BIG LAKE, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – The 2022 season was full of hope for the Reagan County Owls as they made their playoff appearance for the first time since 2019.

Finishing the regular season on a high note with a four-game win streak set the Owls up for what they hoped would be a successful postseason run. Unfortunately for them, they faced a tough Cisco Loboes team in the first round and their hopes of making a long run in playoffs was cut short.

“It was a special season and then you go and you play Cisco and you realize that’s a little different type of football,” Kyle Brown, Reagan County head coach, said.

And not in the prettiest fashion. Reagan County was shutout to the Loboes, and left with a 55-0 loss. While many may sulk on the past and dread what’s to come, the Owls are using this performance to propel them into the next season.

“It was really tough going against a good team. But I think it was a good experience, playing against a good team like that,” Seth Avalos, sophomore tackle, said.

Coach Brown said this was a major step forward for the Owls.

“It was eye-opening. There’s a lot that can be learned from that game, you know even though the outcome was kind of ugly. It showed our kids, because they’ve never been in that situation, what a team trying to make the playoffs like we were, and a team trying to win a state championship like they were,” he said. “There’s been a big gap between that and that’s been our focus this whole time is trying to close that gap, and how do you do it? Well, you got to be up here in the summer, you got to be working hard, you got to be committed, and, we’re not there yet but I think we’re closer.”

For the seniors, this is the last chance to prove themselves in Big Lake, and they take last year’s loss seriously.

“It’s definitely motivating us more to want more golden balls, to keep us going,” Raymond Saldibar, senior wide receiver, emphasized.

After losing a good amount of seniors after the 2022 season, there are a lot of shoes to fill, but the youngsters are ready for the challenge, especially when it comes to helping the current seniors finish their high school careers.

Junior linebacker Ruben Bernal reiterated just that: “Just tells me that we weren’t good enough last year to compete against bigger teams, like bigger players and just better teams all around so, just tells us we got to improve.”

The 2023 season kicks off for Big Lake in non-district play, on Aug. 25th on the road in Wink.