NEW HOME, TX (KCBD) - Since 1984, the town of New Home has played six-man football.
During those 34 years - the Leopards compiled a record of 170-158-2.
But over the off-season, New Home made a change and leaped up to 11-man football, where they knew they would need some time to adjust before they were spot on.
“It has been hard, and you know, I am not going to sit here and say we didn’t think it was going to be this hard,” Leopard head football coach Fernando Baeza said. “Because we knew it was going to be difficult, but sometimes you never know how difficult it is going to be. But, our kids have taken it in stride and have come out with a great attitude all year long.”
Through the first six weeks of the season, the New Home Leopards had their growing pains, as they started the season 0-6.
But through it all, there was one constant every week – the Leopards improved. “Yeah, it’s been difficult,” Junior Leopard Blake Buckelew said. “But, I feel like we are getting better every week and the big guys up there have really gotten better.”
The signs of improvement showed this past Friday night, as the Leopards went to Lockney and defeated the Longhorns 16-6, giving the Leopards their first 11-man victory since the fall of 1982.
“Friday night was awesome,” Sophomore lineman Cayman Smith said. “It was a team that was definitely about our skill level. We went win in prepared, we went in with some good experience with some awesome teams that we have been playing. It was a very fun game and it was very challenging.”
Getting the win on Friday night was big for the team, but the challenges aren’t done for New Home.
As they have three more district games to play, where they hope to win a few more and get into the playoffs.
“That has been our goal all year long,” Baeza said. “We have played some good teams down the line, and definitely some teams that have given us some hard – hard experience. But, we knew the next couple of games are definitely some winnable games and the same thing for Crosbyton and Lockney. You know, Crosbyton is still looking for their first win of the season. I think they do a good job, they are very well coached. So, I think they are going to give us a heck of a ball game. So, we are definitely going to have come out prepared and be ready to play.”