Play off appearance energizes team for future success


photo or infographic by Summer Rains

SIX MORE POINTS. After crossing into the endzone in the play-off game against Spring Dekaney, junior Jamarious Wells celebrates with junior Tanner Hayes.

The score was 27-28 against the Conroe Tigers. 

Forty seconds left on the clock. 

The Wildkat football team had a decision to make: go for the sure thing or go for the win. 

The Wildkat football team secured their spot in the playoffs by one point when senior Steele Bardwell scored a two point conversion. Last Thursday was their first playoff game, when they lost 22-44 against the Dekaney Wildcats. Starting the season with all odds against them, making it to the playoffs for the first time in the 6A district is a huge victory. Now, moving forward into next year’s season, players and coaches are ready to make it all the way. If students would like to participate next season they need to switch into the football class period before next semester. 

“It has definitely been a challenge especially since we started out with one of the toughest schedules of any team in our district, going against top ranked teams,” junior David Soriano said. “It’s a really good feeling for the way we have come up and grown since the beginning.”               

Coaches and coordinators have worked tirelessly with their players in order to give them the right guidance they needed for this season, and coaches are proud of the accomplishments their players have made.

“They deserve this,” defensive coordinator Coach Timothy Knicky said. “They have worked unbelievably hard all year.  They’ve had to handle a lot of criticism throughout the year and they never waivered.  Their backs were up against the wall the last two weeks and they went out and got two victories.  We are playing very good football right now and we are peaking at the right time.”

Senior players hope that they inspired the grades below them, and hope that they will continue their journey into a playoff victory next fall. 

”This year was really important to us seniors because we wanted to leave a legacy,” senior Josh Thomas said. “We wanted to be remembered as a great class,  the class that put Willis football in the right direction and I believe we did that. Making the playoffs was just the beginning for Willis football and as a senior class we’re proud to leave Willis with its first ever playoff appearance in 6A football.”

Making the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for all players, and seniors look back on the playoffs from 2016 and are grateful to be a part of it this year. 

“I remember my big brother and his best friend making the playoffs and how big of a deal it was for them,” senior Andy Parker said. “Willis hasn’t been back to the playoffs since then and the feeling of making it is pretty cool, especially since it is my senior year.”

The success of this season has inspired players and coaches to carry the feeling into next season, and they feel even more prepared for next fall. 

“My thoughts moving forward are I don’t want this ride to end,” Knicky said. “I want our kids to be champions.  One week at a time.”

Those returning next season are prepared for the years to come, and are excited to no longer be seen as the underdogs. 

“I’m ready to show the state of Texas that Willis is a force to be reckoned with,” junior Aiden Collier said.