There are two spots you want to be in as a sports team when entering a game. You either want to be motivated by your dominance, wanting to show yet again why your team is great, or you want to be the underdog with a chip on their shoulder, waiting to prove that you belong on the big stage. There’s no in between. That’s why the biggest games in sports, especially above the high-school level, are between two powerhouses or between an underdog and a powerhouse. But two teams that believe they are the underdog? That’s a strange one.
Yet here we are in the bi-district round of the football players, and we have two teams who can claim the “nobody believes in us” mentality.
Before the season, the Gonzales Apaches were picked to go fifth in District 10-4AD2 in the annual Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine season preview. Wins over La Grange, Columbus and Smithville were enough for a playoff bid as the third seed out of the district, two spots better than DCTF’s prognostication.
The Mexica Blackcats, under new head coach Frank Sandoval, were topped for last in District 9-4AD2 by DCTF.
“It’s a new era in Mexia as Frank Sandoval arrives to try to turn the ‘Cats around,” reads the preview.
Sandoval did just that as the Blackcats, with wins over Lorena, Fairfield and Robinson, earned a playoff berth as the second seed out of their respective district.
Two teams who were picked to miss the playoffs were a bounce of a ball or a win away from fighting for a potential district title.
Even then, you can tell that each team still feels like they need to prove something in the playoffs. Just go to Twitter right now and type in #WeKAT and see the posts by the Mexia athletes.
“That’s how you prove people wrong right there!” one post reads, with a screenshot of the DCTF district prediction.
Gonzales athletes are feeling the same thing. There will be no lack of motivation.
“The football season is a long grind,” Gonzales Head Coach Kodi Crane said, “and some teams are satisfied. I don’t think this team is. I think if this team was satisfied, we wouldn’t have played nearly as well as we played last Friday night.”
Two underdogs, with tough defense and something to prove? Yeah, Friday night will be a doozy. If you’re looking for a physical game, you’ll find it in Georgetown with the Apaches and Blackcats.
Funny enough, even with a win, there will still be a sense of “nobody believes in us.” Just look ahead at the bracket. The winner of this contest will have the privilege of trying to knock off the two-time state champion West Orange-Stark, assuming they win their bi-district game. West Orange-Stark hasn’t lost a game since Sept. 26, and have a 42-4 record in the past four seasons.
That’s right. Four losses in four seasons, with three of them coming in 2014, and another one in 2015 where the team went 15-1 in their state championship season.
Both the Apaches and Blackcats will enter the game as underdogs and with the way the playoffs are set up, both will leave still as underdogs, except one team will have one more week of football to play.