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Barbers Hill linebacker Cavin Branin, 33, and the Eagles seniors were the first four-year class for head coach Tom Westerberg at the school. They wrapped their careers with a Region 3 semifinal appearance Friday – a 55-35 loss to Manvel. (Photo by Valerie Hull)

Group leads Eagles to best Class 5A finish

HOUSTON – It was the current senior class for Barbers Hill football that ignited the recently completed playoff run for the Eagles. 

They were a group who found ways to push each other and then get along like brothers through it all, according to a number of players, as they advanced to the 5A-II Region 3 semifinals before losing 55-35 to Manvel Friday at NRG Stadium.

The Eagles finished their season at 11-2 and an undefeated District 12-5A II championship before their season ended against the Mavericks, but the senior class will leave an indelible mark on head coach Tom Westerberg.

“It’s that group that got us to this point,” Westerberg said. “They have fun practicing and they like each other. All the things you look forward to this time of year, they just don’t get tired. That’s what they are about.”

Senior linebacker Cavin Branin, the district’s defensive most valuable player, although disappointed with the loss, found himself reflecting on the four years that had come to an end moments earlier.

“Words can not explain the past four years,” Branin said. “It’s just ridiculous the way we’ve bonded with each other. I feel like our goal was accomplished. We put our team for the next couple of years in a pretty dang good place. I’m not hanging my head, it’s’ going to be held high because we got it done.”

Senior linebacker Rex Thompson saw a lot of different personalities mesh and work for a common goal while achieving memories not long forgotten.

“This is something you only get once in a lifetime and you have to cherish,” Thompson said. “I just love this team and how we’ve bonded through the years and how we become a family. To make it to the third round is just amazing. You always want to go for the state championship, but sometimes that’s not how life goes. This is good enough for me.

“It’s preparation and how we push each other. It’s just something we wanted to accomplish together this year. We had the leaders and the shy guys we had to build up. It was a perfect blend this year.”

The Eagles were able to find a way to connect with one another through a common goal.

“We just have been really close since we played Pop Warner,” Branin said. “Being together since that young age … we work great with each other.”

Senior offensive lineman Casey Collier saw his own love of the game and the team grow over his four years.

“It was a great four years and I put in a lot of work,” Collier said. “Freshman and sophomore years I wasn’t where I wanted to be and I saw something and thought I could go to college and do this. I got better and that seemed to make the other offensive linemen get better.

“It was fun playing with this team.”

Thompson sees a lot of good things coming up in the future.

“They have so much talent in those lower grades and they can make this program what it needs to be,” Thompson said.

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