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September 8, 2013

Just Another Saturday Night in D'Hanis

Matt Stepp,
Senior Analyst, TheOldCoach.com

Email questions or comments to: mstepp@theoldcoach.com
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D'HANIS - In the state of Texas, the Friday Night Lights are a way of life. Movies and books written about the experiences, road trips taken by non-Texans to various locales all over just to experience the aura of a high school football game. In the tiny town of D'Hanis located 49 miles west of San Antonio, population 548 a football game here looks a lot like a football game in any other place that size. There's one exception, the Cowboys play all their home games on Saturday nights. No other high school in the state does this and for many on the outside they always wonder, why?

It's a tradition that no one was able to pinpoint when exactly it began but even the old timers say as far as they can remember has been going. Most agree the tradition started so that D'Hanis fans could go watch the neighboring Hondo Owls on Friday nights. Hondo is a much larger town (population nearly 9,000) is 7 miles east of D'Hanis, one woman we talked with who was taking tickets put it like this, "We do all of our grocery shopping there, we basically go there all the time so we know a lot of people there. Pretty much everyone has a relative there, so we get to watch our friends and family on Friday's and they come watch us Saturday. There's not much else to do out here if you aren't going to San Antonio, so why not have the game on a different day?"

D'Hanis Head Coach Troy Langfield has been at the school a total of 18 years and looks at a as nothing but positive. "It's one of those deals that's been going on long before I got here, about four years ago they put a vote up in town to see if we should go to playing on Friday night. The community voted 95% to keep the games on Saturday, I think most are just used to it now. For the school it's great because it literally doubles our gate. D'Hanis folks will always come, but we get people from Hondo, Medina, Sabinal, Medina Valley all coming over just to watch a game. I think deep down it gives us a bit of competitive advantage as well, it's a different routine playing a game on a non-school day. Some teams have trouble prepping for that, for us its normal. For others it's not, I can always tell when a new coach comes in or a team is new on their schedule because they always call us thinking there's a misprint on the schedule when our game is on Saturday. We just tell them, 'No we play on Saturday.'"

The game itself didn't go as planned for the Cowboys who struggled offensively in a 23-0 loss to Christoval, which dropped D'Hanis to 0-2 on the season. Christoval HC Justin Taylor appreciates the tradition and embraced it when his team scheduled D'Hanis last realignment. "I think it's kind of a cool deal, we actually moved our game last year at home with them to Saturday. It's good to change it up every once in a while and if we are lucky enough to get to the playoffs we may have to do this again."

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