Never thought I would cover a football game for the Advocate in Wichita Falls.
WINNING IT ALL Advocate-area UIL state champions over the last two decades: 1991 Class 2A Schulenburg 1992 Class 2A Schulenburg 2000 Class 4A, Div. I Bay City 2004 Class 1A Shiner
That's why you should never say never.
Shiner played Stratford in the 2004 Class 1A state championship game at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.
I can remember the look on my editors' faces as they were trying to figure out the best and most inexpensive way to staff the game. For the first time in my career, they actually considered flying me to the game.
Ever the budget-conscious reporter, I came up with a solution that served us all well. I volunteered to drive to Dallas on Friday and stay with my stepmother and continue to Wichita Falls for the game on Saturday.
I had taken a similar course in 2000 when Bay City played Denton Ryan for the Class 4A, Division I state championship at Texas Stadium in Irving.
Our photographer was not so fortunate. He drove the 362 miles to Wichita Falls on Saturday and returned to Victoria on Sunday.
Shiner and Bay City made the long drive home less tedious by winning the state championship.
I have covered state championship games in Waco and College Station. I have gotten lucky a few times and had to travel no farther than Austin.
Coaches from Shiner and Stratford met at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco after Shiner had defeated Big Sandy in the semifinals to work out details of the state final.
I was writing my story in the press box when photographer Kerri Besio returned from the field with the news the teams were playing in Wichita Falls.
The drive to Wichita Falls was fairly uneventful. I learned where Decatur and Bowie are, and I discovered there are casinos in Oklahoma and they like to advertise about how much closer they are than the casinos in Louisiana.
I am reminded of the trips to state championship games in Wichita Falls, Irving, Waco and College Station every time I look at the odometer on my 2000 Mustang.
No University Interscholastic League state championship games will be played in Wichita Falls this year. You can also count out San Antonio, Austin, College Station and Waco.
For the first time, the sites for every UIL state championship game have been predetermined.
The Class 5A, 4A and 3A games will be played in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Class 2A and 1A games will be played at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield. The six-man games will be played at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.
Shiner is the last Advocate-area UIL team to win a state championship.
Shiner and Cuero, which lost to Abilene Wylie in the 2004 Class 3A, Division I state final, are the last area teams to play in a UIL state final.
Hope begins anew as the season gets under way this week.
Some coaches are disappointed they no longer have a say in where the state championship game will be played.
But most of them would be happy if their team is there.
I share their sentiments.