Friday, November 21, 2008

Way To Go Falcons!

When I was walking the halls of Jesse H. Jones High School in the late 70's, we were competitive in every sport we played.

Future NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green patrolled our secondary. Former Bronco Alfred Williams is an alum. One of the guys taking it to the hoop for the Falcons was 6'10" center and future 1983 NCAA high jump champion Ricky Thompson. Our basketball team in 1979 was ranked as high as No. 2 in the state on the boys side and our girls teams in all sports were competitive as well. The TransGriot even did her part as a member of the 1980 Falcon tennis team.

Jones even won state championships, just not while I was matriculating there as a Vanguard student.

They took Class 4A state basketball titles in 1965 and in 2003-04 with major help from now Cleveland Cavalier Daniel Gibson. There was a memorable 1985 run to the Class 5A football championship which ended on the Astrodome's turf in the Region III-5A finals courtesy of guess who 21-15.

Yates then went on to clobber San Antonio Holmes 34-0 and beat down legendary Texas football powerhouse Odessa Permian 37-0 in Texas Stadium to become the first inner city school in decades to win a Class 5A football title.

But in a UIL competitive era in which only the district champs got to go to the playoffs and playing in a brutally competitive District 20-4A (now 5A), we were always the bridesmaids finishing second to our rivals at Jack Yates in football and Phillis Wheatley in basketball while they made runs at state championships.

Even if we did survive the district wars, we would also have to survive the most challenging region in the state (Region III) just to get to any championship game or take that two hour bus ride to Austin for it.

In my sophomore year (1977) we beat Yates but lost a heartbreaker to Wheatley the next week on a Hail Mary pass. It forced a four way tie for the district title that after all the tie breakers were consulted resulted in Yates still going to the Dome for the playoffs to our chagrin. In 1979 we were nursing a narrow lead over Wheatley and two minutes from winning district outright in a sold out b-ball game at Barnett Fieldhouse only to lose it on a play I would eerily see replicated in the 1983 NCAA championship game as a UH student.

So I was happy and pleased to see that my high school alma mater took the District 22-4A title this year with a perfect 7-0 record and beat Houston Ross Sterling and Houston Worthing in the process. My sis, brother and two cousins graduated from Sterling, while my other sis, my uncle and my parents graduated from Worthing.

I was happy until I checked out the online Houston Chronicle and read the brackets for the 2008 Texas Class 4A playoffs. That's what produced the deja vu moment that inspired me to compose this post.

Even though I'm experiencing finite disappointment again, I still got bragging rights. I can't wait until the reunion next year to remind my relatives their teams got beat down by my mighty Falcons.

Once again Falcon state championship dreams are crushed by our Third Ward rivals. Their season was ended with a 27-6 loss to Jack Yates in the Bi-district round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs. It's even more galling to me that we lost to a JY team that squeaked in with a losing record as a third place qualifier.

But as a proud Falcon alum, had to give the Falcon footballers a shout out for the wonderful 7-3 season. Hope 2009 is a repeat of the same and you have a more extended stay in the playoffs next year.

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