THE WOODLANDS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY CROSS COUNTRY PROGRAMS ARE STATE RECOGNIZED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF COACH TOM EARLE, WHO HAS VIRTUALLY BUILT THE WARRIORS INTO A POWER OVER A DECADE.
This year’s installment had their own unique characteristics were accentuated throughout the season.
Let’s start with the girls. Leading the way all fall was undisputed junior captain Zoe Calimani, who had a personal best of 12:48 this season.
“This is a very competitive group on the course, but also academically,” Earle said. “We had a stretch of Homecoming and the end of the grading period, where they were mentally exhausted. We took a team bonding trip to Austin to run and it was great for them. What I loved about this team is that they steadily improved all season.”
Rounding out the top five runners were Flo Shirley, Elaina Formica, Camile Young and Bree Stowell.
“Flo’s sister, Fern, was a great runner here; Elaina is just a freshman; Camile is a soccer star and Bree swims long distance at an elite level,” Earle said. “They are some tremendous athletes.”
The boys’ strength was their pack mentality. Led by sophomore Hudson Howard, the Warriors racked up points by running together in most meets.
“It’s been interesting,” Earle said. “We didn’t have that superstar, but a great group of guys pushing each other as a unit.”
Seniors Zach Bagnoli, Seth Culberson and Lucas Travathan were part of the pack along with Philip Catron and freshman Roberto Calimani.
Against all odds, the Logos Prep Lions flexed their resiliency against the favored Hill Country Christian, earning their first TAPPS Six-Man 1A State Championship.
With only four minutes left in the game and facing a deficit of 18 points, it appeared that Logos Prep’s chances of a title were over. However, the Lions went on a tear to pull off a miraculous comeback, defeating the Knights 54-52.
“When you combine toughness and focus, you end up with execution,” said coach Kevin Edelbrock. “For us, we have a special group of kids. That's what it usually takes to pull off a victory like this, as a 25-point underdog."
In order to pull off this type of upset, Edelbrock said the team’s “secret ingredient” was his seniors -- namely RB Barrett Zgarba, LB Nathan Rabb and WR/FS Cole Hogan.
“They [the seniors on the team] exemplified what it means to never give up,” Edelbrock said. “We talk a lot about not worrying about the score or result, but just ‘Do the next right thing.’ Those young men are led by six different captains who stayed focused and never gave up. They have no quit in them.”
Kicker Carson Goldy managed to deliver three successful onside kicks to flip the momentum of the game.
“He [Goldy} has all the talent to kick at any DI school in the nation and any program would be lucky to have him,” said Edelbrock. “In six-man football, the onside kick is of the utmost importance. Throughout the year, I watched Carson really perfect a variety of kicks. To recover three in a championship game changes everything and the entire kickoff team deserves credit.”
Logos Prep opened in 2006 and started playing football in 2010. This is the school's first State Title and this could be the first of many.
“More and more athletes are seeing our University Model school as a place to better prepare to be successful in college and in life. It is also a place to have a competitive athletic experience with coaches who truly care about them,” Edelbrock said. “To win in this sort of fashion, is something that you simply have to soak up.”
This monumental victory must have been incredible to witness. However, the postgame experience will be something the players and coaches never forget.
“It [the postgame] was pure joy and exhilaration,” Edelbrock said. “We were so happy for those boys and their families, as well as for everyone attached to Logos Prep. It was a celebration like none other. The guys were going crazy in the locker room and we just reveled in all the incredible plays and all the moments that the boys made happen.”
After a season full of excellence, the Dallas Christian Chargers have finished as state champions for the second straight season. In a defense-heavy matchup, the Chargers went head-to-head with Houston's Cypress Christian Warriors. Shutting out the Warriors 24-0, Dallas Christian is headed back to Mesquite with another first-place trophy.
In the first half of the game, fans watched as two strong defenses faced off- ready to do whatever it took to set the tone for the rest of the game. Held to a 29-yard field goal by Zach Hernandez in their first drive of the game, the Chargers were on the board first. To start the second quarter, De'Mijae Lampkins returned a Warriors fumble 70 yards to the house for the first Dallas Christian touchdown of the game. The rest of the first half saw incredible defense on the field from both teams, preventing anymore scores and allowing the Chargers to head into halftime with a 10-0 lead over Cypress Christian.
With momentum coming out of halftime, Dallas Christian entered the third quarter ready to get the ball rolling. However, the Cypress Christian Warriors' defense was more than ready to continue putting up a fight. Midway through the third quarter, Luke Carney threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Will Nettles; the PAT was good and put the Chargers up 17-0. The final score of the game wasn't until midway through the fourth quarter as Hernandez posted a 2-yard rush for a touchdown.
Leading 24-0, an incredible interception from Nettles sealed the victory for the Chargers.
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