The Cy-Fair Bobcats were in this position a year ago, squaring off in the fourth round of the playoffs with a trip to the state semifinals on the line.
So was Langham Creek.
Two years ago, it was Cypress Ridge. In 2014, it was Cypress Ranch.
Cypress Creek will also be in the same position Saturday, joining Cy-Fair in the Class 6A Region III championship games.
“It is always exciting to see kids and coaches have success in the playoffs. It is even more gratifying to see such a variety of our teams have success,” said Ray Zepeda, CFISD director of athletics. “We had seven of our twelve teams qualify for the football playoffs this year. We have also had seven CFISD football teams from seven different schools advance to the third round of the playoffs in the past five years.
“This is a staggering accomplishment in this day and age.”
Simply put, things are just different in Cy-Fair ISD.
Sixteen teams remain in the 6A playoffs. Seven are the only high school in their district, while five are in two- or three-school districts.
Brandeis is in 10-school Northside ISD, but it’s the lone team that advanced past the second round. And only one school (O’Connor) advanced past the first a year ago.
In general, that’s the norm for most larger school districts. One or two teams usually have prolonged success while others fight to break through.
Or in other cases, a district’s pole position changes as growth and demographics change. Think Willowridge to Hightower to Ridge Point for example, or Humble to Atascocita.
But Cy-Fair ISD has found a way to break the mold, with this year and last being the brightest spotlight for the district in northwest Houston.
Cy-Fair ISD has seen at least of one of its teams reach the third round of the football postseason every year since 2004, with four different schools advancing to the fourth (regional championship) over the last three years. Here’s a year-by-year look at the district’s playoff success over the last 15 seasons:
2018 – Cy-Fair (6A Div. 1) and Cypress Creek (6A Div. 2) advance to regional championships.
2017 – Cy-Fair (6A Div. 2) wins state title. Langham Creek (6A Div. 2) reaches regional championship.
2016 – Cypress Ridge (6A Div. 2) reaches regional championship.
2015 – Cypress Falls (6A Div. 1) reaches to regional semifinals.
2014 – Cypress Ranch (6A Div. 1) advances to state final. Cy-Fair (6A Div. 1) and Cypress Woods (6A Div. 2) reach regional semifinals.
2013 – Cy-Fair (6A Div. 1) reaches regional championship.
2012 – Cypress Ranch (6A Div. 2) reaches regional championship.
2011 – Cy-Fair (6A Div. 1) reaches regional semifinals.
2010 – Cypress Woods (5A Div. 2) reaches regional championship. Cypress Creek (5A Div. 1) reaches regional semifinals.
2009 – Cypress Woods (5A Div. 1) reaches regional championship.
2008 – Cypress Woods (5A Div. 1) and Cypress Ridge (5A Div. 2) reach regional semifinals.
2007 – Cypress Ridge (5A Div. 1) and Cy-Fair (5A Div. 1) reach regional semifinals.
2006 – Cypress Falls (5A Div. 2) advances to state final. Cy-Fair (5A Div. 1 ) reaches regional championship.
*2005 – Cy-Fair (5A Div. 1) and Cypress Falls (5A Div. 2) reach regional championships.
*2004 – Cypress Falls (5A Div. 1) reaches regional championship.
*Division I bracket had one less round than so teams needed three games to reach the regional championship.
“This is a really, really, really good district, and what I think people need to understand is when we were all together, that was almost a travesty,” Cy Creek Head Coach Greg McCaig said. “I mean, we literally had some of the best teams in the state not go anywhere because we were beating ourselves up just trying to get out of this district.”
In 2017, Cy-Fair won the 6A Division II state championship. The Bobcats became the first team not named Katy to claim a title in the state’s largest classification from a school district with more than six schools since 1990.
February’s University Interscholastic League biennial realignment split Cy-Fair ISD and its 12 high schools into separate districts for the first time. Seven made the postseason.
The two still alive (Cy-Fair and Cy Creek) actually finished third and tied for fourth in District 17-6A. Jersey Village, which hadn’t made the playoffs since 2006, went unbeaten to claim the title.
Cypress Ranch did the same in 14-6A.
The Mustangs reached the fourth round in 2012 and played for the Div. I-6A title two years later. Cypress Falls reached the Div. II final in 2006.
In all, at least one Cy-Fair ISD team has reached the third round of the playoffs every year dating back to 2004. Cy-Fair (five times), Cy Creek, Cy Falls (three times), Cy Ridge, Cy Ranch (twice) and Cypress Woods (twice) have all played for regional titles during the 15-year span.
“It speaks highly of the district,” Cy-Fair Head Coach Ed Pustejovsky said. “The level of play, the competition and coaching staffs we have do a great job. Once you got to Game No. 11, the competition you played all year long was relevant and you had to play to win and I think everybody knew that.
“Everybody knew you had to play well every time you went out or you would get beat. That’s helped down the road.”
Older schools like Cy-Fair (first varsity season in 1939), Jersey Village (1973) and Cy Creek (1980) haven’t suffered despite Cy Ridge (2004), Cy Woods (2008), Cy Ranch (2010) and others coming on the scene.
And the school district biggest chip is this formula isn’t specific to football.
Four different girls’ basketball teams have advanced to state since 2010. Three different baseball teams have advanced since 2007.
“I really believe that the success that many of our teams have had creates in all of our schools and teams a belief that they too can be just as successful,” Zepeda said.
Cy-Fair and Cy Creek football can add to that resume Saturday at NRG Stadium. Cy Creek goes first, facing Beaumont West Brook at 2 p.m. Cy-Fair follows against Galena Park North Shore at 6 p.m.
It’s been showcased as a district event instead of just two separate games. Cy-Fair ISD has built on these opportunities – a record crowd at FCU Stadium watched Cy-Fair and Langham Creek in last year’s regional championship.
“It is also reflective of the commitment that our community has made to excellence for their kids in a variety of extracurricular activities,” Zepeda said. “The investment that has been made by our administration, school board and community has translated into great success for our teams and I could not be prouder.”