“You don’t ever get diamonds without pressure”- Greg Jackson, Eunice football head coach
There’s always pressure when you are one of the teams to beat year-in-and-year-out, but the Eunice High School head football coach embraces the challenge for his program. “I tell the kids you don’t ever get diamonds without pressure,” said Greg Jackson, entering his 4th year as head coach of the Cardinals.
Eunice enters the football season as a defending state champ that hasn’t lost in the final since 2016. “You’re going to get everyone’s best shot and the target on the back gets bigger and bigger, and if you don’t embrace it, then you’re going to have a fall,” said Jackson.
Winning has become synonymous with the program for the past several years. Eunice has won the last four state championships, compiling a 51-4 record over the last five years. Eunice has reached the state finals of every championship bracket since 2015. (There was no state championship played in 2020 because of COVID-19.) “They understand what the expectations are,” said head coach Greg Jackson. “Without high expectations, you’ll never get high results.”
This season, the Cardinals are going to be young after losing 18 seniors from last year’s championship squad. “We do have some key players coming back,” said Jackson. Junior Ashton Thompson returns as one of their top receivers. On defense, the Cardinals are anchored by all-state linebackers Brandon Trevino and Jonathan Cabellero. Most of the roster has dreamed of making the varsity squad since they were little kids.
“I’ve told people it’s like living on the set of Friday Night Lights,” explained Jackson. “It’s a throwback. They live it. They breathe it. It’s the most anticipated 10 weeks on the calendar.”
Eunice doubled up rival Jal in the Class 2A final last season, 28-14, but they have last year’s championship in the rearview mirror as they look to the upcoming season. “We have to get better every week,” said Jackson. “We can’t just expect that things are going to fall into place because it’s not without the hard work and dedication to that excellence.”
The Cardinals open the season August 19th against Raton.