It’s the playoffs and that’s pretty much all that matters for the Anahuac High School football team.
The Panthers wrapped up a 5-5 regular season campaign with a 5-2 District 12-3A I mark and that was good enough for third place and a spot in 7 p.m. Thursday’s bi-district matchup against Corbett (8-2) at Conroe’s Moorhead Stadium.
It is the program’s first playoff appearance since 2016 and the first under new head coach Greg Neece, who was the offensive coordinator at Newton during their 2017 and 2018 undefeated state title runs.
“Better to be in the playoffs than out of them,” Neece said.
Neece said that Crockett, which finished second in the highly competitive District 11-3A I and behind undefeated Diboll, will bring plenty of challenges to the Panthers.
“They have a lot of athletes and they can score a lot of points,” Neece said. “They have a lot of speed and size and have kids who are going to play college. Their offense is better and their defense has a middle linebacker and defensive end that are both really good.”
Anahuac lost the final two district games against the top teams – East Chambers and Orangefield – which were a combined 18-2 this season.
“You don’t want the team to have a negative spirit about things because we are a really good football team,” Neece said. “It just showed how good East Chambers and Orangefield are compared to us. We got to the playoffs which was our goal.”
Anahuac’s numbers have taken a hit in recent weeks and the Panther running attack will be led by two players who didn’t even comprise the team’s backfield in week one.
Senior quarterback Foster Kreuzer will be expected to lead the team and could record a 1,000-1,000 season in passing and rushing as he sits at 908 and 906 currently.
“Our senior group laid the foundation for the new program,” Kreuzer said. “We bought in because the new coaches changed our mindset. They challenged us a lot more and it made us want to work harder and do better.
“Our community is pretty supportive when we win, but they have been behind us all year. The kids are always talking about the game. I feel that every sport we have is going to have an improved season from what I’ve seen so far.”
Neece said he has never had a quarterback gain 1,000 yards both rushing and passing during his coaching career.