8 Championships in 15 Years, Can Motley County Stop the Coyotes From Making It 9?
ARLINGTON, TX -- The Richland Springs Coyotes are playing for more than a State Championship Friday. They are chasing history.
A win on Wednesday would give them their 9th state championship in school history. That milestone has never been reached by any team, six man or not. Five teams currently have eight, and two of them, Richland Springs and Aledo, still have a chance to distance themselves from the other three this season.
14-1 Aledo plays 14-1 Marshall on Saturday, so even if they win, Richland Springs would be alone at the top for at least three days. That is if they can make it past Motley County.
Richland Springs is a heavy favorite to do so. They have the championship pedigree, the coach, and the players to end the year with an undefeated record.
Possibly the most successful head coach in Texas history, Jerry Burkhart, made his return to the program after a year away from the school. Burkhart was the coach for the Coyotes from 2003-2017 and left with eight state championships and a 192-10 record. During his tenure, Richland Springs never went more than two years without winning a state championship.
He then coached for half a season at Stanton, a 3A DII school, and left after going 1-6 for family related reasons. He joined the Rankin staff as an assistant coach for the remainder of the year before his return to Richland Springs.
The Coyotes jumped through some hoops to bring him back. Thomas Tipton, who replaced Burkhart and went 12-1 in 2018, left the school, and they went on to hire assistant Jamie Rigdon. Four months after his promotion, he was reassigned in order for Burkhart to return.
Now, Burkhart has picked up right where he left off two seasons ago. His team is undefeated and has wins against #8 May, #7 Calvert, #10 Oakwood, and #5 Strawn.
His offense averages 53 points per game, and his defense allows just 20. In their toughest battle of the season so far, the Coyotes mercy ruled the Strawn Greyhounds 62-14 in the semifinal game last week.
Back/linebacker Matthew Rigdon, the son Jamie Rigdon, recovered a fumble and ran it into the end zone to give them a 48 point lead and end the game. The junior is their leading rusher with 1,108 yards and 21 TD's and their leading passer with 888 yards and 12 TD's.
Safety/running back Lane Shannon has been another key piece during their run. He has 99 tackles (51 solo, 48 assists) to go along with 12 rushing, 7 passing, and 5 receiving touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball.
Richland Springs is a well balanced attack with play makers all over the field and incredible depth. Motley County, on the other hand, is more of a one man show.
Running back Jake Richards set the six-man state record for rushing yards in a season in their win over Blackwell last week. He will head into AT&T Stadium with 3,903 yards.
Richards, only a sophomore, is the engine that keeps them going. Quarterback Demitric Sims has thrown for 32 touchdowns and 1,430 yards. They wear down opponents with the run and jump out to big leads.
The Matadors (11-3) have averaged a staggering 66 points per game this season. They do, however, allow 17 more points per game than Richland Springs does, 37 verse 20.
Their three losses account for that high number. Spur defeated them 76-74 in mid-September. They then lost to Paducah and Knox City in back to back weeks 88-46 and 116-94, respectively.
If you remove those games, Motley County averages just 22 points against.
Kickoff is set for Wednesday at 2:00 in AT&T Stadium. Tickets are $15, and they allow you to watch all three games.
Blum and McLean play at 11:00 a.m. for the 1A DI title. Post and Refugio play at 7:00 p.m. for the 2A DI Championship.
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