South Houston has only won two playoff games in school history, but is on the right path. Vype
Originally appeared on Vype.com.
The definition of winning is different for every school in Houston.
For some it’s a state title or bust, and for others making the playoffs is monumental.
For the South Houston Trojans, it goes a little deeper.
Keep in mind; the Trojans have won two playoff games in school history dating back to 1957.
Think about that. That’s 60 years.
Coach Dwayne Lane took the head job at South Houston in 2013 after being a long-time assistant in Clear Creek ISD and Dickinson.
Lane has led his squad to back-to-back playoff appearances, falling in the first round to Kingwood both times.
“We are pleased with the progress that we have made, but we are past moral victories,” he said. “I can see in the kids’ eyes that they are expecting to win playoff games. It’s a complete change in mindset from where we were and that’s the toughest part in changing a culture.”
South Houston has a different set of challenges that the super-schools don’t encounter.
The power programs struggle with parental politics, booster clubs and balancing playing time with their large rosters.
“Our hardest part is actually getting our kids on the field,” Lane laughed. “Our kicker, who is a stud and could kick in college, started to miss a lot of practice before the playoffs. He quit the team to join the Marines, just a few weeks ago. We had a defensive back whose dad took him out of a game at halftime and never returned.”
That’s South Houston. And that’s getting to games, not practices.
“I love our kids and their families, but it’s just different here,” he said. “They will miss practice to watch their little brother and sisters when their parents go to work. A lot of times our kids miss because they are at work.”
It’s a different culture, but Lane is making it work.
“My biggest thing is building relationships with my players,” he said. “I live by the motto that kids don’t know how much you know until they know how much you care. I have to take the first step and these kids know that our coaches care about them. Then we develop them as football players.
“All we really preach is work ethic, accountability and commitment,” he said. “I wish we could teach more football schemes, but that’s what we install first and foremost.”
Lane also understands the importance of the big-men.
“You have to win at the Class 6A level in the trenches, so we love those guys up,” he said. “We don’t have ‘skill players’, we have ‘little skills’ and ‘big skills.’ When it’s time to eat pregame, we let the big guys go first. It starts up front and they have paid off huge for us.”
In the regular season, SOHO was the top offense in District 22-6A, averaging 380 yards per game. The offensive line was paramount in that success, but so were senior back Davion Williams and junior quarterback Torrence Stevens. Junior Ian Butler was the leading pass-catcher in the district as well.
Defensively, Sam Webb, linebacker Ethan Ponce and Everardo Martinez will be back in the mix in 2018.
“We are going to keep building off what we have done the past two seasons,” he said. “We have
a great nucleus coming back, who expects to win that playoff game.”
Football is a numbers game and the numbers are stacked against South Houston. But again it goes back to the definition of winning.
“It’s so rewarding so see these kids develop into something bigger than football,” Lane said. “Our trainer has been here for over
20 years, and when we had our awards ceremony last year for our football team and we recognized 24 seniors, she couldn’t believe it. It’s the most that she could ever remember. That’s how we are defining winning.”
This year the Trojans will recognize over 30 seniors and field two freshmen, two junior varsity teams, and a varsity team.
This article appeared in the December Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!
Jamal Shead hit a short follow shot with 0.4 seconds left and No. 1 Houston beat Oklahoma 87-85 on Saturday night, giving coach Kelvin Sampson a victory over one of his former schools.
Shead missed a driving layup attempt, but corralled the rebound and put the Cougars back ahead after they blew a 15-point lead. Emanuel Sharp tipped away a desperation pass by Oklahoma’s Milos Uzan as time expired.
“The main thing (on the last shot) was to get it to the rim,” Sampson said. “We weren’t going to shoot anything outside of 5 feet. There were three ways to win that game — a whistle, make the shot or (grab) an offensive rebound and put it in — and we got the third one.”
Sampson credited the result to Houston’s “winning DNA. We had a lot of things go against us tonight. … We were just plugging the holes in the boat up.”
L.J. Cryer led Houston (26-3, 13-3 Big 12) with 23 points, making 5 of 9 3-pointers. J’Wan Roberts added 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and Shead scored 14 points. Houston shot 56.7% from the field and Oklahoma was at 52.7%.
Rivaldo Soares had 16 points for Oklahoma (19-10, 7-9). Le’Tre Darthard had 15 points, finishing 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
Sampson coached Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006 and ranks second in program history with 279 wins and first in winning percentage (.719). Before Saturday, he’d never coached against the Sooners, but Houston’s entry into the Big 12 for this basketball season provided that opportunity.
Sampson received a warm welcome as he entered the Lloyd Noble Arena court, with many fans applauding, cheering and standing. Just before player introductions, Sampson and his three assistants with Oklahoma ties — former players Hollis Price, Quannas White and Kellen Sampson, his son — were individually recognized with announcements and pictured on the video board.
“The memories that I will take from here are just amazing,” Kelvin Sampson said. “Oklahoma will always be home in a lot of ways.”
Houston made its first week this season at No. 1 a successful one, with two wins. The Cougars are a game ahead of No. 8 Iowa State in the conference standings with two games left in the regular season and remain in the conversation for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Houston has won eight of the last nine games it has played as the No. 1-ranked team and is 35-5 overall while atop the AP poll.
Oklahoma dropped its second game of the week against a top-10 opponent, having lost 58-45 at Iowa State on Wednesday night.
The Sooners pushed Houston to the limit. Houston led 67-52 with 12:01 left, but the Sooners methodically closed that gap and Javian McCollum’s layup with 11.8 seconds left tied it at 85. It came after a hustle play by Uzan, who tracked down a rebound off a missed free throw and threw it off the leg of Sharp, allowing it to carom out of bounds.
Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said the vibe in the Sooners’ locker room was “tough. It wasn’t like they were happy to be close. They’re hurting. That’s a good sign. … That’s the elite of the elite and we’ve got to find a way to win that. That’s my job.
“I thought they were resilient battling back. Houston made tough shots, open shots, good shots. They do a lot of good things … but I thought we did too. We played the best team in the country, but we fell short. The margin of error when you play a team that good is small.”
Godwin went 6 of 6 from the field and led Oklahoma with 17 points, missing only the one free throw in six attempts as well. He also had seven rebounds.
Houston: Sampson surely appreciated the warm welcome from fans on his return to Oklahoma, but he’s undoubtedly glad to have the emotional game against the Sooners over with. Now he can push the Cougars to focus on finishing the regular season strong and prepare them for the postseason.
Oklahoma: A win over the nation’s No. 1 team might have pushed the Sooners up a line or two in NCAA tournament seeding, but the loss shouldn’t damage their postseason hopes too much. Oklahoma probably needs at least one win next week — at home against Cincinnati or at Texas — to stay comfortably off the NCAA bubble heading into the Big 12 Tournament.
Houston: At Central Florida on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma: Host Cincinnati on Tuesday night.