Muleshoe’s David Wood is certainly aware of the legacy a state championship would bring to his career as a Texas high school football coach. And how special is a run at the title with his son playing quarterback and his nephew starting at running back?
Wood is trying not to think about it.
“I haven’t really been able to sit down and enjoy it like I ought to, and probably won’t be able to until after the season,” Wood said.
If he’s fortunate, Wood won’t have to consider his team’s standout 2008 season for a couple of more weeks.
Muleshoe (13-0) will play in a Class 2A Division I state semifinal today against Pilot Point. The game will be played at 4 p.m. (CST) in Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium.
The Mules and Bearcats come into the game today with entirely different ways of winning in the postseason. Muleshoe had two-touchdown victory margins in its first two playoff games and then had an easier-than-expected time in dispatching Clyde 42-7 to take the Region I championship last week.
Pilot Point (11-1), meanwhile, has made a habit of squeaking by the previous three rounds to stay alive. The Bearcats have won by four, two and three points — last week a 27-24 victor over Royse City — to move into today’s contest.
Wes Wood, Muleshoe’s quarterback, has now tossed 60 touchdowns and is closing in on the all-time state record of 67. That was set in 2003 by Ennis’ Graham Harrell, now the signal-caller at Texas Tech. Lane Wood at running back is the primary option when the Mules decide not to air the ball out.
In order for Wes Wood to keep on his potention record-setting touchdown rate, the Mules’ defense will have to keep a large Pilot Point offensive line from chewing up time and yardage.
Last week, Bearcats’ running back Jarman Johnson ran for 167 yards.
“They’re big, they’re awfully big,” David Wood said. “They’ve got a 290 (pound lineman), a 290 and a 280 up front. They like to run and they do it out of a spread formation.
“But every team we’ve played in the playoffs has done it that way,” he adds.
Pilot Point, located north of Dallas, has only one common opponent with Muleshoe and that was Childress. The Mules beat the Bobcats 37-7 in the regular season while the Bearcats knocked off Childress 41-14.
Childress coach Mark Manley, a former teammate of David Wood at West Texas A&M, gives the slight advantage to the Mules.
“They’re both pretty impressive,” Manley said. “I personally would give Muleshoe the edge. I think their offense is a little more diverse — being able to run effectively and, of course, they can throw the football obviously.
“Pilot Point we played earlier in the year and they may have evolved since then, but they have a really good offensive line. They’re big and strong and run the ball real well.
“They’re a little bit weaker as far as throwing the ball is concerned.”
Manley calls the Bearcats’ defense “aggressive,” particularly along the line and with the linebackers.
However, he praises Wes Wood’s mobility — as well as his arm — and points to that as a potential decisive factor today.
“They (Pilot Point’s defenders) come after you,” Manley said. “They’re really quick and strong. It could come in handy, but teams have found out that it’s really hard to put a lot of pressure on the Wood kid.”