The fans that had watched Krum win nine of its 10 regular season games had descended from the top deck of the visitors’ bleachers at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex on Thursday night.
Krum’s 58-27 loss to Celina in the Class 3A Division II bi-district round seemed like an unfitting finish for a team that had achieved so much in its first full varsity season.
But at the beginning of the season, nobody thought the Krum Bobcats, a team thrust into Class 3A with little to no expectations, would be playing in the postseason.
And even though Krum’s feel-good run ended at the hands of a school sharing the same mascot, this batch of Bobcats has set a firm foundation for the upstart program.
“I think this will carry this program for a long time,” Krum head coach Gary Robinson said. “I think for the younger kids to see this and be a part of this, it will build momentum. But I think the biggest thing is that these guys right here have brought the community together.
“It’s given the people in Krum something to follow.”
At the start of the game, before both teams combined for 58 points in the first half and played the opening 24 minutes at an electric pace, Krum had filled the stadium better than any team that had previously visited C.H. Collins.
It was the same fan base at Gainesville two weeks earlier, where the bleachers overflowed on both sides when Krum (9-2), the team in its first full varsity season, was contending for a district championship.
The fan base thinned from the bleachers as the game went on and with each Celina touchdown in the second half. Celina (9-2) was the only team to score in the second half, scoring 34 unanswered points to close out the game.
Celina’s size and strength wore Krum down as the game progressed, with Celina racking up touchdown after touchdown, widening the gap on the scoreboard and slamming the window shut on Krum’s season.
With 6:41 left in the fourth quarter, Celina’s Willie Sims scored a 61-yard touchdown run to close the scoring.
But in the middle of the field after the play, Krum junior Morgan Sprayberry was flat on his back, a position he held for a few minutes. The remnants of the crowd sat anxiously, waiting to see if he was OK.
And when he was hauled off on the stretcher and the entire stadium rose to his feet to applaud him, the effect the football team had on its town was well apparent.
And then, in the most moving part of the game, the entire Krum sideline flocked to the other side of the field, surrounding Sprayberry’s stretcher as he rolled to the end of the field to be placed in an ambulance with an apparent leg injury.
Sprayberry will be back next season, something that can’t be said for the group of seniors that will be graduating, the group of seniors that built the foundation.
“These guys started in the seventh and eighth grade, and they’re seniors now,” Robinson said.
After the game, both teams surrounded midfield to take part in the Lord’s Prayer. And Robinson made his way across the field and grabbed the hand of Celina running back Deshawn Davis, who had 11 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Krum’s prayers for a group of young men to root for on Friday nights have been answered. And thanks to this year’s team, Krum will ask for playoff wins and district championships, knocking on a door that’s now slightly ajar.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .