The Tribe Warriors had the best record among Bastrop schools last season.
While Bastrop went 2-8 and Cedar Creek 1-9, Tribe Consolidated won the Texas Christian Athletic League 6-man Division II state title and finished with a 10-3 record.
Their accomplishment, however, moved largely below the radar.
The Warriors defeated Not Your Ordinary School (NYOS), a charter school in Austin, in the championship gmae 62-50 at Allen Academy in Waco.
Six-man football is slightly different from 11-man football. One difference is that the player who receives the snap on offense is not initially allowed to run past the line of scrimmage. A second difference is that anyone is eligible to catch a pass.
The good news for Tribe is that almost the entire roster is returning. The bad news is that it is moving up to Division I because it is carrying 18 players. Last season, they played with 10 athletes.
“This 18 is a true anomaly,” Tribe coach Brent Golemon said.
Most prominent among the returning starters is wide receiver/strong safety Graham Mills. At 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, Mills, only a junior, is a legitimate college prospect.
Last season, Mills caught 19 passes for 472 yards (24.8 average) and 11 touchdowns. Golemon said Mills worked with a personal trainer during the spring and summer and gained 25 pounds. He also attended the University of Houston summer camp and dropped his 40 time from 5.0 to 4.68.
“He’s going to be a nightmare for people this year,” Golemon said.
Quarterback Grant Golemon, Brent’s son, will be “throwing quick hitches to Mills because he’s really good at quick routes.”
Golemon (5-10, 145, jr.) completed 48 percent of his passes last season for 1,053 yards. He had 20 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. Brent Golemon said Grant can throw 50 yards in the air because he’s running to the line of scrimmage from the shotgun formation. On defense, Golemon had a team-high 110 tackles from the defensive secondary.
Esteban Lozano (5-6, 160, jr.) proved to be an elusive running back, gaining 1,638 yards (9.1 a carry) and scoring an eye-popping 31 touchdowns.
Ben Hostetler (6-1, 190, jr.) started at guard and defensive line and was second with 91 tackles. “He never tires,” Golemon said about Hostetler. “He’s like your Navy SEAL of football.”
Grant Golemon, Mills, and Hostetler played every down on offense and defense. With more numbers, Brent Golemon said he wants to substitute for the trio.
Receiver Lake Mills (5-7, 135, fr.), Graham’s younger brother, has as much speed as Graham and good hands, Golemon said.
Lockhart transfers Samuel Osborn (5-5, 135, so.) and Austin Collier (5-9, 225, sr.) will see considerable time at slotback and defensive end, respectively.
Malachi Gonzales (5-8, 235, jr.), a Giddings transfer, will also play defensive end. Matthew Morales (5-8, 155, jr.) will play strictly at cornerback.
Tribe allowed only 11 points a game last season.
“We try to be as strong as we can on the defensive side and fill in on offense,” Golemon said.
Tribe was 2-3 against Division I schools last season. It opens its season at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31 against Sterling City at Garden City. Sterling City, a public school, is ranked No. 18 in a preseason poll.
Eight of 34 teams advance to the playoffs in the Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organization (TAIAO). MaxPreps makes the decision, which is based more on strength of schedule than wins, Golemon said.