KRUM — Entering this season, the firsts were expected to be abundant for Krum’s football program.
First game as a Class 3A school. Check. First district game. Check. Locking up a playoff spot in its first season as a varsity program? That wasn’t quite as likely. Still, check.
And the Bobcats haven’t just squeaked into the postseason. With one game remaining on its regular-season schedule, Krum (9-0, 3-0 District 9-3A) needs a win Friday at undefeated Gainesville to wrap up a perfect regular season and an outright district championship — all in its first season of competing as a fully entrenched football program after a couple of years of playing an independent schedule against a mix of varsity and subvarsity opponents.
No matter what happens Friday night, the Bobcats already have locked up the top seed in the Class 3A Division II bracket out of District 9-3A and likely will face the loser of next week’s game between state powerhouses Celina and Argyle in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
“People haven’t been giving us respect,” Krum head coach Gary Robinson said. “People have talked about this being a basketball school for years now and how we’re not going to be able to play football in Krum, and they’ve [players] heard all of that. They hear it from kids from other schools and people everywhere, really. I think they want to prove that we can play football.”
The Bobcats have outscored their opponents 401-127 with an explosive offense centered around a punishing ground game led by running back Reed Flores (1,308 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns) and quarterback Caz Wojciak (1,141 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns).
But ask people associated with the program, and they insist there is much more behind the success than on-field play.
The community, which long has been known by the label that Robinson dislikes — a “basketball town” — has finally come around to the fact that it can field a competitive football program.
A quick drive around the town of just more than 4,000 people shows just that. The Sonic restaurant just off campus has windows adorned with blue and white shoe polish delivering messages to the football team alongside images of footballs, not basketballs.
And the newfound enthusiasm for the winning team has shown itself on Friday nights. The stands are full at Bobcat Stadium whenever there is a home game. Even on the road, the visiting stands are full of Krum fans, and everyone has taken notice.
“Last year we never saw any of that,” Wojciak said. “Everyone’s bought into that this year. The whole community is buying in. The whole school is buying in. We’ve gotten so much support from everybody, and that’s helped more than they will ever know.
“They take buses with 40 or 50 kids to a [road] game. Our [agriculture] teacher drives buses and he loves it. That totally motivates us. Seeing our fans at the road games is a huge deal to us. Seeing that many people jump on our bandwagon and come along with us means a whole lot.”
Robinson and his players have shown their appreciation for the support by reciprocating it. On Oct. 20, the football team was bussed to C.H. Collins Athletic Complex to cheer for the Krum marching band at a UIL competition.
“When you think about it, if you don’t have football, you don’t have marching band, you don’t have flag corps, you don’t have fight songs,” Robinson said. “I’ve kind of helped write the fight song just so we’d have something to play when we score a touchdown. We started a marching band, and they’re in the UIL competition now and they’re awesome on Friday nights.”
Robinson, who came to Krum when his current batch of seniors was in eighth grade and is the only football coach the program has ever known, has a background that includes coaching at Class 5A power Coppell and another Class 3A school, Poteet, for just one season.
Robinson hopes Krum can develop into an all-around power, possibly like Argyle, which has won multiple Lone Star Cup awards, presented to the best all-around school in the state in academics, athletics and fine arts in each classification.
“I want to be a part of not only winning football games, but I’d like to be a part of a school that wins the Lone Star Cup,” Robinson said. “If we all support one another — our volleyball team is in the playoffs right now and they’re in the same boat as us; they started the same time we did.
“The band is in the UIL competition, and so I want to get to a point to do that. With the new growing programs, I want to make sure we all support one another. We can be good not just at football, but we can be good in everything. I’d love to win a Lone Star Cup.”
It’s not just a case of the authority figure forcing his players to go do something they don’t want to do, either.
Wojciak said it’s been an inspiration to see the entire school come together this year, and a lot of that traces back to the success of the football program.
“What’s been so cool for me is seeing everybody coming together as a whole high school,” Wojciak said. “The whole school is bonding and making everybody better at what they do. The way the football team is playing is motivating the basketball and volleyball teams to do so much better. We figured if we start going to all these other organizations like they do for us, everyone will jump on and start doing stuff for each other instead of just themselves.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise in store for Krum this year is the environment it likely will encounter Friday in Gainesville, with a crowd of Leopard fans, Bobcat fans and then just unbiased football fans.
“I think that helps the entire community,” Robinson said of the prospect of having nonpartial football fans show up for a key game between two undefeated teams. “It’s putting our name out there. Any publicity we can get like that is good for the community and the school. Us being 9-0 and people who we don’t even know being interested in us is a good thing. There’s going to be people that want to be a part of Krum. People want to be a part of winners, and who knows how that will help us in the future?”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org