by Chris Piel
Despite a valiant second half effort, the Argyle Eagles fell 33-31 to Waco La Vega in the Class 4A Division I championship game on Friday in Houston. This was the Eagles fourth appearance in the championship game in five years, and their third loss.
The Eagles received the opening kickoff, but were forced to punt it away after their first offensive attempt. The first quarter ended up completely scoreless.
La Vega struck first with about ten minutes left in the second quarter. The Eagles quickly responded and tied the game up at 7 all. It was 14-7 in La Vega’s favor at the half.
“They’re very purposeful in the way they handle their matters, and they want Argyle football to win,” head coach Todd Rodgers said. “That’s why they play their guts out on the field.”
The game remained close, with several lead changes throughout. Both teams were in the game the whole time. In fact, it was anyone’s game until the final play.
After struggling in the first half, the Eagles were able to regain some ground and put up some points with their explosive offensive. Argyle scored 10 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter.
“I thought halftime adjustments were awesome,” Rodgers said. “We were able to put some points on the board, and hit them for some big plays.”
After several penalties and failure to convert defensive stops, La Vega was able to take the lead with 11 seconds left in the game.
A blocked field goal by Gage Campbell gave the Eagles hope, but he failed to run it back for a score. With the kickoff return and only one offensive play, the Eagles fell short for the second year in a row.
“For the outcome of the game not to be that, it’s devastating,” Rodgers said.
Due to injuries, the Eagles had several players in unusual positions. It may have been part of the cause for the team’s struggles, both offensive and defensive.
“Everybody’s goal is to win,” said senior running back Taylor Sweatt. “Whatever it takes, even if you don’t want to play a position, you’re gonna play it anyways because it’s for the greater good of the team to win.”
Although the Eagles (14-2) have had so many accomplishments in the last few years, they have shown failure to convert. Finishing in second place three times in five years does not bring happiness to the team.
“The silver medal is not on our goal board,” Rodgers said. “The gold medal is on our goal board. They played their guts out and they want a gold medal.”
Despite struggles and losing a fantastic senior class, Rodgers is prepared to move on and attempt to improve the Eagles’ future.
“It’ll lose its burn in a couple of weeks when we gotta go back and re-tool and find new kids to make it to the state championship,” Rodgers said. “At some point they’ll gain some perspective on it, but it’s not right now.”