VYPE HOUSTON LINKS
Cypress Fairbanks ISD
Fort Bend ISD
Lamar Consolidated ISD
Spring Branch ISD
Youth Sports COMING SOON!
Trust Issues -- Hightower's Bond Leads to State Final Appearance
January 10, 2012By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - West Houston
Tight Bond Propels Hightower to State Finals
By Ahmard Vital
Photos by Diana Porter
At some point in the season, Hightower coach Barry Abercrombie noticed a shift in his team. And while shifts can be of a negative or positive nature, Abercrombie discovered that his team had bought into the latter.
“Somewhere along the way, the team developed a trust. I mean, we always knew that we had a good team, but something happened during the playoffs,” Abercrombie said. “I believe it was when we beat North Shore (area round playoffs, 34-21 win) and the guys had a feeling that they could go all the way.”
And the good thing is this realization happened at the right time. And yes, the Hurricanes did go all the way to the Class 5A Division I state title game to face off against Southlake Carroll, a team known for playing in big games. In a game where the momentum shifted back-and-forth several times, Hightower came up just short on December 17 with a 36-29 loss in Arlington, Texas at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
But you won’t see any heads dropped from the Hightower side. Instead, you will see a group of young men who gave everything they had on the field of play, said Abercrombie. And sure enough, that brings back the issue of trust.
Abercrombie stated that trust starts at the top from the coaching staff down to your seniors.
“It’s all about your seniors. What they do is either going to have a positive or negative effect on the team,” Abercrombie said. “This may sound crazy, but these guys never got tired of playing football. They wanted to keep playing each week and it showed in the way they practiced and how they played in games. That was the mentality of the guys.”
Those seniors were challenged early in the season, going 0-2 to start the year after falling to Eisenhower and The Woodlands. The Hurricanes would pull it together and win the next eight games and claim a district championship.
Hightower had it rolling entering the playoffs and blew out Clear Brook in bi-district. However, a Murderer's Row lay ahead. The 'Canes knocked off epic playoff foe North Shore, before upsetting Cy-Fair and defending state champ Pearland. Getting out of the region was brutal, but prepared Hightower as they crushed San Antonio Madison 54-29 in the state semis.
Even within this group of seniors, some stand out amongst the crowd. And many times when the Hightower program is mentioned, quarterback Bralon Addison is a name that is likely to come up, and for good reason. Addison would take the Touchdown Club Player of the Year honors tallying over 3,600 total yards and over 40 touchdowns. He turned it up in the playoffs, rushing for 960 in six games.
Addison has excelled on the football field as a football player and leader. On top of that, he is one of Texas’ top recruits and all indications would show that he will end up in College Station at Texas A&M. But for the month of January, Addison will check visit other programs like Oregon, Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
But aside from all of that, what is mentioned above was not Addison’s best attributes.
“The best player on the team is also the best teammate. It is because of attitudes like Bralon’s that we were able to be successful this season,” Abercrombie said. “He (Addison) was never cocky or arrogant, that’s just not him. And when we have done well, he has deferred all the praise.”
That mindset resonated throughout the Hurricane team.
“It was not just the 'Bralon Show' each week. There were plenty of players who were involved in our wins,” Abercrombie said. “A lot of guys wanted touches, and we spread the ball around. There were no arguments as each guy trusted the other to get the job done. All they wanted was the win and another week to keep playing.”