From the Friday night lights and Monday morning quarterbacks — from small towns with big dreams to the dominant powerhouses — football is a big deal in Texas. And in Houston, we’re lucky to have some great hometown teams to cheer for.
NFL — Houston Texans
Our professional team, the Houston Texans, are part of the NFL’s AFC South division. The Texans began in 2002 as an expansion team, and they play home games at NRG Stadium near downtown. Our city’s previous NFL franchise, the Houston Oilers, moved to Nashville in 1996.
The team struggled in its early years but clinched their first playoff berth and won their first division championship in 2011, winning three more AFC South championships in 2012, 2015, and 2016. Star players include J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Whitney Mercilus.
NCAA Division I College Football
There are five college football teams in the Houston area.The Cougars at the University of Houston have been a member of the American Athletic Conference since 2013. The team is currently coached by Major Applewhite, a former quarterback at the University of Texas at Austin. The Cougars have played in 26 post-season bowl games with a record of 11–14–1.
The Rice Owls have competed in Conference USA’s Western Division since 2005. Rice Stadium, which was built in 1950, hosts the home games. Houston Baptist University, Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University also have football teams.
Private High School Teams
Many Houston private schools participate in TAPPS football, and four local teams played in the 11-man state championships last year – St. Pius X, Cypress Christian, Legacy Prep and The Village School.
St. Pius X is one of the most intently watched teams in Houston, and their state final loss last year was a heartbreaker. Reigning SPC champion Kinkaid returns this year as the favorite, and Episcopal and Magnolia Legacy Prep are two other teams to watch. The Houston area also has two former state champions: Northland Christian in 2016) and Emery/Weiner in 2015.
Public High School Teams
No doubt, some of the biggest fanatics are cheering for public high school football teams. No state does high school football like Texas.
The University Interscholastic League was created to provide leadership and guidance to public school contests, including athletics. Texas public schools compete with other schools of comparable size, with post-season games on a state-wide basis. UIL member schools are divided into six conferences according to enrollment. Starting with the largest schools, these conferences are 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A.
Here are some of the top Houston-area teams to watch in the two largest conferences.
- Klein Collins
- The Woodlands
- Ridge Point
- Cinco Ranch
- Langham Creek
- Clear Springs
- North Shore
- Cy Ranch
- Magnolia West
- FB Marshall
- New Caney
For players, Football in Texas is all about overcoming adversity, coming together for a common goal, understanding the process, being dependable and responsible, setting goals and making great plays. And as spectators and fans, we love to watch a great game!