I suppose every state, large city , or small town in the United States has its bragging rights on being champion in one sport or the other. Football comes to my mind, especially high school football in the State of Texas. Statistically, three states contribute more high school athletes to division 1A college football. California, Texas, and Florida are leaders in this category.
I am most familiar with football, especially District IV- 5A. These are considered large Texas schools and pre season is never overrated. This district has proven to be one of the most prepared, hardest fighting, and well supported by Texas fans.
To put things in perspective, here are the teams in District IV-5A: Odessa Permian, Odessa High, Midland Lee, Midland High, Abilene High, and Abilene Cooper. Of course these teams are in Odessa,Texas,Abilene,Texas, and Midland,Texas.
Odessa Permian is probably most recognized. The movie, ” Friday Night Lights” was about this team’s struggle in a very competitive district and the journey to a Texas State Championship. The movie was right on as far as depicting a town and its attitude for expecting a state title year after year. The few scenes showing a grilling pre season was also correct. I can tell you by personal experience this; town businesses shut down early on Friday nights and filled the stadiums to the tune of twenty to thirty thousand out of control fans- parents and alumni. By out of control, I only say the passion and fierce competition and support for teams filled the night air with roaring chants and yells.
Statistically, here a brief history on this team: State 5A champions in 1980, tied for state in 1984, 1985 lost in the finals, 1989 won title, and 1995 lost title by 3 points.
Odessa Permian is not the only factor in District IV-5A. Midland Lee gets national respect when winning three high school state championships in football in 1998-2000. They were ranked nationally in the Super 25 Ranking #10 in 1998, #1 in 1999, and #8 in 2000. Even with three titles in a row, Midland Lee had only one year, 1999, with a perfect 15-0 record. Their losses were to teams in their district during the year.
Talk about rivalries, here are a few worth mentioning.
Midland Lee vs Abilene Cooper, 1998 Abilene Cooper wins in a defensive , hard hitting, spit and blood spattering game. Actually no one was seriously hurt, than goodness and the crowd got one hell of a game. Midland Lee licks its wounds and starts their three year run, winning the state championship.
In 1999, Midland High was supposed to win about half its games. But when it came time to play their rival and last years state champion, Midland High fought a great battle and had Midland Lee in the arms of defeat until the last few seconds of the game resulted in an interception that gave Midland Lee the victory.
These are just two, at least most memorable to me but if you were to ask any person in any other Texas town, they would have a story to tell.
Finally, I can list a few athletes that are now professional that came out of District IV-5A:
John Lackey- Pitcher for Anaheim Angels
Dominque Rhodes- running back for Annapolis Colts