By TONY EIERDAM
It was the largest crowd in the history of Mineral Wells ISDs Ram Stadium, and ironically, it wasn’t a game involving Stephenville, Class 5A schools or any other 11-man teams.
In 2008, six man and Palo Pinto County rivals Strawn and Gordon faced off late in the playoffs, and there was only one venue that could be counted on to hold the two schools’ large fan bases and the curious local football fans that were anticipated to watch the contest.
Ram Stadium was in its first year, and its final game of 2008 became its most memorable when the ‘Hounds and ‘Horns squared off in that state quarterfinal contest.
The crowd – standing room only – is still talked about by local high school football coaches and fans to this day.
Today at 7 p.m. Strawn (10-2) returns to the scene as the state-ranked (six man, Division II) No. 3 Greyhounds take on No. 7 Newcastle at Ram Stadium in the state quarterfinals. The winner will advance to the state semifinals and play the winner of the Calvert/Milford quarterfinal.
The winner of the semifinals will advance to the Division II state championship game. The stakes in six man football have grown this year as the prize for qualifying for the state championship game has risen as the contest will be played at 3 p.m, Dec. 14 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium.
Strawn head coach Dewaine Lee was the Greyhounds’ head coach in 2008 – the second year the ‘Hounds won a state championship – and well remembers the atmosphere in Ram Stadium.
“When we played Gordon there in 2008 the atmosphere was incredible,” Lee said. “Ram Stadium is one of my favorite places to play as a player or a coach.
“Our players are excited to be playing there and so are our fans. I tried to get a game in there last year but it fell through. It is a great stadium and will be a great experience for our players and fans.”