The Bremond Tigers face the Munday Moguls on Saturday in Bremond's fifth state championship game.
If their first four Class A title games give them any clue, it should tell the Tigers that anything can happen, from the miraculous to the unthinkable.
Bremond 12, Wink 9
Dec. 12, 1981, San Angelo
The Eagle headline called it "A miracle." Bremond quarterback Bradley Vann admitted it was a "Hail Mary" pass.
Bradley Vann threw a 26-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to his brother, Dwaine Vann, behind Wink defenders to win it 12-9. The game-winning touchdown came with 12 seconds left and capped a 79-yard drive.
"We were out of timeouts, but they called a timeout with 26 seconds left and that allowed us to regroup," said Bill Cummings, who was in his third season as Bremond's head coach. "They ran a cover two, and we ran three receivers deep on post patterns. Bradley threw it to Dwaine Vann."
The Vann brothers had teamed up earlier on the drive for a 19-yard completion. After a sack, a long pass intended for Winston Brewer was tipped, and it bounced of the shoulder pad of a Wink defender and was caught by starting quarterback Kenny Bienski, who had been replaced because of Bradley Vann's strong arm. Vann was throwing into an 18-mph wind. That play netted 40 yards and moved the ball to the Wink 30-yard line with 49 seconds left.
All three of Bremond's pass completions came on the game-winning drive.
Knox City 27, Bremond 20
Dec. 16, 1983, Weatherford
Bremond had won the state track championship the previous spring, and sprinter Andy Taylor, the fastest 100-meter man in the state, was at wide receiver. The Tigers had won 44 of 45 football games entering the championship contest, while the Knox City Greyhounds had lost only once in the 1983 season, dropping their season opener to 2A Albany.
Bremond led 20-6 and dominated Knox City for a half, but Bremond lost starting linebacker and quarterback Bradley Vann to a broken ankle.
Knox City rallied for the victory.
"We lost both of our linebackers and a safety and lost Bradley, who was the bell cow of our offense," said Cummings.
An interference call on a punt-return fair catch set up Knox City for the tying score at the Tigers' 44. Otis Lockhart got the tying touchdown to make it 20-20. He also scored the game-winner from 18 yards out as Bremond defenders slipped on the frozen ground.
Cummings remembers Taylor slipping on offense, too, perhaps the most frustrating play of the game for Bremond.
"He was open and the ball was underthrown, but he tried to stop to get it," said Cummings of Taylor's attempt. "He couldn't stop in the snow."
Taylor caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Vann in the opening half.
An option keeper by Knox City quarterback Wayne Hutchinson netted 68 yards and a touchdown to start the comeback.
In his final three seasons at Bremond, Bill Cummings' Tigers were 44-2.
"That was an awesome group of athletes, and there was no prima donna," said Cummings, whose 1981 defense allowed 60 points and whose '83 team gave up 78. "Our defense controlled every ball game when they were healthy."
Cummings is still making playoff memories as an assistant coach at Austin LBJ, which lost in overtime to Lamar Consolidated 17-14 in the semifinals this season. Lamar Consolidated went on to win the 4A Division I title.
Wheeler 23, Bremond 21
Dec. 19, 1987, Abilene
Bremond's Bo Robinson broke through to block a kick with no time left, but the play was flagged.
"When Bo was a junior, we got beat after the game was over when he blocked the field goal, but he was called offsides," recalls then-Bremond coach Wendell Robinson of his son, who played quarterback and linebacker. "[Wheeler] got another shot and made it."
With no time on the clock, Sammy Zepeda kicked a 19-yard field goal for the victory.
Wendell Robinson is retired from coaching now, but you might not know it by the way he spends time around area programs, most recently Franklin. He came out of retirement to coach Gravette High School in Arkansas for a season, leading the team to an 8-5 record and three rounds into the playoffs for the first time in school history.
Bremond led 21-14 before Wheeler rallied with a 10-play, 71-yard drive capped by a fourth-and-goal touchdown from the 1 by Bubba Smith with 1:23 left in the game. Coaches Wendell Robinson and Preston Smith had agreed upon a co-championship if the game ended in a tie, so Wheeler went for the victory, but Bremond stopped Bubba Smith on the go-ahead, two-point conversion attempt.
Wheeler, however, recovered an onside kick and completed a fourth-and-12 pass from Shawn Bradstreet to Kyle Sword.
Bremond's Tim Scott rushed for 151 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown run with 5:26 left that broke a 14-14 tie.
Wheeler had 367 yards of offense, and Bremond had 352. Bubba Smith led Wheeler with 189 yards and two TDs on the ground. Bremond got a 7-yard touchdown run from Charles Bailey, and Bo Robinson hit Jeff Kasowksi for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead in the first half.
Sudan 54, Bremond 0
Dec. 18, 1993, San Angelo
Monte Williams entered the game with 2,322 yards rushing, giving Bremond one of the most dangerous running attacks in the state. But the Tigers couldn't hold onto the ball, fumbling 16 times and losing two. Monte Williams finished with 77 yards on 19 carries.
Meanwhile, Sudan scored on the first two series and never looked back, finishing at 14-2 with an 11-game winning streak. Sudan had lost the previous year in the finals to Bartlett. Sudan back Tim Williams had 17 carries for 155 yards and four touchdowns. Williams scored the first three touchdowns, and the Hornets led 34-0 at the half.
"I think they dunked water on their coach after the first quarter," Robinson said. The coach was Academy's current head coach Royce McAdams. "In talking to Ty [Robinson], that game was easier to take than the Wheeler game, because we knew right away that we were going to get thumped."
Robinson was removed as head coach in 1996 in a vote by the Bremond school board, which he is now a member of. He left Bremond three victories short of 200 for his career, but he got them at Bangs before handing the coaching reins to son Bo, who led Bangs to two state championship games. Bo is currently the head coach at LaVernia, and Ty is the defensive coordinator at Jasper.
"I'm excited for the Bremond kids," Robinson said of the Tigers' 2007 squad, which he has followed in the playoffs. "They have a great opportunity to do something they will remember for the rest of their lives."
Robinson reminds the Tigers to stay hungry for the championship game.
"There is a danger when you get there of saying, 'We made it and are satisfied we made it,'" Robinson said. "Maybe we should have worked their butts off."