One of the biggest regular season football games of the year in Texas will take place in Cooke County on Friday night.
Muenster will face Windthorst at Hornet Stadium in a game that will almost certainly decide the district championship.
No. 3 Muenster (7-0 overall, 1-0 District 7-2A-2) hadn’t lost a district game in six years before falling to the Trojans last season.
No. 2 Windthorst (6-0) defeated Muenster a second time in the regional finals before upsetting two-time defending state champion Mart to win the title.
Muenster coach Brady Carney said the Hornets are excited.
“I’ve seen it in practice the past couple days,” Carney said. “You can just kind of tell by the way they warm up, to the focus during formations on defense, and so forth. I think the town’s excited. Kids are excited, coaches are excited. Anytime you get to play a good opponent, it makes for exciting times.”
Both teams come into the game having blown out most opponents thus far, though both played competitive games to open the season. Muenster defeated Celeste 38-12 after leading by a point at halftime, while Windthorst knocked off Henrietta 22-15. Muenster’s 35-24 win against Lubbock Trinity Christian is the only close game either has played since.
This will be Windthorst’s district opener after being off last week. The Trojans shut out their last two opponents, Wichita Falls City View and Hamlin, meaning they haven’t allowed a point since Sept. 17.
Carney said scoring against the stout Trojan defense will be a big challenge.
“I haven’t seen many people do it,” Carney said. “I think it’s going to be won up front. Whoever can run the ball, protect the quarterback on offense, and then whoever can stop the run and minimize the big plays as far as pass plays, explosive plays from the defensive side is going to have the best chance to win.”
Carney said one of the biggest issues Muenster had last season against the Trojans was special teams. In the first meeting, it was 0-0 at halftime before Windthorst returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown. In the second, the Trojans started multiple drives inside of Muenster territory.
The coaches have constantly reminded the players about it since the start of camp. Carney said it will be an important part of the game once again.
“I think it’s that way in all big games where you’ve got two teams that are so similar and both really good,” Carney said. “We always want to talk about offensive line, defensive line, stuff like that, but turnovers and special teams are going to play a huge part in games like this. I think we’re better there this year. Hopefully, we show it on Friday.”
Windthorst did not have to travel to Muenster last year. This year, Muenster finally gets home-field advantage against the Trojans.
This will also be the first home game for Muenster since Sept. 3. Carney said facing an opponent of this magnitude in the Hornets’ first home game in over a month makes him OK with how the schedule turned out.
“Sure, we’d have loved to have a few more home games,” Carney said. “But the excitement of being back home, the excitement of getting the No. 1 or 2 team in the state, the defending state champs at home, and we hadn’t been here in five weeks, I think it just all comes together for exciting times. I think it definitely gives us a little bit of an advantage, or at least I like to think that.”
Kickoff at Hornet Stadium is set for 7 p.m.