“The roads to championships are paved with peaks and valleys,” former Dallas Cowboy and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin told the audience at the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Gilmer Buckeyes Ring Ceremony presented by Brookshire’s on March, 27, 2010, at the Gilmer Civic Center. “It is a football family that wins a championship.”
“Teams can handle peaks, but the valleys are handled differently,” said the owner of a National Championship ring from the University of Miami and three Super Bowl rings.
“Football teams fail in the valley; a football family bonds in the valley,” Irvin pointed out to the full house. “You got to be a football family.”
Irvin pointed out that he had many opportunites to talk to groups from pee wee to professional who had fallen short of their goal. Those individuals want to know what it takes to be a champion, to reach their goal.
“But that is not the case this time,” Irvin said as he paced the Civic Center stage. “This is the first time that I get to stand and speak to what I call a dynasty.”
“You guys are writing a beautiful history here,” he said as he approached his conclusion. “It is a responsibility to keep it, cherish it, and pass it on, a generational blessing.”
The Buckeyes remain a dynasty three years later (with a record of 36-7 since then, including 10 playoff wins) and Irvin is about to visit Gilmer again, this time to see his son, Michael Irvin Jr., sophomore receiver for the Plano Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) Lions, play at Buckeye Stadium.
Sometime last Saturday, he
(@michaelirvin88) tweeted confirmation of his plans to attend: “yes I will be at that game vs Gilmer next week.”
Lions Stadium on the PCA campus is more on the plains of Plano than in a valley, but the Irvin metaphor was apt last Sept. 7. The Lions demolished the Buckeyes 42-12 on that steamy Friday night. However, the Buckeyes, true to Irvin’s words, did not “fail” but rather “bonded” after that defeat and reeled off 13 consecutive victories to make it to the peak of the 3A Division II State Championship Game in Arlington.
Head Coach Jeff Traylor of the Buckeyes went over some of the defensive players who had outstanding nights in last Thursday’s 57-7 win over the Atlanta Rabbits at Buckeye Stadium.
“Demarco Boyd had seven tackles, two assists, two sacks, four tackles for loss.
“John McPherson: four tackles, two assists.
“Kris Boyd: three tackles, one assist, one knocked-down pass, one forced fumble.
“Dakota Williamson: three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss.
“Josh Walker: two tackles, three assists, two pressures, two sacks.
“Charles Williams: two tackles, one interception.”
Offensively, quarterback Tanner Barr had a brilliant debut to his senior season. He was 20-of-23 for 288 yards and five touchdowns with a QB rating of 166.
Junior Desmond Pollard was his favorite target, with five receptions for 103 yards, three of them for touchdowns. Freshman Kollin Hurt had four receptions for 33 yards, one of them a touchdown catch from Jaidon Parrish.
Jamel Jackson, another junior, paced the Gilmer rushing attack with 105 yards on only five carries and two touchdowns, one a season highlight reel-worthy, 77-yard scamper.
The Buckeyes amassed 564 yards in total offense, 299 passing and 265 rushing.
Returning to Friday night’s game here, the visiting PCA Lions have again begun the season by demolishing our fellow District 16-3A member, Henderson. So the football team of this academy, known as a “ministry” of the Prestonwood Baptist Church, has now “administered” three consecutive defeats to District of Doom opponents.
Last year, the score was 56-21 and this year 45-21. Henderson may be down somewhat this season, but that is still a score that sends a strong message that PCA remains a force, in spite of the loss of the Mitchell brothers (linebacker Mike graduated and is now an Ohio State Buckeye; quarterback Mickey gave up football after suffering a torn ACL near the end of 2012 and has returned to Plano West High School to concentrate on his primary sport of basketball).
Coach Traylor went to Plano last Friday night and declared PCA a “really, really good football team; exceptionally good.”
New quarterback Twayne Blackwell (12) is a junior who has come to Prestonwood from Frisco Heritage of District 9-4A, where he compiled 2,042 yards of total offense last season for the Coyotes.
Blackwell and also his backup are both good, said Traylor.
Blackwell passed for 238 yards and rushed for 78 more against Henderson.
Jake Reed (20) and Michael Irvin (88) are both “great wide receivers” back from last year’s team.
Offensive lineman Patrick Murray (79) is a “really good football player.”
Jonathan Heasley (15) is another good receiver.
Ryan Bradberry (16) leads the ground attack at running back. He had 159 yards against Henderson.
“They play real, real fast; no-huddle. They play maybe faster than we do,” said Traylor. “They look a lot like A&M. That’s how fast they play.”
He added, “Defensively, very similar to last year, attacking. Really good outside linebacker, Eric Stevenson (36); another really good one, Alex Freeman (34). (Austin) Tankersley (8) is another really good returning player, starting at safety.
“Obviously, Jake Reed is phenomenal at corner.”
Coach Traylor summed up, “So, they’re a really good football team, very well-coached. fly to the football on defense, no-huddle, hurry-up on offense. I hope we can play with them this year. That’s our goal. They kind of embarrassed us last year.
“Our kids are very excited and we had a very good practice this morning (Labor Day) in the rain. We worked out. We’re soaking wet, but we had a great workout.
“I hope we have a great crowd. We need our crowd to be electric, on their feet. We’re gonna need the crowd Friday night bigtime.”
Kickoff at Buckeye Stadium is at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
As most already know from last season, Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) member PCA can and usually does reload with new players from all over. It is not confined to a “district.” Recruiting is legal for TAPPS schools. But they can still put only 11 players on the field at one time, even if some of them are sons of former pro football players.
As alluded to above, TAPPS also allows spring practices — 14 over a 21-day period.
Head Coach Chris Cunningham of Prestonwood spoke with Matt Welch of the Plano Star Courier about how that went:
“It’s different every spring. When you lose the number of guys we lost on defense, you have to spend a lot of time getting new kids ready for that, but you also spend time looking for the best fit in those positions.”
LUNCH WITH THE COACH:
Noon Wednesdays, Buckeyes Booster Club meets at Gilmer Country Club.
Etex, Channel 2, will replay Gilmer games at 10 a.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Wednesdays.
(This channel also carries the audio of the games live.)
New Diana games will be replayed 2 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Thursdays
Harmony games will be replayed 6 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Tuesdays.
MAXPREPS HOME PAGE:
UPDATE 2:30 P.M. Friday
Click on the link below to read a letter I just received from Prestonwood Christian Academy Head of School Dr. Larry Taylor and my response:
Read more: Prestonwood Christian Academy Head of School corrects record on "recruiting"