WINK, Texas (Nexstar) – Wink is a small town with big expectations when it comes to its high school football program.
Head coach Brian Gibson has built something of a powerhouse there in the last few seasons. In 2021, the Wildcats are dreaming big.
“We’re not afraid of talking about winning a state championship,” said Gibson.
In many ways, Wink epitomizes the stereotypical Texas football story – a small town that shuts down on Friday nights to support its team, in the hopes that a few young men may defy the odds.
“That’s the dream of every high school kid when they step out here,” said Gibson. “They want to play for a state championship. It’s no different here in Wink.”
With a regional appearance in 2019 and another playoff trip last year, the Wildcats feel they are building towards something special. That’s thanks in no small part to junior Kanon Gibson, who has earned All-State honors twice as a quarterback and defensive back.
“We’re all in,” said Kanon. “We’ve got to start off by winning the first game and then winning the district championship, but we really, really feel like we have a chance to make a deep, deep run in the playoffs and play for the state championship. That is the expectation.”
But a championship team is not about any one player – something Kanon understands.
“If the best thing for me to do is just to hand the ball off every play and get three yards, then that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “Whenever it’s time to step up and be the man, I’m going to have to do that, too.”
Wink needs several underclassmen to step into starting roles after graduating a hugely successful senior class. Even from afar, those former Wildcats still have an impact on this team.
“There’s a lot of pressure behind it, knowing that a lot of those guys we were friends with, close friends with,” said senior lineman Mac Payne “They’re watching us to see if we’re going to carry on what they had. It’s pretty fun to know that the whole town of Wink is watching us.”
The pressure isn’t anything the Cats can’t handle.
“They also understand that in Wink, they expect success,” Brian Gibson said. “They love their Wildcats here. They love their Lady Cats here. They follow them hard and these guys enjoy that.”