Football Coach Terry Pirtle has experience in the state playoffs and hopes to secure a win with the Second Baptist School Eagles.
When Pirtle was coaching at The Brook Hill School, the program had competed in back-to-back state title games but had fallen short. At their third state title game, they won it all.
As Second Baptist School eyes its third straight TAPPS Division II State Semifinal appearance this weekend, Pirtle relives his past experiences in the hopes that SBS can pull off the state title this year.
"Now there's a sense of urgency to get it done," Pirtle said in a phone interview. "It's a different feeling this year. We deserve to be here, we're good enough to be here and we want to compete well in this game."
The Eagles are coming off a 42-0 victory over St. Joseph High School and a 49-14 win against St. Michael's Catholic Academy to reach the TAPPS Final Four.
This season, Second Baptist School has a 7-1 record, outscoring opponents 364-122 along the way. It has been a game-to-game basis, Pirtle said, but after punching their ticket back to the state semifinals, the focus was immediately shifted to the state game.
"The guys haven't said much about competing for state until after last weekend's game," Pirtle said. "A couple athletes spoke, and they were really focused on what we have to do this week to compete and play well."
TOUCHDOWN EAGLES— SecondBaptistSchoolAthletics (@SBS_Athletics) December 5, 2020
Harris from Nicholson
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Now to get to the program's first state title game since 1999, when the Eagles defeated Dallas Christian 31-14 for the TAPPS 4A State Championship, Second Baptist School has to get through Regents School of Austin.
"Historically they are the best team in TAPPS," Pirtle said. "When you think about football programs in Texas, you think of Dallas Christian, you think about Nolan, and there are teams that immediately come to mind. Regents is one of those. Second Baptist School wants to become one of those names."
A win on Saturday would catapult the Eagles onto that level.
For the veteran football coach, the last two exits from the playoffs have stung; playing Regents is a chance to go out and show they can take care of business.
"You're always looking for a signature win, and here's another opportunity for it," Pirtle said.
What has fueled this successful season?
In the season opener against Calhoun, the Eagles were down five starters, but the athletes never gave up. The players fought, Pirtle said, and they showed the kind of team they would be from the get-go.
"I knew we had a special team that could fight through adversity," he said. "Ever since then, these student athletes improved on both offense and defense. I'm really proud of the way the players have grown this year."
With the season they have put together, on both sides of the ball, especially down in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines, Pirtle credited the entire team for their success.
The team plays hard and the right way, Pirtle said, and they play for each other; these are the characteristics of a great team.
"There are the players we expected to play well like seniors Bryce Ganious, Bryce Calloway, Ellis Conklin and Finn Nicholson. Underclassmen who have moved up to junior and senior positions have done a great job as well, like junior Everett Skillern, who has had a tremendous year," Pirtle said. "Eli Smith '22 has over 1,000 yards rushing, and Jaxson Baumunk '21 has done a great job offensively and defensively for the team."
Coach Pirtle continues, "Sophomore linebackers Karsten Chambers, Kyle Kilmoregen and Austin Courteney hold three positions we graduated last year. They've come in and played well, helping us secure our defense. I believe our defensive line is one of the best I've seen." He summarizes by saying, "The strength of our team is our defensive and offensive line, which is a great thing to have going into the playoffs."
The Eagles hope to secure the state championship in the coming weeks with their all-star varsity football team.