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Cougars look back at title game run

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Football is big in Texas. It’s not just a game, it’s so much more. Family, food, community, rivalries – it’s part of life in Texas.1984 Varsity Team

That makes a run to the state championship so important, especially to a small town. And Tomball in 1984 was really big in small-town football.

“The anticipation built up each week as the team made it further into the playoffs,” said Benita Dunlavy, who started teaching here in 1979. “The activity level was high as the groups of the school came together as one. The cheer leaders, student counsel, the teachers, everybody.”

Coach Lynn Ethridge helped start the football players’ success in junior high. They took what they had learned into high school, and made it into something great.

“the atmosphere went beyond the high school. There was a lot of pride around town and excitement, a feeling of anticipation to move forward, everyone was involved,” Pavlis said.

The 1984 football players were the first to make it to the championship, then returned in 1985 to do it again. These players set the mood in the school, put excitement in the air. With Tomball being a football town, the town was extremely pumped up and anxious to see how far the team would make it.

The school provided buses for the staff to go to every playoff game together, and whichever students wanted a ride there. The ‘84-‘85 football teams set their school up for pure happiness and excitement every time they pushed forward, winning another game.

“I would say the atmosphere back then was- I would put it was more electric. You also have to remember though that we had the entire town behind us,” Gordon Graham said.

Students rooted on our team in many ways like wearing school colors and wishing them good luck. The news of the football team’s advancements were told in every classroom; whenever a game was upcoming the teachers, students, siblings, parents, grandparents, business owners, etc. left their homes to go and enjoy the game with the rest of the community.

There was no limit to the support that the football players received and even Magnolia showed support for the cougars. This happened to be a pretty big deal because Magnolia High was Tomball’s rival at the time.

“The guys who played on the 84-85 teams were just a special group of kids. They were very dedicated, as well as the parents and it was something these kids had really worked for,” Graham said.

Considering the team was at an all-time high and they had everybody in the town and school looking to them to make it all the way they put in all of their effort and worked hard for themselves, their team, their coaches, and their school.

“I really want to emphasize that we were a team, and achieved what we did because we had great team work, coaches, and tremendous support. The chemistry was unique and it was a great, fun experience,” said Lance Pavlis, the starting quarterback for the teams.

The lights in the town were out, businesses were closed, and dinner was hot dogs and pickles at the stadium, the anxiety in the air as everybody mobbed around the football stadium to watch the games.

 

Ted Hujar and Chuck Warren contributed to this report.

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