“It felt great knowing that I was able to help advance the team to the state championship.”
Those are the words of Pottsboro’s Tyler Farris. Farris made a miraculous play on the ball in the endzone for the game-sealing interception and in turn to send Pottsboro to its first state championship game in its history.
“I feel like we are more of a brotherhood and we have more trust in each other,” Farris said on this team’s success vs. previous years.
“This year we’ve created a culture where we want to win no matter what and it’s apparent that no one person on our team is playing for themselves but they’re playing for all of us,” junior Silas Barr said.
Pottsboro, Texas is located in north Texas just shy of the southern Oklahoma border. The town has fewer people living in it that most 6a programs have students. Yet, the Pottsboro Cardinals football team is 15-0 and heading to AT&T Stadium to take on the defending 3A D1 state champions, Grandview on Thursday, December 19th.
“I think the difference is that we work really well as a team,” senior Hunter Fulton said. “We are all brothers and that bond transfers to the field. We all trust each other to do their job.”
Pottsboro had gone 12-10 the previous two years but this season came out firing on all cylinders. They steamrolled every opponent in the regular season en route to a 10-0 record and winning each game by an average of 31.5 points.
The fact that the Cardinals were destroying teams left and right was great but it posed the question, ‘what would happen during a close game could Pottsboro get it done?’
That answer, a resounding yes.
“I learned that no matter the situation my team will never give up and they want to win more than anything,” Fulton said.
Pottsboro last season was sent home at the hands of Malakoff, 63-35 en route to Malakoff’s path to the state championship game. This season, in the regional semifinals Pottsboro got their revenge in a 38-31 victory off a Braden Plyler nine-yard touchdown with under 40 seconds to go to seal the victory.
They parlayed that success into the state quarterfinals where they met Gladewater. The Cardinals held a 21-7 lead in the fourth before Gladewater came back to force overtime.
The game would move into double overtime when Braden Plyler again put Pottsboro’s season into his own hands and with a rushing touchdown that gave the Cardinals the seven-point lead. Gladewater would move down the field though and score to set up the 35-34 score. Instead of kicking the extra point Gladewater decided to roll the dice and go for two and the win.
Those dice came up with snake eyes as Pottsboro batted down the pass and onto the state semifinals they went, the first time since 2008.
In the state semifinals, Pottsboro held a 36-35 lead with under five and a half minutes to go. Brock went into their bag of trick plays with a halfback pass to the endzone that was intercepted by Tyler Farris to ultimately send the Cardinals to their first state championship game in program history.
“No matter the score or the situation in the game we are going to keep fighting,” Farris said.
“In the past two games, I’ve learned that the guys on our team never quit and always play with their hearts and play with passion,” Barr added.
The Grandview Zebras coming into the state championship game are averaging upwards of 40 points a contest. For Pottsboro to raise that state championship trophy they will have to slow down the Zebra’s attack.
On the front line of that defense are junior Silas Barr and senior Hunter Fulton. Both players are instrumental to the Cardinals defense as well as the offense as they both are on the offensive line as well.
Barr is second on the team in tackles with 90, Fulton leads the way in tackles for a loss with 10 and both have a team-leading five and a half sacks on the year.
“I’ve trained all offseason especially in the weight room where I’ve gained 25 pounds,” Barr said on his success. “My family and mentors have also helped me in getting to where I’m at on the field.”
“Hard work and dedication. I set goals at the end of last season and I worked towards them every day,” Fulton added.
In the backline of the defense sits junior Tyler Farris. Farris leads the team in interceptions with six as well as five more passes defended on the season.
Farris has a few simple words for his success this season. – “Staying focused and being coachable.”
Pottsboro comes into the 3A D1 state championship game against Grandview with more wins and more points per game than them. Yet, the Zebras allow fewer points and have a higher point differential. There’s no doubt that Jerry world will play host to a clash of titans in what should undeniably be an exciting three hours of football.
For the players of Pottsboro though the only thing that they have on their mind is being called state champions.
“It would mean the world knowing that all the hard work we have put in has paid off,” Farris said.
“It would mean the world to bring a state title to Pottsboro,” Fulton added. “It has never happened before and I think it would be great to bring one home.”
It was Silas Barr though, that put it perfectly in what that state championship would mean to his town and football team.
“Last year we lost our offensive coordinator and O-Line coach, Bart Williams,” Barr said. “To me as well as others on the team it would mean everything to be able to win the state championship for him.”
Williams served as the teams’ baseball coach, accumulating 307 career wins as well as the football teams’ offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Williams was only 47 when he passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. Despite being diagnosed, Williams still showed up to work every day and continued coaching the baseball team to a regional semifinals appearance.
Williams perfectly embodied the spirit of the Pottsboro Cardinals – “We are going to keep fighting.”
Pottsboro has fought all season to get to this point and is now just one win away from realizing their dreams, 3A D1 State champions.