Six-man football holds a sacred part in Texas football lore, with athletes who compete with the endurance of Ironmen triathletes and winning scores that often reach into the 60s and 70s. The excitement and tactical chess game of six-man has earned a number of devotees, none more ardent than Leman Saunders, a self-described Texas six-man football historian.
That being said, in all Saunders' years of covering six-man football, he never saw a game like the one he was at near San Angelo, Texas, on Friday night, when Paint Rock (Texas) High rallied to beat Novice (Texas) High, 112-109, in regulation.
"And Novice only had eight players suited up to play [they have nine players but one play was injured and could not play]," Lehman told Prep Rally. "They only have 10 boys in high school."
Yes, you read that scoreline correctly; a regulation football game featured 221 points. The teams combined to score 78 points in the first quarter alone, with Novice leading 46-32 heading into the second quarter, and 70-60 at halftime.
As one would assume, there were a number of astounding statistics in the game. The contest's most incredible performance was turned in by Paint Rock running back Tony Diaz, who rushed for 621 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns (on 45 carries), not to mention 144 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. That's right, Diaz, a mighty-might running back who stands only 5-foot-3, also passed for three touchdowns.
"This feels amazing," Diaz told the San Angelo Standard-Times. "This is my first time to go 10-0 and win a district championship. I couldn't do it without my team. This is the best feeling in my life right now."
This isn't Diaz's first game with huge numbers, either. In the course of eight of Paint Rock's 10 games in 2010 (stats from two are unknown), Diaz has run for 2,680 yards on 171 carries. That's an average of 15.67 yards every time Diaz runs the ball. Perhaps more astounding is Diaz's touchdown total of 56, an average of seven per game. It's even possible that the numbers for the 135-pound back could be better, since the statistics from two of Paint Rock's earlier wins have gone unreported.
By game's end on Friday, the total points scored and Diaz's 621 yards were both Texas state records. Perhaps fittingly, the game also served as the district title matchup between the two previously unbeaten teams, with Paint Rock emerging as the new District 8 Division II Six-Man champions.
While the two teams are already in the record books for this matchup, there's still a chance that they could get a second shot at their own records with a rematch in the forthcoming six-man playoffs. They'd need one to challenge yet another state mark, because the 1,369 yards put up by the two teams is only the second-highest total in six-man history, behind the 1,617 yards in Garden City's 122-88 state championship game victory over Strawn in last year's Six-Man Division I state title game.
At 10-0 entering the playoffs, Diaz and his Paint Rock teammates are ready to take their chances.
"I am ready," Diaz told the Standard-Times. "I am speechless right now."