Opening Up: How the first game affects the rest of the season

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 11, 2007 - With Sulphur Springs' football season opener just three weeks away, the Wildcats will soon start setting their sights on McKinney.

According to past seasons, the season opener can at times foretell the season's future.

Since 1956, when Sulphur Springs moved up to Class 2A, the Wildcats have gone 27-24 in their season openers. Only four of those years did Sulphur Springs make the playoffs after losing its first game.

Three of those four years, though, occurred this decade - 2002, 2004 and 2005. The only other year is happened was in 1996.

Since the first game is not a district game, it really has no tangible bearing on whether a team makes the playoffs. But, it has some interesting connections nonetheless.

The Wildcats have had 20 winning seasons since 1956, and in 15 of those (75 percent), they won the season opener. In their 15 playoff seasons, the Wildcats won their first game 10 times (67 percent). In 27 losing seasons, the Wildcats won their season openers just 10 times (37 percent), while in three .500 seasons, SSHS won its opening game just once (33 percent).

On the flip side, that also means that five times Sulphur Springs had a winning record despite losing the opener and five times the Wildcats went to the playoffs though they lost the first game of the season.

This season, the Wildcats will host McKinney on Aug. 31, at Gerald Prim Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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