By Kevin Hageland | @OThankKevin
With the Dallas Cowboys picking up a 41-28 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, Metroplex football fans may be jonesing for a football fix this weekend.READ MORE: Luka's 25 Points Not Enough Against Steph Curry And Warriors, Mavericks Fall 130-92
If that’s the case, I’ve got a simple suggestion – go to North Texas’s Apogee Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday.
There, you’ll get to see the Class 6A Region I Final between two-time defending state champion Allen (13-0) and Euless Trinity (12-1). Tremendous players are scattered across both rosters, including Eagles senior quarterback Kyler Murray, who was just named Gatorade Texas Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. And for the second straight year, I was one of the media members that voted for him.
It wasn’t a tough decision; that kid has been destined for greatness since he arrived in Allen.
I first glimpsed Murray a week after he transferred from Lewisville (sorry Farmers, I still feel bad for you cause of that move).
I was in the $59.6 million Eagle Stadium (which had yet to host its first game and was still a good 20 months or so from being condemned) to do the standard season preview for the newspaper I worked at. While watching practice I saw a quarterback who, at the time, wasn’t particularly tall or particularly big just dash past defenders on consecutive plays and then rocket a pass 50 yards down the field.
“Who is that,” I quickly asked Allen offensive coordinator Jeff Fleener. He cracked a big smile and said, “That’s Kyler Murray. His dad is Kevin Murray.”
“The former Texas A&M quarterback,” I replied inquisitively. Fleener, an Aggies alum himself, smiled once more and nodded his head.
Murray had been with the team a week at that point and already been elevated to backup quarterback.
And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, consider the fact that the Eagles usually have four to six players vying to be starting quarterback in spring football and the team’s previous five starting quarterbacks at that point – Casey Dick (Arkansas), Nathan Dick (Arkansas), Matt Brown (TCU), Tucker Carter (UTSA) and Alec Morris (Alabama) – all made their way to Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
It took Murray all of five games to become the starter.READ MORE: North Texas Mom Hospitalized 93 Days With COVID-19 Delivers Healthy Baby Girl
And he hasn’t looked back since then.
Literally, as the Eagles haven’t found themselves on the losing end in any of the 40 games Murray has started, a streak that is the seventh longest in 11-man Texas high school football history. During that run, five … FIVE … of Allen victories have been decided by less than 14 points!
Neither of those “close calls” came in the state title games as the Eagles have won the last two Class 5A Division I State Championships (over Houston Lamar and Pearland) by a combined 49 points.
No doubt winning a championship is a team effort, but Murray has done plenty of the lifting along the way. Last year, his first full season as a starter, the five-star A&M commit completed 63.7 percent of his passes – throwing for 3,669 yards and 46 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. He also ran for 1,274 yards and 19 touchdowns en route to being named first team all-USA Today.
The mind-boggling numbers have continued this season as the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game selection has thrown for 3,563 yards and 40 touchdowns with only seven picks. And, oh by the way, he’s also run for 1,291 rushing and 25 touchdowns.
Too many numbers? Sorry, I’ve got one more!
Murray is responsible for 416.5 yards of offense and 4.2 touchdowns per game since he became a starter.
And I haven’t even mentioned the only thing potentially derailing Murray’s arrival in Aggieland is that he could be a first-round selection in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Yes … really! But we’ll have to save that discussion for another day.
For now, let’s focus on football and the fact you can see one of the greatest Texas high school quarterbacks of all time this weekend. But make sure you get to Apogee Stadium on time (2 p.m. Saturday) as Allen has scored a touchdown on its opening drive 75 percent of the time during its current 40-game win streak.
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