Throughout history, almost every successful person and team has had a humbling moment, a time when they were forced to look within themselves and make a decision.
First comes acceptance, then comes a question. Settle or learn and move forward?
Granbury head coach Scotty Pugh posed such a question to his football team after a 63-0 loss to three-time defending state champion Aledo Friday night at Pirate Stadium.
“Pride kicks in, that’s what you hope, after something like this,” said Pugh. “And I believe it will.
“Our most important season is coming up. So we move forward, put this behind us and start focusing on Arlington Heights and regaining some momentum for the playoffs.”
Despite the loss, the Pirates can still post the team’s first seven-victory season since 1998. And they are still advancing to the playoffs for a third straight season, something that hasn’t happened since the 1965-68 seasons.
“Our number one goal from Day One was to get in the playoffs, and we have accomplished that,” said Pugh. “Now, we have readjusted that goal, and we want to try to advance in the playoffs.
“We saw tonight the kind of program we want to be. We’re a long ways from being there, but then so is just about everybody else.”
The Pirates (6-3, 4-2 in District 7-4A) will enter the bidistrict playoffs as the No. 2 team in Division I. They will face District 8-4A champion Crowley (8-1), which clinched that spot with a 49-0 win over Waco University Friday night.
The Eagles, under coach Chris James, have become one of the top teams in the area. Larry Cheeks is one of the top running backs in the area (1,503 yards, 20 TDs).
The Pirates are familiar with Cheeks. He shared Offensive Player of the Year honors with Granbury’s Brandon Davis last season when the teams were in the same district.
Granbury also defeated Cheeks and the Eagles in 2011, 35-14, in one of several games in which Davis (now at Louisiana Tech) rushed for over 200 yards.
“They are a completely different ballclub,” said Pugh of Crowley. “Cheeks is back and playing better than ever, and coach James has done a fantastic job. They’ve bought into his system, and it’s working for them in a big way.
“I think it will be a good matchup with us and them. But first we’re concentrating on Arlington Heights.”
The teams will meet Nov. 16 at Saginaw Chisholm Trail High School.
In the meantime, Pugh said the Pirates employed the “24-hour rule” following the loss to Aledo. Their attention is completely turned to Heights (2-7, 2-4), a team that was expected to be among the postseason qualifiers, but has instead struggled.
“That doesn’t mean they can’t beat us if we don’t get past this and regroup in a hurry,” said Pugh. “This tonight stings, but it’s still just another district ballgame.”
The Bearcats (8-1, 6-0) clinched the district title by winning their 43rd consecutive league game. They last lost in district to Everman, 35-28, in 2007.
And, after three straight seasons of winning the 4A Division II state championship, the Bearcats will enter the 4A Division I playoffs this season, opening against Cleburne (6-3).
In fact, Pugh said this year’s Bearcats might be even MORE dangerous than before. They are out to prove they can win a state title without All-American record-setting running Johnathan Gray, who is now at the University of Texas.
The Pirates were playing for a share of the district lead. It’s been many years since they were in that position so late in the season.
“The fact of the matter is we took a good ol’ fashioned tailwhipping, but it was for the district championship – and I’m still proud of these guys for putting us in that position. We have come a long way in recent years, and that is something to be very proud of.
“We have a chance to be going into the playoffs 7-3, and we can’t lose sight of that.”
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Bearcats 63, Pirates 0
Aledo 21 35 0 7 – 63
Granbury 0 0 0 0 – 0
A – Pate Davis 5 run (Chance Nevarez kick)
A – Davis 23 run (Nevarez kick)
A – Caleb Frysinger 13 run (Nevarez kick)
A – Willie Gibson 57 pass from Davis (Nevarez kick)
A – Frysinger 57 pass from Davis (Nevarez kick)
A – Jonny Carter 40 punt return (Nevarez kick)
A – Frysinger 43 run (Nevarez kick)
A – Quanel Williams 17 pass from Luke Bishop (Nevarez kick)
A – Matthew Hawkins 22 pass from Bishop (Nevarez kick)
First downs 25 9
Rushes-yards 31-264 35-108
Passing yards 285 101
Comp-att-int. 14-18-0 11-23-2
Punts-avg. 1-37 7-35.8
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 7-67
Aledo – Aaron Vidrine 14-119, Caleb Frysinger 9-80, Pate Davis 4-33, Luke Bishop 3-28, Jess Anders 1-4.
Granbury – Ryan Suitt 6-47, Andrew Konyha 4-26, Nate Milson 2-17, Mike Milson 7-17, Justice Love 9-8, Kwaun Shaw 3-3, Cameron Hatfield (4-(-10).
Aledo – Davis 8-10-0-220, Bishop 6-8-0-65.
Granbury – Suitt 11-23-2-101.
Aledo – Frysinger 3-79, Willie Gibson 1-57, Taco Anderson 1-54, Matthew Hawkins 3-35, Quanel Williams 2-20, Luke Glover 1-15, Baker Roberson 1-12.
Granbury – Skylar Baskin 3-33, Daniel Arnett 2-20, Brandon Fichter 2-17, Love 3-15, Nick Doughty 1-16.
Granbury fumble recovery – Nathan Urbanovsky.