HOUSTON - As you make the walk from your car towards the Second Baptist School football field, it has a small-town feel in the heart of the Memorial area of Houston on a Friday night.
Children running around throwing a football, parents behind a table selling Second Baptist Eagles gear, burgers being grilled while the football team is warming up just behind them.
It's this small-town feel and culture that Terry Pirtle believes is something that pays off once those kids running around behind the field becomes the eventual young men running around on the big field as members of the football team.
"It's a great feeling to watch these kids grow from sixth graders and go through their growth spurts and go through basically the changes of life with them," Pirtle said. "They go from small to big, heavy to skinny, we see all the changes in one kid. You just tell them to keep working on their skillset and keep buying into the program as they go through the program. It's amazing how they transform and when they finally mature into their body, they've got our program DNA entrenched in them and they're ready to play. It's really cool to stay somewhere long enough and see that transformation with kids."
This formula has worked.
In fact, it has worked so well that Second Baptist School football just wrapped up the program's seventh-straight district championship and the first undefeated regular season since 1999.
"I think it's special," Pirtle said. "Anytime you can go undefeated in the regular season you've got to be doing something correctly. We haven't been injured we've made it through with all kinds of issues that you normally have unscathed. I think our kids did a really good job that we were taking care of our business every week and being prepared every Friday night to try and go 1-0 on that night. If you do that every week and just play for that week and don't look ahead this is the benefit from it."
Winning seven-straight district crowns is impressive, especially the way the Eagles have done it the past four years.
To find the last time the Second Baptist School lost a district game you have to flip in the record books back to the 2015 season. The Eagles lost the district opener that year, falling to Lutheran South Academy 49-42.
Since then, the Eagles haven't lost a district contest, winning 24-straight, including going 5-0 this year.
"It's just been a combination of kids buying into the program and our coordinators of doing a really good job of putting our kids in the right spot and having the ability to have a kicking game that's pretty good as well with David Nunez doing a good job the last two years punting and kicking for us," Pirtle said. "They don't want to be the senior class that doesn't come through.
"It's kind of a pride thing for us at this point to play well in district and continue the tradition of playing well in district and making sure that when district is finished that we're part of the championship every year."
The winning and filling the trophy case in the halls of the field house at Second Baptist School is great but for Pirtle this culture goes beyond just that.
"At Second Baptist School you have the ability to go beyond the field with your coaching style," Pirtle said. "You can develop deep relationships with the kids through Christ, which is something that you can do wherever you are but it's something here that we take special pride in building relationships with the kids knowing that there's a Christ model in what we do. That's been special for us. Just having the ability to get into kids lives and dig deep into it and have relationships off the field with these guys."
The Houston-area private schools have looked solid in the regular season and have legit title hopes in the TAPPS and the Southwestern Preparatory Conference.
Let's start with the SPC. Episcopal will play Kinkaid for the 4A title, while the John Cooper School faces Fort Worth Country Day in the 3A game.
The city's top team is Second Baptist, who has a big game this weekend against Lutheran South. The Eagles will be Houston's rep for TAPPS DII.
The Woodlands Christian Academy is steam-rolling through TAPPS Division III, while St. Thomas is tops in Division I
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Second Baptist vs Fort Bend Christian by Bradley Collier
PRIVATE SCHOOL TOP 10
No. 1 Second Baptist Eagles
No. 2 Episcopal Knights
No. 3 The Woodlands Christian Warriors
No. 4 Kinkaid Falcons
No. 5 Lutheran South Pioneers
No. 6 St. Thomas Eagles
No. 7 John Cooper School Dragons
No. 8. Bay Area Christian Broncos
No. 9 Lutheran North Lions
No. 10 St. John's School