From the desk of Wally Dawkins, Athletic Director:

The expressions in the room consisted mostly of blank stares when I relayed the news.  In a relatively short time however, the faces became longer and a sense of anxiety seemed to fill the air.  As the reality of the news began to set in, you could detect a sense of real concern when the coaching staff filed out of my office.

After three consecutive years of being in the State Championship game, and winning it all just 4 months earlier, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS, our state organization) had just released the new classifications for the 2012-2014 school years, and Brook Hill had been moved up to Class AAAA in the sport of football.  The re-classification of The Guard would pit BH against three of the state’s perennial pigskin powers in Midland Christian, Parish Episcopal, and Dallas Christian.  If Brook Hill was going to be successful in football from here on out, they would have to go through those types of teams.

All three of the schools mentioned above sit atop of the classification due to their large enrollments, while Brook Hill’s number of students enrolled would mean we would sit at the bottom of AAAA.

Three years ago, many of us were very concerned about our football program.  We would now be pitted against schools that had nearly 700 students, while the enrollment at Brook Hill was just a little over 200.  At first, we tried to understand how TAPPS could move us up into a larger division.  “Where was the fairness” we asked each other.

We lamented over the fact that we had been so successful the past several years, and now it was almost like we were going to have to do damage control due to what seemed like was impending and numerous defeats.  Our parents and fans were not going to understand how we had been winning 11 to 12 to 13 games a year, but now with the much tougher competition on the horizon, surely those numbers of wins would probably be cut in half.  All of a sudden, a gloom and doom attitude was emerging. A cloud of despair now seemed to hang over the field house in place of the usual optimism that had been prevalent amongst our coaches and players in springtime’s of years past.

As the Athletic Director, I knew it was time to take steps, and move quickly if our football coaching staff, the young men playing football, as well as their parents, were going to look at the 2012-2013 season with a some semblance of optimism.

The approach we decided to take was first to communicate to all involved the message that good football programs wanted to move into tougher conferences, for better competition which equaled a tougher challenge.  We convinced our coaches and athletes that this was a phenomena that was happening all across the country. We used Texas A & M’s move to the SEC, TCU into the Big 12, and Utah into the PAC 12, as examples of good football programs who moved up with the opportunity to receive greater dividends.  The Brook Hill coaches and players immediately began to identify with this analogy and they started to see BH as a program consisting of good football coaches and players, who had been part of a winning tradition, and who was looking for tougher competition and a bigger challenge.

We then implemented a mandatory two day per week weight program to strengthen our athletes since we were going to be facing larger schools with bigger and quicker people.  The kids and coaching staff bought into this approach also, and began to see the weight workouts as the means of equalizing the playing field against players from bigger schools.

We hired an additional coach for our football staff in an effort to put Brook Hill on a more equal footing with schools whose staffs were larger.  This addition sent a message to our players that competing in football at the next level was a priority with the administration.

However, in retrospect, probably the most important thing that occurred was that both our coaching staff and our players decided to step up to the challenge before them and meet it head on.  Running or hiding from the challenge was not an option.  The looks of doubt and concern started to diminish and were being replaced with a sense of excitement and opportunity.

Our coaching staff started working even hard, planning better, and began to do a hard sell job on the players that eventually Brook Hill would be as successful in class AAAA as we had been in AAA.

Year one of the new challenge in 2012 saw BH go 6-5 and make the state playoffs by finishing 4th in District 2-AAAA.  The second year of the change into the larger conference saw new Brook Hill Head Coach Bobby Brasher lead The Guard to a 7-4 record, finish 3rd in the league, and lose an overtime thriller to Fort Worth Christian in the Bi-District Championship game.

Fast Forward to 2014.

Last Friday night, Brook Hill downed All Saints 40-13 to win the District Championship and enter the TAPPS State playoffs as the 1st Place Team from District 2-4A.  The win over All Saints was interesting to say the least.  In April of 2012, All Saints was also moved up into Conference AAAA.  The Trojans however chose to drop out of TAPPS competition in football and play an Independent schedule.

Thanks to the efforts of our kids, our coaching staff, and the support of our parents and fans, Brook Hill Football has not only “stepped up” to the challenge of playing in Conference AAAA, they have seen this as an opportunity to not only to get better, but to succeed at a higher level.

The attitude of our football team and coaches should be an example for all of us.  Here is what they taught us; Sometimes things in life are just plain tough.  Sometimes the challenges we face seem too much for us to overcome.  Sometimes life is not fun…it’s actually hard.  Sometimes we don’t get what we want, but we make the best of it..

It’s during the difficult times that we learn what type of people we are.  How do we react to adversity?  How do we respond to a situation that is not what we want it to be?

The answer to those questions rests within the hearts and minds of the players and coaches at Brook Hill who put forth the time, effort, and held to the belief that they could achieve from 2012-2014.

Due to those people, Brook Hill Football is the Champion of District 2-AAAA and will face Northland Christian Friday night at 7:00 in Herrington Stadium/Young Field.

‘Nuff said and another reason to be “ALL ORANGE”… All the Time.