A team above all. Above all a team.

Cody May, Staff Writer

The Canyon Cougar football team runs out of the tunnel for the first game of the 2022 season.

 

From 4-6, to 9-2 and a playoff appearance, improvement is one of the many words you can use to describe the Canyon Cougars 22-23 Varsity Football team. After a tough first year with new coaching staff led by Head Coach Travis Bush, the Cougars turned it around, and quickly. The Cougars opened the season with an insane comeback win at home against Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial 43-42 with a game-winning touchdown to seal the win. 

When asked about who has grown the most from last season to now, Bush replied, “Probably the whole senior class in general, really having been able to start from scratch with a true off-season in January.” Some specific players named were seniors Lane Buetow, Daniel Perez, Judah Strakos, Kono Hiatt, Jacob Alcorta, and Brayden Sealey saying, “…those six have really been probably the biggest leaders in focusing on that chemistry and holding guys accountable and really setting the tone for the work ethic these guys have built going off that toughness.”

The Cougars had a long-awaited win against the cross-town rival New Braunfels Unicorns with a tight 35-32 victory. When asked what he noticed Bush said, “…the entire game from pregame, I remember walking in at halftime and probably noticing the crowd for the first time of being sold out and seeing the standing room only people around the gates. I just haven’t seen a high school atmosphere like that in a long time. But the true Texas high school rival atmosphere, you can’t reproduce that anywhere. So it was amazing, and then to come down to the final minute and then to see these guys pull it out was just phenomenal.” Bush then had this to say about the students who attended the game, “…proud of the students, the support they had. They were in it the entire time and then being able to pull it out and celebrate together at the end was pretty cool.”

The Cougars, unfortunately, had one loss this season, losing at Smithson Valley 0-35 before heading into a bye week. They followed the loss with an exciting away win against district opponent Hays to give the Hawks their first loss of the season. “When you play a good team, you gotta be at your best and we probably kind of needed to be humbled a little bit as a team, and really over that week, you can see the guys got the hunger back in their eyes and really got back on the mindset of having something to prove and the seniors said, we’re not going to lose again after that game.” 

The Coogs clinched a playoff spot with a 27-14 victory at Seguin. “The thing about football is the first sport to kick off the school year, and football is doing well, usually the morale of the school is doing well. And with football and volleyball doing well, the support, you can see it at the pep rallies. The pep rallies are a lot more energetic and a lot more fun when you’re winning. So just overall, the support and the attitude and the excitement about it,” Bush had to say about how the success of the team this season has gotten the school excited for football again.

The team then clinched a home playoff game against Wagner for the Bi-District Playoff round. “Well, I mean, in reality, it is one game at a time, because if you don’t win, it’s over, and so we talked about playing a one-week season. This is all we got. So all we guarantee is one more week, and you never know what’s going to happen. So you got to play every snap in the game like it’s your last, especially if it’s senior year, it might be, but yeah, just making sure that we leave it all out there win or lose, this could be our last game,” Bush had to say about preparing for the playoffs and keeping focused on one game at a time.

The Canyon Cougars played a tough game in tough 40 degree weather with wind going against them the entire game, unfortunately losing to the Georgetown Eagles 10-21 in a valiant effort to keep their season alive, and give the seniors one more home win they all deserved.