An hour before the kickoff of Saturday's Class 5A Division I championship in Texas, fans were crammed in a concourse at Cowboys Stadium. They had bought their tickets for the final game of the night, but they couldn't find a seat in the lower sections.
That's because many of the fans from games earlier in the day weren't leaving. It was a problem for the Trinity (Euless)
fans who wanted to see their teams, but for the University Interscholastic League, it was a confirmation of what they expected:
Holding the state's biggest championship games at one location would bring in a lot of fans.
Crowds were large for the 4A Division I and 5A Division II championships earlier in the day, and attendance swelled to 43,321 for the much-anticipated showdown of Trinity and Pearland in the 5A Division I game.
Pearland knocked off top-ranked Trinity, 28-24, to win the title. The Oilers (16-0) left Cowboys Stadium with their first championship, the Trojans (15-1) left wondering what could've been, and UIL representatives left with smiles on their faces.
"It's been incredible. You get the championship atmosphere," UIL athletic director Cliff Odenwald said. "We consider it a major success. We think the attendance number is great for the first year, and we think this has a chance to grow."
The games attracted enough fans to threaten the record attendance for a Texas high school football game, which was set when 49,953 watched the 4A title game in 1977.
More stories from around the Dallas area the last week:JOHNATHAN GRAY SETS STATE TD RECORD
ran for eight touchdowns in Aledo's
69-34 victory over La Marque in the 4A Division II final Friday night, giving him 59 on the season. That broke the season record of 57 set by Sugar Land's Kenneth Hall in 1953. The Dallas Morning News
reported that Hall, now 75 years old, watched the game on television from his home in Fredericksburg, Texas. Gray, a junior who is expected to be one of the nation's most coveted recruits next season, rushed for 325 yards as Aledo won its second straight title.AUSTIN LAKE TRAVIS JOINS ELITE COMPANY WITH FOURTH STRAIGHT TITLELake Travis (Austin)
(14-2) knocked off previously undefeated Denton Ryan (15-1), 27-7, to win its fourth straight 4A Division I title. Only two other schools have won four straight UIL titles: Sealy (1994-97 in 3A) and Celina (1998-2001 in 2A). Lake Travis had a 48-game winning streak snapped earlier this season. Ryan's offense didn't manage a first down until the third quarter.BRANDON MULLINS EARNS 5A DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Coppell linebacker Brandon Mullins
was named the Associated Press 5A Defensive Player of the Year, and football isn't even his best sport. The senior, who will play lacrosse at Syracuse next year, had 131 tackles, 11 sacks and three interceptions this season. His team lost to Euless Trinity, 41-40, in the 5A Division I Region I final.DALLAS-AREA BOYS TEAMS TOP 5A HOOPS RANKINGSLakeview Centennial (Garland)
, Marcus (Flower Mound)
, Cedar Hill
and North Crowley (Fort Worth)
are in the top five spots in this week's Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A rankings. Lakeview was a state finalist last year and Marcus was a state semifinalist. DeSoto won the 5A title in 2008 by beating Cedar Hill in the final.NEWS AND VIEWS
Lancaster football coach Andrew Jackson resigned Thursday after nine seasons as head coach. His team started 6-0 this season, but lost four of its final five games, including a first-round playoff game. … With a minute left in its 24-21 loss to Cibolo Steele in the 5A Division I final, Denton Guyer was at the Steele 37-yard line and nearly in field-goal range. But quarterback J.W. Walsh
, who had thrown only four interceptions in his first 15 games, threw a ball up for grabs and hoped receiver Quint Gardener would come down with it. Instead, Steele cornerback Kwame Clark
made the interception and Guyer's chance of a first state title was over. Walsh, a dual-threat quarterback who is committed to Oklahoma State, did run for 123 yards in the game. … East Texas school Carthage
won its third straight title game in the Dallas area by clobbering Coldspring, 47-22, in the 3A Division II final Friday at Cowboys Stadium. Carthage won a state title in 2008 at Texas Stadium, which has now been demolished, and last year at SMU's Ford Stadium. ... Euless Trinity came up short in its bid to win a second straight title and its 28-game win streak was snapped in a 28-24 loss to Pearland. But one of Trinity's streaks continues. Since 2004, Trinity has either won a state title or lost to the eventual champion. Trinity won titles in 2005, '07 and '09, and it lost to Tyler Lee in '04, Southlake Carroll in '06, Allen in '08 and Pearland.Matt Wixon is the high school sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattwixon.