High-Flying Offense Fuels Beckville’s Undefeated Start to 2016 Season
Beckville coach Mike Bickham only had one word to describe his team's win last Friday night: Crazy.
The score alone in the Bearcats' 77-66 win over West Sabine is eyebrow-raising, but how it ended up that way is in a league of its own.
The two teams combined for 51 points in the fourth quarter after West Sabine held a 50-41 lead entering the final period. Beckville didn't have its first lead of the game until it went up 69-66, which erased a 17-point West Sabine advantage.
The Bearcats erased that lead thanks to recovering three consecutive onside kicks and recovering a fumble on another, which led to 28 points in just over three minutes.
"That was crazy stuff," Bickham said with a hearty laugh. "Every time I see someone they tell me some new crazy stat. All those onside kicks we recovered ... it was fun and it was crazy."
There was no question that it was one of the wildest and most memorable games Bickham had been a part of, and that's saying something considering his long coaching history. But it was how his team fought until the end is what left him the most proud.
"The heart and grit that our kids showed made me very proud. For nothing else other than the fact that they had opportunity to quit and give up and they didn't," Bickham said. "You can coach the X's and O's and coach during the game, but you can't coach heart. Our kids showed they have it."
Beckville's dynamic offense is one of East Texas' biggest stories in this early part of the season. The Bearcats' 132 points is the most of any East Texas team, one better than the most famous offense in the area in Gilmer.
Beckville started the season with a 55-27 win over Anderson-Shiro, which after last Friday's victory over West Sabine, means the Bearcats have scored 33 points or more in every game except two since the beginning of the 2015 season.
"If nothing else, it makes going to practice fun every day. Our kids get excited when they have an offense like that," Bickham said. "We try and keep things simple. When our offensive coaches put our game plan together we focus on what we're good at. I think that's the direction our offense is developing. Where it grows from here I'm not sure, but I hope it stays as exciting as it is right now."
That excitement will be around for a while with the amount of youth Beckville has this season. Quarterback Trey Lindsay, who threw for 312 yards and six touchdowns against West Sabine, is only a junior and the Bearcats have plenty of youth at receiver. Sophomore Morry Morrison caught eight passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns, and Austin Roys -- also a sophomore -- also caught a touchdown pass.
That, coupled with an experienced running back in senior Jayvon Lewis, will make for a thrilling rest of 2016.
"We've got two sophomores (Roys and Morrison) who are catching balls all over the field. Austin Roys wasn't even supposed to be a receiver, but he's doing a great job for us," Bickham said. "We have a lot of faith in Trey Lindsay and we knew going into the season that we would be good on the offensive line. We knew we would be solid up front and that could turn into some good things. So far that's worked out very well for us."
Having that kind of ability to score is not only helpful in winning football games, but it simply equates into a fun environment on and off the field, Bickham said. He spent two years as an assistant in Beckville before taking the head job in the spring. He knew he'd be coaching a special offense, but more importantly, a fun group of players.
"Our kids in Beckville would tell you the most exciting thing about me getting the job is that we love each other. These kids know that I love them and I know they love me and our coaches. That's where our confidence lies right there," Bickham said. "They knew we were going to have fun. To be honest there was a lot of worry about moving up to 3A and we are probably in the toughest 3A Division II district in the state, but we did agree on that we are going to make this season fun. That's all we need to keep us going."
Big tests await these high-flying Bearcats. Beckville joined a league in District 9-3A Division II that boasts names like Arp, Waskom, West Rusk and Elysian Fields. But if the offense keeps clicking the way it has through two games, the Bearcats might surprise some of their district counterparts.
"Our philosophy is we're not going to worry about our opponent. We can't control our opponents, but we can control us, so let's get better every day at practice, better this Friday night than last Friday night," Bickham said. "Our district is full of great football programs and they're all very well-coached. But focusing on ourselves is the best preparation we can have."