2016 a ‘Turning Point’ for Bearkat Football


When talking about the expectations for the Klein football team, most fans around school weren’t very optimistic. The stigma around the team was that they were the runts of the conference. They were perennially behind Klein Oak and Klein Collins. While they haven’t necessarily gotten rid of that stigma, this year was a huge step forward. It’s a testament to Coach Shane Hallmark and the team that they made it as far as they did this year.

This is a team that has not won a playoff game since 2010 and had not made the playoffs since 2013. Fans in the stands made bets on how much Klein would lose by. Looking at the faces of some people in the stands, you would think it was more of a chore, than a fun event. Yet 2016 proved to be a turning point in this program. The season would end in disappointment, with a loss to former division rival, Spring, 19-7, but this year could prove to be a huge step forward for the program looking back.

Klein shocked everyone with a bold statement in their first game of the season against Aldine Davis. The tone was set immediately. On the first defensive possession for the Bearkats, they forced a 3 and out. On the first offensive play, sophomore running back D’Anthony Simms-Coleman broke a tackle and took the ball 61 yards for a touchdown. Klein played exciting football to start the season. They looked aggressive on defense, forcing turnover, while the offense looked explosive. Klein averaged 41.6 points per game in their first 5 games, en route to a 4-1 start. Klein looked poised to make a run for the division.

The hype was short lived. In what was almost certainly the point of the season, star wide receiver Austin Trammel was lost for the season in a blowout against Memorial. Austin Trammel, one of the best receivers in the city of Houston, led the explosive offense. In what could arguably be the most disappointing game of the season, the Bearkats lost to Klein Oak 35-24, the game following Trammel’s injury. Without his presence, the team dropped from averaging 41.6 points a game, to averaging 22.5 points for the rest of the season. Season ending injuries to Isaiah Shepherd and Grant Hilding followed suit in the following games, hurting the team even more. High scoring affairs turned into defensive slugfests, and although Klein continued to win games, it was clear they weren’t the same team.

By the time the Bearkats rolled into Spring, they weren’t nearly the same team as they were week 1. Yet, the Bearkats kept this game much closer than the score would indicate. Until the final 2 minutes, the score was a 1 possession game. For as disappointing as the season ended, it was also a testament to the fight and determination of this team. The team hobbled by big injuries never lost their goal in sight, and fought until the very last play. The way the team continued to win games, despite all the adversity, shows how the mentality and program Coach Hallmark is building is starting to show dividends.

This was far from a disappointing season. There was never a moment that this showed it lost its will to fight. There were many opportunities for it to happen, yet it never came. No one gave them a chance near the end of the season, yet they continued to win games. Hallmark has quietly built a strong program, and soon, we may be looking at 2016 as the turning point for the Bearkats.