By TONY EIERDAM
It was a season that began slowly but ultimately progressed upwardly for the Mineral Wells Rams football team in 2013.
Early season injuries caused a major shift in personnel, and some projected starters never made it past week one.
An 0-5 non-district record followed by a stunning District 6-3A-opening loss to Castleberry the team could have just packed it in for the season.
But the Rams came back and played a tight game with Lake Worth, then notched its first and only win of the season in a blowout at home over Diamond Hill.
But perhaps the real highlight of the Rams’ season was its last two games against its toughest district opponents, Springtown and Kennedale.
The Rams gave Springtown a tough game it did not expect, and MWHS ended up the season by scoring more points on district-champion Kennedale than any team in the league. Kennedale, by the way, played its starters in that game deep into the fourth quarter.
But the defining moment of the year was the Castleberry game, a contest the Rams knew they had to win to qualify for the playoffs.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence agreed that it was a loss the team could not overcome.
“Without a doubt, the Castleberry loss was our biggest loss of the year,” Lawrence said. “We knew the winner of that game was probably going to be in the playoffs, and that proved to be true.
“That was a big game, and I thought the kids prepared hard. We had some opportunities where we didn’t score, and we had a hard time stopping them. It just seemed like it was third and five, they got six; if it was third and three, they got four.”
A key moment came late in the game when the Rams tied the sore at 21-21. Castleberry ran the ensuing kickoff back into Rams’ territory. The return set up the game-winning field goal as Castleberry won, 24-21.