Before I first arrived in the Lone Star State, I had no idea the gravity Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine holds in Texas.
Even after meeting Mr. Campbell myself (at the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame induction for T.J. Mills) I’m still only scratching the surface of his legacy. Further driving of that nail came earlier this week with the newest edition’s covers being revealed.
I used the plural form of cover there because there is a secondary one featuring the newest edition of the Houston-Dallas rivalry on the high school stage (which we’ll get to soon) sitting next to the current Longhorn quarterback, Sam Ehlinger.
Soon enough all my social media were filled with the covers in their high resolution and it quickly clicked in my head how important a moment this was.
Any Longhorn supporter was out in full force, re-posting the picture or stories attached to it and I too fell into the hole and wanted to find out what else is going on.
The annual Texas football bible, running its 60th edition this year, featured Ehlinger on the cover for the second time, this time he graced the cover all on his own, backing up the headline, “BRING IT ON: Sam Ehlinger hears the hype and the hate. He’s ready.”
The Longhorn signal caller has the weight of a Texas football turnaround on his shoulders and the look on his face suggests he’s determined to get it done, much different than the puzzling look on his face the first time he was named cover boy.
Back in 2016, Ehlinger and his head coach, Todd Dodge of Westlake High School, recreated a pose from one of the first magazines in 1963 with Longhorn head coach Darrell Royal in his seventh year at the helm with his arm around lineman Scott Appleton showing him where to go next.
Texas won the national championship undefeated in 1963 but Westlake fell in 2016’s state quarterfinal to eventual state champion Lake Travis which was the second loss to its rival that year with the only other loss coming to a Liberty team from Nevada, if you’re into the superstition of what happens the year a specific athlete is on the cover.
The 2019 Longhorn season will have all eyes on Ehlinger similar to the way the Division I-6A State Championship ended last season; on a Hail Mary that hailed all the Mary’s.
Houston’s Galena Park North Shore and Duncanville of Dallas needed every last second of their meeting for the crown and the final throw seemed to take just about that long to come down but it found its intended receiver (A.J. Carter) for the score, making it 41-36 just as the clock hit triple-zero.
It already has the makings of a great rivalry with antics already being started this offseason with some athletes going to their opponent’s school to get work in and that is what my guy Adam Coleman from the Houston Chronicle and Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News encapsulate in their bi-bylined article which serves as this year’s secondary cover in a magazine that I am now excited to hit newsstands.
I’ll be honest, at first I wasn’t the biggest fan of another publication coming into “my town” to cover the team I’m responsible for but again, that was part of my naivety at the beginning of this job. I understand their job is a different one than mine and I very much so appreciate the lengths they go to in order to compile all of this information across the entire state and will forever commend them for the job their entire staff does.
They have become sort of an aiming point in how I try to cover teams and I now happily join a crowd of impatient football fans wanting to know the scoop on any and every team in the state heading into the newest season.
But don’t forget who to come to for the rest of Austin County’s football coverage; you guessed it, these pages right here. See you soon, football season!