, which sent four of its girls teams to state (volleyball, basketball, golf, softball), Granbury was the premier program in 7-4A. No other school came close to matching the success of the Bearcats and Pirates in 2012-13.

Yes, Aledo’s teams did go further overall than did Granbury, but it’s not as though GHS squads all bowed out in the first round.

Tammy Clark’s volleyball team had its usual strong postseason run, going three rounds deep for a fourth consecutive season. Leta Andrews’ Lady Pirates basketball team also advanced three rounds before losing to state semifinalist Aledo.

Old-school boxing fans will get this reference. While the Ladycats were 3-0 against the Lady Pirates in hoops, GHS was just a play or two away from winning two of the three – sort of like the classic Ken Norton-Muhammed Ali fights (Ali won twice, but some will forever argue Norton won all three).

Baseball went two rounds; boys soccer went four rounds. Tennis qualified for regionals in team play and sent a doubles team (Kate Bramlett and Elizabeth Morton) to state.

The Pirate boys golf team made an appearance in Austin behind one of the greatest players ever to pick up a club in these parts, Travis Benson.

And Chris Richardson qualified for state in the 400-meter dash, the first GHS boy to get to Austin in track since 2004.

Also, while they lost in bidistrict, the GHS boys basketball team made the playoffs under coach David Breazeale. The last time that happened, the mention of Lady Gaga brought to mind Lorena Bobbitt or Tonya Harding.

WWSHD – What would

soccer have done?

Interestingly, Granbury and Aledo weren’t in the same soccer district. I think that would have been one heck of a district race between the Pirates and Bearcats, but my money would have been on Doug Kissinger and Granbury.

The next goal for GHS, obviously, is to try and bridge that gap between Aledo and themselves (Aledo was 11-1 against GHS in what is considered the “major” sports – football, both basketballs, baseball volleyball and softball). It won’t be easy, with Aledo, like Granbury, returning a lot of youth in their program.

But I do expect Granbury to narrow the overall deficit in the coming school year, starting with football. Aledo is clearly the favorite, but with all due respect to Dave Campbell, don’t be surprised if the Pirates make a strong surge to seriously challenge Southwest for second place.

In the meantime, being second in success to a sports program like Aledo is pretty darned impressive.

Losing an Oscar to Jack Nicholson or Meryl Streep doesn’t mean the runner-up didn’t still give one heck of a performance.

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