West Texas Red Raider Team of All Time
The all-time Texas Tech football team of West Texas players features some of the most legendary names in program history.
The tradition of high school football in West Texas is one of Lone Star State’s most romanticized traditions. There is something a little more intense about city squad games with a single high school, as the pride of the community is based on what happens on Friday night. Maybe that’s why Texas Tech football fans have come to adore the local talent who played for the Red Raiders.
When players from West Texas enter the field in scarlet and black, the game is a little more personal. They are defending their own territory, an area scorned and belittled by people in other parts of Texas who just don’t understand how special it is to call Caprock back home. They play not only for themselves and their school, but also for the people who proudly make the area their own.
In West Texas, especially in small communities, everyone in the stands knows every player on the field personally. They work with their parents, go to church with their families, and have probably trained them in some sports along the way.
You don’t find this level of connection in big 6-A high schools like Allen or Katy. In West Texas, football transcends what happens on the pitch, it defines entire communities.
The people of Plainview are not having a debate with the people of Hereford as to which city has the highest rated school system. The people of Abernathy, Idalou, Slaton, Monahans, or any other town in West Texas also don’t tout the debating club, marching band, or team of meat judges’ accomplishments. of their high school just like they do with the high school football team.
In cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin, or San Antonio, the vast majority of residents aren’t emotionally invested in high school football unless they know a young man on the team. I learned this firsthand a decade ago when I went to meet a friend to watch the school he taught at, Garland Lakeview Centennial, as they faced off against Garland High.
The night was cool but not uncomfortable and a light early fall mist was falling. It was perfect weather for football.
But as I pulled into the parking lot, hundreds of fans were leaving the stadium and heading for their cars. I asked a man where everyone was going and he said, “Because of the rain, the band doesn’t play at half-time. So we go home.
Inside the stadium, where the rain never came, there were perhaps 600 fans in total watching a district game between city rivals. Imagine Midland fans leaving a match between Lee and Midland High because there was a slight fog and the band weren’t playing. It would take a lot more than haze to chase fans away from Dumas, Pampa, Levelland, or pretty much any other town in West Texas.
Although schools in West Texas do not bring home state titles as often as they used to, many state championships have been held in the west. For example, Abilene High School has seven state titles, the most recent being in 2009. Only four other schools in the state have won more.
The legendary Odessa Permian has won six titles but hasn’t brought a championship back to the Permian Basin since 1991. And all over Southwest Texas, Sonora has five titles to her name.
This is why Texas Tech football is so important to all of us. It is an extension of our culture. It is our second religion. It is our identity. Football is what we are in West Texas. That’s why it’s so special for all of us who inhabit the High Plains to see local talent flourish as Red Raiders.
We may have walked in the same halls and sat in the same classrooms as them. We may have dressed in the same locker rooms and bled on the same soccer fields fighting for the same community.
Even though we haven’t, we know they come from a place we can relate to; a place where football is more than a game, it is a statement of who we are and what we are. Their trip was the one we hoped to do when we were kids and they live our dreams for us every Saturday. They remind us that from simple and serious beginnings greatness can be cultivated.
West Texas players have always been and always will be special to Texas Tech football fans. So sit down, ride the Joe Ely and the Maines Brothers and let’s take a look at the all-time Texas Tech football team of men who grew up where the skies are taller and Fridays. evenings are more than a game.