Early loss fueled latest title charge for Throckmorton

Zach Duncan
Thomas Metthe/Scripps Texas Newspapers
Since losing to Dallas Covenant in September, Levi Taylor and the Throckmorton Greyhounds have rattled off 10 straight wins heading into Saturday's semifinal against Valley.

Photo by Thomas Metthe

Thomas Metthe/Scripps Texas Newspapers Since losing to Dallas Covenant in September, Levi Taylor and the Throckmorton Greyhounds have rattled off 10 straight wins heading into Saturday's semifinal against Valley.

At the time, it didn't leave a dry eye inside the Throckmorton locker room.

At the time, it was more shocking than humbling.

When Throckmorton lost its third game of the season to Dallas Covenant in an 80-76 shootout, it did more than end the Greyhounds' 33-game win streak during the regular season.

"It was hard. It meant so much to us. At that point, it crushed us," senior Levi Taylor said. "There wasn't one person who didn't have tears in their eyes. It was like we had lost the state championship."

It also served as a wake-up call to the defending Six-Man Division I state champs. Almost predictably, Throckmorton turned that loss into fuel for another title run.

The Greyhounds have regained their No. 1 ranking they lost that night, and with another victory against No. 2 Valley on Saturday in the state semifinals, they'll appear in a fourth title game since 2005.

While the loss wasn't immediately discussed much by coach Mike Reed or even the players, it clearly struck a nerve.

"It humbled us and made us not take anything for granted," senior receiver Gary Farquhar said. "No one talked about it. We've just been playing at a whole other level."

Reed said the conditioning has been upped and practices became a little crisper to a level that hasn't dissipated in the weeks following.

"As kids and a coaching staff, you get complacent to a certain degree," Reed said. "It snapped the attention of the kids. We didn't make a big deal of it, but you can tell where our focus has been."

"We've definitely stepped it up," Taylor added. "Our practices have been up-tempo and with a gamelike intensity."

Throckmorton had six turnovers in the loss, which helped Covenant rally back from an 18-point halftime deficit.

Since then, however, the Greyhounds amazingly haven't turned the ball over once, unless you count an interception during the 11-man portion of its exhibition against Windthorst.

Included in the Hounds' 10-game winning streak are victories over highly ranked programs Crowell, Water Valley and Rankin. Thirty points is the closest anybody has come to beating them.

Covenant's win also has paid big dividends for the Knights, who are a heavy favorite to win the TAPPS Division I state title Saturday against Boerne Geneva.

Covenant has lost in the past three state championship games. Reed, who can relate having lost his first three title games he coached in before winning it all in 2011, said he told Covenant coach Brice Helton before the Sept. 14 matchup that Covenant was going to win state this year.

"I told him you guys are going to win it all," Reed said. "And he said, 'I don't know. We might be a year away.'

"I told him last year nobody said we were going to win it. The group he has reminds me of our team from last year. No one wows you, but they do their job and do it really well."

A more confident Covenant beat Valley a couple weeks later and hasn't been tested by a TAPPS school during its 12-game winning streak.

"It ended up being really good for us and for them on the same night," Reed said.

© 2012 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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