It has been an arduous journey for Argyle to get back to this point.
The Eagles endured playoff heartbreak over the past three years in more ways than one, falling to Waco La Vega twice and being upset by Stephenville in 2017.
That’s all behind them now. Gone are the days of stumbling blocks and lofty expectations that weren’t realized.
Now, the Eagles are on the cusp of history.
For the first time since 2015, Argyle will play in the Class 4A Division I title game when the Eagles clash with Lindale at 7 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium.
And for a senior-laden Argyle team that has gone a perfect 15-0 this year, there is only one thing left to do.
Win the whole thing.
“They’re overjoyed,” Argyle coach Todd Rodgers said. “What a special opportunity, [especially with] the uniqueness of this year. They’re the top classification school, so they’re playing in the prime time spot at 7 o’clock on Friday evening at AT&T. The Big 12 championship is the next day. They’re feeling pretty good about themselves.”
If securing the school’s sixth state final appearance wasn’t reason enough to feel good about themselves, the Eagles don’t have to look far to find others. Argyle has dominated its opponents this season and has won every game by 14 points or more.
The Eagles have never trailed in any of their 15 wins.
In the playoffs, Argyle has outscored teams 241-74. The Eagles are averaging 434.5 yards and 48.1 points per game, while their defense is surrendering just 15.1 points per night.
And while Argyle has been nothing short of a juggernaut all year, Rodgers knows his team is in for a fight against Lindale.
“I think that once you get to this time of year, you’re pretty [dang] good,” Rodgers said. “I think [Lindale] earned their spot in the state championship by winning their side of the bracket, and they’ve done it with a very balanced football team that excels offensively and defensively.”
One of Lindale’s most explosive weapons is running back Jordan Jenkins, who has rushed for 2,941 yards and a staggering 50 touchdowns.
Lindale quarterback Sam Peterson has also been effective, throwing for 2,315 yards and 24 scores.
But it’s no secret what makes Lindale’s offense — which is averaging 42.6 points per game — go.
It’s Jenkins, who is Lindale’s bonafide workhorse.
“I’ve watched an abundance of video, and he’s not just a pretty good running back, he’s a dang good running back,” Rodgers said. “He’s gifted, big and fast. He’s got great vision. He’s not easily tackled by two or three people. He can really run through several tackles. And he’s gotten plenty of opportunities in all the videos I’ve seen to do it.”
For Argyle offensively, the Eagles will turn to the usual suspects in quarterback CJ Rogers, running back Tito Byce and receivers Cole Kirkpatrick and Cash Walker.
Rogers has thrown for 3,062 yards and 44 touchdowns, while Byce has run for 831 yards and 13 scores. Kirkpatrick has reeled in 61 passes for 1,185 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Walker has caught 30 passes for 838 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“My sermon each and every week is to give possessions to our offense,” Rodgers said. “We’re fixing to face a team that wants to run the clock, keep the drive going and execute with the run and pass.”
Argyle has only one state championship to its name, which came back in 2013 with star Ian Sadler, who went on to play at Texas Tech.
The Eagles have plenty of stars this season in Rogers, Byce and Kirkpatrick, and even have a few offensive linemen in Jack Tucker and Blake Spence that are also going to Texas Tech.
And the one thing each of those players has in common is they are all seniors who have helped get Argyle back to pinnacle of Texas high school football.
Rodgers knows that each of his seniors have played a role in getting the Eagles back to AT&T Stadium. And Rodgers is beyond proud of the job they’ve done.
“I try to ask a bunch of seniors to lead from the front and, certainly, do the very best they can in regards to carrying the torch for their senior year as their parting gift,” Rodgers said. “They’ve done a really good job. They’re hungry for success. You’ve got to have a lot of things go your way to be in this position. And they’ve done that. They’ve secured their position.”