By Joey McWilliams
In 1983, DHS junior wide receiver Tadd Hammel helped the Lions to a 14-0 victory over Bristow to take the Class 3A state championship.
The Saturday before Christmas, he was able to experience that state championship feeling again. This time as a coach.
Hammel is the wide receivers coach at Cy-Fair High School in the northwest Houston area. His Bobcats defeated Midway Waco, 51-35, to win the Class 6A Division II championship and give the school its first UIL football title.
In his 14th season as a coach at Cy-Fair, Hammel said the community is like a small town and capturing the title was a big deal.
“Especially for Cy-Fair itself, being the charter school that was started back in ’41,” Hammel said. “It’s a big community with 12 schools in our district now and for Cy-Fair to win the first state championship, not only for the school itself, but for the Cy-Fair district was incredible.
“Everybody was overjoyed and I was really happy for some of our coaches. We have four coaches that have been there since 1981. So for those guys, and one of them is fixing to retire, and to go out in his last year and to be a state champion is just awesome.
“It’s been a great accomplishment for these kids, because last year we thought it was maybe our year, but for this year it to actually come to fruition and be state champs is great.”
He talked about the similarities in the feeling of winning a title as a coach and as a player, as well as the similarities in the teams, themselves.
“Winning as a player back in ’83 was like a dream come true,” Hammel said. “It was a great bunch of guys that me and my brother played with and we are all like brothers. And as a coach, you always dream about it and here in Texas and to play in the biggest level, it’s tough. For us to finally have it happen, and I never thought it was going to happen, but it did and it’s kind of the same feeling.
“It’s a same type of team, too. We (Durant) had a great defense and an offense that would just ground and pound. Same deal, here. Great defense and an offense that did what it had to do to win. To me, and I told our coaches this, it felt like the state championship back in high school.
“The feeling to win it as a coach and as a player, it just doesn’t get any better.”
Tadd’s twin brother Todd, the quarterback of the 1983 DHS team is also a high school football coach in Texas, coaching the quarterbacks for the Panthers at Class 6A Keller Fossil Ridge.
“It was nice to have my brother there. I know he strives for the same thing. They had a great season this year, also. They were undefeated and wound up getting beat in the first round of the playoffs, so for him and my parents, my wife, my daughter to all be there and support me was a great feeling.”
The championship game took place after classes had been released for Christmas break. Hammel said the team and coaches are waiting to get back to school so they can come together and celebrate more.