According to Maxpreps.com, an online database for high school sports, in the 2015 varsity football season, the Richland High School Rebels went 3-7. This season, the Rebels are undefeated with a 6-0 record so far and dominating each team. What does the difference of a year make in these records? Absolutely nothing, but some believe the change of division may be the reason for the team’s newly found success. Historically, Richland has been the runt of 6A football, but now a 5A school, they are the top dog in their district. Some people believe that they are only successful because of the change in division and that talent isn’t what is winning games. However, high school football classification of ranking and division is beside the point because the local Richland Hills community still shows up every Friday night, packing the stands in order to show their support for the young men on the field and unify as one commonality.
Richland High School, located in North Richland Hills, TX, opened in 1961 as the second school in the Birdville Independent School District. They have a rich history in the community of Richland Hills as the Richland Rebels or “Rebs”. The school has undergone many renovations to accommodate the growing needs in the community. With a thriving student population and a large school spirit, the current and previous Rebels are successful in being a strong presence in student affairs and the surrounding community.
The Richland Rebel football team is somewhat new to the title of undefeated. In past years, Richland High School has been classified as 6A. In terms of athletics, football specifically, they have been unable to compete at the same level as other 6A teams. This past year, they were reclassified as a 5A. This has allowed them to be a force to reckoned with on the field every Friday night. Some members of the community believe that the success is not due to talent or coaching skills, but because they are not competing against top division teams. While this is a valid point, it is not something that the Richland community is concerning themselves with. They are a strong, close community that is consistently showing their support on and off the field. According to TCU athletic training student, Myranda Stauch, who has been working with the team for this season, “Local businesses support Richland. They place banners at their restaurants and hang banners on the fence at the home field. The booster club is also very supportive, providing pregame meals for all the athletes, coaches, and athletic training staff”. Everyone who is proud to call themselves a supporter of the Rebels are doing everything to make sure that the team, coaches, and athletic trainers are well taken care of and know there is always huge support system behind them. In an interview with Star-Telegram sports, Richland QB, Trae Self commented, “You have so much support going around”. He then proceeded to thank coaches, parents, fans and the student section. This shows that the support from the Richland community has a large impact on the team.
There is something magical in the air on a Friday night before a football game. This particular game was particularly special to the undefeated Richland Rebels. It was going to be a tough matchup between Richland and undefeated Grapevine. Each team was vying for that next win to further their undefeated season. The atmosphere of the stadium was almost electric. Banners, a colorful student section, and moms with bedazzled shirts proved a true, deeply rooted love for the team. Fans of all ages packed the stands to see this historical game between their beloved Rebs and Grapevine. From the team warming up before the game to the last seconds winding down on the game clock, every fan was engaged in the success of the team. It was almost as if the wins were their wins too and the losses were their losses. While the fans were there for a football game, their support didn’t end at the team. The crowd rang cowbells when the senior students from cheer, dance, and band were recognized. They cheered heartily for the cheerleaders, the dance team “The Dixie Belles”, and even the brave fathers who attempted a halftime show. When the game officially started, the noise was deafening. Even during times of struggle of the field or potential injury, the fans stood by their team staying to the very end of the game. While the Rebs took a lead at the beginning of the game, there was a possibility of losing the game. But in true Rebel spirit, the crowd encouraged the team to keep fighting and keep believing in themselves. As the game clock ran down, the Rebels were victorious in a battle of District 8-5A.With a win of 38-35, Richland was able to add another win to their record. They improved to 7-0 for the first time since 2008 and 4-0 in district. With the toughest matchup of the regular season behind them, they do not plan to stop there but look to continue to change how people view their team as a formidable opponent.
Ultimately, the Richland High School football team is having success, they are still struggling with people critiquing their decision to drop to a lower conference. With this in mind, the community is rallying around Richland football. With a community behind the football team, it gives motivation to both the coaches and the players. Richland football knows they are more than capable of making an impact this year. As they are five games into the season and undefeated, they are taking it one game at a time and they know nothing is given to them. If they continue on their path to success, people will change their perspective on how they view Richland High School football and the community that surrounds them. This could give them a new name to a program and a chance to become one of Texas’ high school football powerhouses.