Texico coach Mike Prokop admits his back-to-back Class 1A state champion football teams in 2003 and 2004 simply overpowered teams.
“All we had to do was make sure they got on the bus,” he said.
Not so this year.
After mostly smooth sailing during an undefeated regular season, the Wolverines endured a bumpy ride on the road to the school’s first Class 2A crown.
In the semifinals, Texico stuffed Santa Rosa on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1-yard line in overtime to beat its district rival 28-21.
In the title game, the Wolverines escaped with a 28-26 win when Dexter’s two-point conversion try to tie the game in the final seconds failed.
“To me, that’s the way state (playoff) games should be played,” said Prokop, who has led the Wolverines to seven state title appearances in his nine years at the school.
“This team has a lot of good athletes, but mainly they had a lot of heart and desire,” Prokop said. “They held each other accountable and didn’t want to let someone else down.”
The Wolverines’ success was built on a strong running game keyed by junior running back Edgardo Meza and a rock-solid defense, led by senior nose guard Mark Rivera and linebackers Seth Bailey and Brett Anderson.
Texico limited its nine regular-season opponents to 46 points, included a string of three straight shutouts.
Rivera said that swarming to the ball is what made the Texico defense tough.
“We rely on each other to be there for the tackle,” Rivera said. “We all gang-tackle, so it means the whole team goes there. We depend on everybody; we’re all sure tacklers.”
Prokop said the Wolverines showed their mettle early, rallying from a 12-7 deficit in their second game — their season opener was halted in the second quarter by lightning — to beat Springlake-Earth, Texas, 34-12.
“As we got closer to district, we continued to get better and worked hard,” Prokop said. “When we beat Santa Rosa (28-14 in district play), I knew we had a good shot (at winning a state title.)”
Revenge-minded Santa Rosa proved to be a major obstacle in the second round of the playoffs.
Texico fell behind 14-0 early when Anderson and senior running back Mario Posada hooked up for a 72-yard touchdown pass that Prokop called the biggest play of the season.
“You could just tell after that the kids believed they’d win the game,” Prokop said. “They developed a tenacity that comes from working hard and they refused to lose.”
The Wolverines still needed two big fourth-down plays in overtime to pull out the road win — Anderson’s touchdown pass to Bailey that proved to be the difference, and the aforementioned goal-line stop.
In the title game, Posada scored three touchdowns, including a game-winning 35-yard run with 1 1/2 minutes left in the game as Texico rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit.
“At halftime, I challenged them,” Prokop said. “You’ve got to take care of this in the third quarter. You’ve got to go out and win this state championship in the third quarter.”
No. Name Pos. Yr.
2 Jose Posada QB/DB So.
3 Marcus Pena WR/DB Jr.
4 Rhett Martin WR/FS Jr.
5 Sean Rusk FB/LB Jr.
6 Warren Faircloth RB/NG Sr.
7 Beau Martin RB/DB Fr.
12 Jesus Rivera TE/OLB Fr.
14 Brett Anderson QB/LB Sr.
20 Donavon Johnson RB/DE Fr.
23 Roger Gomez TE/LB Jr.
24 Luis Estrada TE/DE Sr.
26 Edgardo Meza RB/DB Jr.
30 Brandon King RB/NG Fr.
42 Mario Poasada RB/DB Sr.
50 Jonathan Hill G/LB Jr.
51 Garrett Garrison G/FS Jr.
53 Mason Finney G/DT Fr.
56 Humberto Burciaga T/DT Jr.
58 Diego Oliveira T/DT Fr.
64 Mark Rivera G/NG Sr.
66 Jairo Lozano G/DT Jr.
67 Matt Vasquez G/DT Jr.
73 Dathan McWhorter T/DT So.
74 Eli Morgan C/DT Jr.
76 Jonathon Montano T/DT Sr.
80 Kolten Miller WR/DB So.
81 Lucas Walthers TE/OLB So.
88 Kevin Viser E/OLB Sr.
99 Seth Bailey RB/LB Jr.
Head coach: Mike Prokop. Assistants: Ryan Autrey, Richard Luscombe, Ron Hubby.
at Springlake Earth W 34-12
Loving W 101-0
at Clovis JV W 23-6
Hagerman W 28-0
at Gruver, Texas W 24-0
at Capitan W 41-0
at Santa Rosa W 28-14
Tucumcari W 48-7
Estancia W 41-0
Class 2A playoffs
Cloudcroft W 39-7
at Santa Rosa W 28-21 (OT)
at Dexter W 28-26
View a photo gallery from the state championship game
View a photo gallery from Texico vs. Cloudcroft
View a photo gallery from the Texico vs. Tucumcari