You can say the 2005 football season began for Big Sandy on December 11, 2004. That's when they lost 21-17 to eventual state champ Shiner in the semifinals.
"It's been probably the biggest motivation for us all year," said senior co-captain Vincent Montgomery. "We knew we were so close."
And while the kids rededicated themselves to getting better, their head coach, Scott Callaway did the same thing. By installing a brand new, spread offense.
"Our ultimate goal here is to win a state championship," said Callaway, "but we felt like this would be the best offense to get our kids and suit their talents and hopefully we can be more successful than we were last year."
The players were all for it.
"If it works, let's do it," senior co-captain Eric Aga said at the time. "If it'll get us further, let's go."
And go they did, jumping to number two in the state, while averaging 40 points a game. But it took a 14-13 loss to district rival Harleton to really set things straight.
"After that loss, everybody just came together," Montgomery said. "We just stopped all of our little selfishness, play as a team, win as a team."
"I think we've gotten a lot better as the season has gone on and ever since that ballgame," said Callaway.
And they've done so, with December 11, 2004 in the back of their minds.
"Our kids are hungry," said Callaway. "They're very dissapointed last year in the state semifinals game and our kids paid their price in the off season. They worked hard this summer. They've come together as a team. We're where we at because of them."
Kevin Berns reporting.