Staff Writer Austin American-Statesman
You ever drive through a small town somewhere in Texas on your way from here to somewhere else and pass by a little football stadium? If you’re like me, you checked out the shape of the grass and the stands to try and guess if they still play there. If the grass was green and the white lines were still faintly present, you started to wonder what the last game was like. You pictured yourself shoulder to shoulder with your neighbors wearing the team colors and cheering for a few good young men in armor who had been friends for most of their lives and played like it - win or lose. You could smell the popcorn and hear the echoing from the announcer on the PA. When you snapped out of your daydream, you promised yourself you were going to go to a high school football game, a real small-town football game where the fans all know each other and the players play like brothers on both sides of the ball. There is a place like that in Bastrop. At the intersection on Hwy. 304 and Lower Red Rock Road sits a tiny little stadium known with great pride and affection as The Pasture. It is the home of the Tribe Consolidated Warriors, a six-man football team made up of home-schooled and private-school students. Many of the athletes attend Cornerstone Christian High School at the same location. The Warriors compete in the Texas Christian Athletic League (TCAL). They played in the 2012 state championship game, and again in 2013 in which they played a close game. The Warriors have sent athletes on to college scholarships and to success in other walks of life. There are players of abilities ranging from truly gifted to “just happy to be on the team.” But there are no stars in uniform. The stars of this team are faith in God and faith in each other. They give it their all and leave it all on the field. The concession stand has sodas, candy, chips - and cheeseburgers and hotdogs cooked on a charcoal grill. I’ve tried everything and it’s all good. I think they even have Frito pie.
The Warriors’ first game for 2013, played at The Pasture, was against the Corpus Christ Wings. If you had been there you would have seen the Warriors walk the quarter-mile dirt road from the school to the stadium together in a square formation - silently, humbly and ready for business. Without ceremony they walked onto the field and got down to the business of warming up together. They went through the warmup under the guidance of the team captains while the head coach looked on, but even the team captains didn’t say much. All these boys know what needs to be done and know their role in doing it. The Warriors took to their sideline and the whole stadium prayed together. The team captains held hands as they walked out to the coin toss. The Warriors kicked off to the Wings who made a respectable return. The Wings then scored a touchdown on the first play of the game. That woke the Warriors up. They went on to outscore the Wings, 56-6. The players and families from both teams had dinner together at Double Dave’s Pizza after the game. There was a whole lot hand shaking, back patting, and “Man that was a good hit you put on me!” - after the prayer, of course.
I’m telling you Bastrop, it’s really something to see. Whether you’re a Christian or a fan of small-town high school football, or both, this game is for you. After you watch a game you might find you are both.
The next home game was set for Friday, Sept. 13 7:30 PM. Come early to games if you like to watch to teams take the field. I do. Tell the lady at the gate you’re here to watch a friend’s kid play football. It won’t get you a discount, but it will get you a smile, and by the end of the game it’ll be the truth.
See you at The Pasture. Go Warriors!