HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: McCamey’s Woodard tabbed Coach of the Year

MCCAMEY McCamey head coach Michael Woodard had a laundry list of things to single out from the 2020 season.

That’s what happens after the Badgers finished 11-2, made the playoffs, won the district title with an undefeated record that included a win against a rival and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class 2A Division II playoffs, while surpassing all expectations.

The Badgers’ accomplishments this season earned Woodard the 2020 All-Permian Basin Coach of the Year honor.

“Every year is meaningful,” Woodard said. “This year was just a blessing to be able to have it. We didn’t think that we were going to be able to have this season. Our kids took the opportunity and ran with it.

Woodard, however, says that his favorite part of this season was everything.

“Honestly, it was the fun of it all,” Woodard said. “Our kids and coaches and everyone enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t want to say that it was winning district.

“I don’t want to say that it was winning playoff games because the whole thing was fun. Just seeing everything come together was a blast.”

The Badgers entered the season coming off a 4-8 showing from last year that did include a playoff appearance, but also a third-place finish in their district.

This year, McCamey returned a number of players from last year which, including 18 starters (nine on offense and nine on defense).

For Woodard, there was every reason to expect big things from his players this year.

“I thought that we had a group of kids that were really talented,” Woodard said. “We had a group of coaches that were very good and you never know what that’s going to make up but our kids definitely met the challenge all season long.”

Woodard says a lot of this year’s success was because of his players, which included eight seniors.

“Every class is significant every year and not to downplay that but this one was special,” Woodard said. “It was special for me.

“I got to be around them all four years in high school. I got to watch them grow and was blessed to be able to coach them.”

Quarterback Ivan Rubio, the District 1-2A Division II MVP, says he owes a lot of his success to Woodard.

“He’s a good guy,” Rubio said. “He’s a tremendous coach. He pushed all of us to our limits and made us the people that we are.

“I’ve been with him since eighth grade and he’s a good coach. He made me do the best that I can do.”

Going undefeated (4-0) in district 1-2A Division II was by no means a guarantee.

Standing in the Badgers’ way was Wink, another area squad coming off a deep playoff run from 2019.

McCamey survived the matchup, posting a 38-33 victory against the Wildcats on Oct. 16 at Badger Stadium.

In the playoffs, the Badgers defeated Ropes (60-20), Wheeler (34-21) and Stratford (41-18) before falling to Wellington (46-26) in the state quarterfinals.

As Woodard reflects on the season, he knows he won’t take anything that his team accomplished for granted.

“The whole thing was a lot of fun,” Woodard said. “It was a lot of hard work. The kids put in a lot of work and so did the coaches. Each week was fun.

“Every playoff game is unique. You get a different challenge in every single one of them that is tough and finding a way to win those three playoff games was fun.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAmichaelba