COMMUNITY PRIDE: Small-town Wallis all in for their Brazos Cougars
The Texas High School football has rapidly advanced into the third round. The perrenial powers have punched their tickets to the Regional Semis.
One small town, however, is soaking up the experience of playing football over the Thanksgiving holidays -- Brazos High. It's a right of passage for programs taking that "next step".
“You try to explain what it [postseason football] is like,” said Brazos coach Ryan Roecker. "They are getting the full experience from our community, which has really rallied around this team."
This Class 3A team from the small town of Wallis, Texas has exceeded expectations by making the playoffs with a record of 7-3, before knocking off a favored Lexington (35-28) in Round 1. They crushed Hebbronville (42-15) last week.
The Cougars have not lacked talent in previous years. The main reason they've missed the postseason in the past was due to costly injuries on a team that doesn't have many additional players on their limited roster.
“We’ve had some bad luck with injuries in the past,” coach Roecker said. “Everybody’s been a little dinged up, but we have been able to escape that major injury bug that has taken some of our top players down for multiple games or an entire season.”
Despite the odds, Brazos has managed to push through the adversity with the help of key players -- QB/FS Bryson Bennet, center and nose guard Jonoah Fonseca, and do-it-all RB Vinny Aguilar, who rushed for over 230 yards with three touchdowns in their Round 2 win.
QB Bryson Bennet
“These seniors were 9-1 as freshmen,” said coach Roecker. “We just had some rough times through COVID and other situations. They’ve displayed poise for four years in Brazos.”
The Cougars are set to face off against power Tidehaven Friday at 2:00 PM at Freedom Field in Pasadena, Texas. Brazos lost their first matchup against Tidehaven in the regular season (33-13), but this is a team with a newfound confidence. The reason? They support of the Wallis community.
“Our slogan this football season has been -- ‘Band of Brothers’,” Roecker said. “It’s a special group. When you have a group of guys and nobody is worried about touches or who gets the touchdowns or who gets recognized - they can be dangerous. Just the fact that the team only cares that the family gets the recognition is pretty special in his day and age.”
Coach Ryan Roecker