The Malakoff Tigers made school football history by earning their third straight playoff berth this year. Going back to 1927, this season will mark the Tigers’ 13th playoff appearance, with back-to-back showings in 1939-40, 1998-99 and 2005-06.
Locally, fans debated whether Malakoff locked up a playoff spot with last week’s win over Elkhart or two weeks ago by beating Teague. But of this there is no question: Last week’s 48-18 romp over the Elks gave the Tigers the best three-year record in school history at 25-6 (so far).
That puts the modern Tigers ahead of the 1946-47-48 squad, which posted a 24-5 record.
“It has taken a lot of people to make this happen,” said Head Coach Jamie Driskell.
What is amazing is that this stretch of success follows a two-year, 1-19 record, and comes in Driskell’s first three years at Malakoff.
The son of a Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, Driskell arrived in 2009 teaching team over individual.
In his application, he wrote: “The concept of the greater good of the team over the individual cannot be emphasized too emphatically. This idea spells success in the business world, the family, and our community. Combine these with the setting of proper team and individual goals, and the student athlete will have the opportunity to experience immediate and long term success.”
Driskell practices what he preaches, and any interview with him will center around his players first, his coaching staff second, and himself a distant third if at all.
“The kids buying in to the program is the biggest difference,” he said.
The team first attitude is apparent among the Tigers, who are likely to celebrate the block that frees a running back as much as the touchdown run itself. Or the big hit on defense. Or any one of the hundred small, unseen jobs that make a football team successful.
Now the Tigers have the chance to win a district title (the second for Driskell) by beating the Crockett Bulldogs this Friday night at Tiger Stadium. With a win, Malakoff will get a first-round bye. A loss will pit the Tigers against the third-place team from District 12-2A in bi-district playoff action.
Either way, you can be sure the Tigers will approach things as a team; it’s been an historic attitude.
“I’m just proud to be a part of it,” said Driskell.
Thanks to Malakoff sports historian Benny Rogers for the records.