With just 42 days until the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the Brook hill Guard varsity football team will look to march to victory on the gridiron in the new campaign, as the team’s 2018 football schedule was recently released.
“It’s always an exciting time when we release our schedule for the new season,” said Scott Ryle, Brook Hill Guard football head coach. “I know all of our athletes and our fans are anxious. We’ll be playing a lot of different teams than we have in the past couple of years, so hopefully, there will be some new rivalries established for our program.”
Similar to its public school counterpart, the Universal Interscholastic League (UIL), Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, the governing body for Texas private schools redrew the district boundary lines in early February for several sports, affecting athletics at The Brook Hill School for the next two school years.
In the sport of football, the Brook Hill Guard varsity football team, led by head coach Scott Ryle, will continue to face familiar district opponents in Class 5A Division 2 11-man football, including the Cedar Hill Trinity Christian, Dallas Christian, Bishop T.K. Gorman, and Grace Community.
The most notable changes in the Guard’s district opponents for the next two years are the omission of Tyler All Saints Episcopal, a team that surprised many last year with its decision to pursue an independent schedule, as well as the absence of Carrollton Prince of Peace and the addition of McKinney Christian.
According to Brook Hill Athletic Director Wally Dawkins, although the lines have been changed somewhat for several sports, there’s a sense of familiarity due to the differences in number of opponents competing under the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools umbrella.
“In all the years I was under the UIL as a public school coach, because there are a lot of schools involved, sometimes the change would be more drastic,” said Dawkins. “In TAPPS, it’s pretty consistent; we’re probably always going with the Tyler-are schools, as well as maybe the southeastern corner of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. TAPPS alignments aren’t that drastic, but it still affects scheduling. It’s always nice to know who we’re going to face.”
Ryle said being a part of the newly drawn Class 5A Division 2 11-man football district will be a battle for the Guard, as last year’s State Championship team came out of Brook Hill’s district.
“This new district is still not a cakewalk for our program,” said Ryle. “Cedar Hill Trinity Christian ended up being the State Champion last year, so they’ll be really tough, as well as Dallas Christian, who is always a very good football team. Top to bottom, our new district is a very competitive district as a whole.”
With teams such as the teams in Brook Hill’s new district on the schedule, Ryle said his team has to come ready and prepared to take on the opposition in battle.
“A lot of teams may have games that are considered to be ‘lull games,’ but we don’t have that in our district,” said Ryle. “Our athletes have to be ready to play. We’re hoping that our preseason schedule will help us to get ready for the challenges that district holds for us.”
During the pre-district schedule for Brook Hill, the team will begin the 2018 campaign by participating in its lone scrimmage event against the Grapeland Sandies Friday, Aug. 17, at the Guard’s home field, Young Field at Herrington Stadium.
To officially kick-off the 2018 season, the Guard will start the new schedule on the road, traveling to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to take on the Southwest Christian Eagles Friday, Aug. 31.
For the second week, Brook Hill will return to the friendly confines of their home field to host the fourth annual Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl Classic contest Friday, Sept. 7, with this year’s opponent being the John Paul II Cardinals from Plano.
The annual Warrior Bowl game holds a special place in Ryle’s heart, having served as a member of the Illinois National Guard for almost a decade. During his time with the Illinois National Guard, Ryle was deployed twice to Iraq, serving as a team recon leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, as well as a force protection mission leader in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002.
“The Warrior Bowl is an unbelievable event we host each year and we’re definitely looking forward to it this year,” said Ryle. “Although it’s happening in week two instead of the first week of the season as it has been in the past, it will be a big event and we hope the community will come out for it. I hope we’ll be able to salute all of our veterans for the sacrifices they’ve made for our freedom and honor those who deserve it.”
The Guard will them load the bus once again, traveling to take on the Huntington Red Devils in week three Friday, Sept. 14.
Brook Hill will end the pre-district schedule with two home contests, with the first scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21 against the Trinity Christian Academy (Willow Park) Eagles, and the second slated from Saturday, Sept. 29 against the Albany Lions.
Afterwards, the Guard will observe the annual bye week on Friday, Oct. 5 before jumping into TAPPS Class 5A Division 2 play, starting with a road game Friday, Oct. 12 against the Dallas Christian Chargers.
The first district home game for Brook Hill will be when one of the team’s nearby rivals comes to town, as the Guard is scheduled to take on the Grace Community Cougars Friday, Oct. 19, at Herrington Stadium.
Weeks three and four during district play will feature road games for Ryle and the Guard, traveling first to face off against the McKinney Christian Academy Mustangs Friday, Oct. 26, then going the short distance for a gridiron matchup against another rival, the Bishop T.K. Gorman Crusaders Friday, Nov. 2.
The final regular season district bout for Brook Hill in the 2018 season will be at home, as the team will host Senior Night against the Cedar Hill Trinity Christian Tigers Friday, Nov. 9.
In the first year of the previous district alignment, the Brook Hill Guard varsity football team finished the 2016 campaign with an overall record of 6-4, 2-4 in district play. The team advanced to the first round of the TAPPS Division II 4A playoffs, where they were defeated by the Midland Christian Mustangs.
The team ended its 2017 campaign with an overall record of 3-6, 1-4 in district play, missing the cut for the TAPPS playoffs.
The Guard football team will begin preparing for the 2018 football season soon, as the program will host its first full-team participation event of season during a midnight practice scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1.