The Wildcats of the Young Men's Leadership Academy in the Fort Worth Independent School District are getting fierce.
"They've matured a lot," said head football coach Joseph Heath. "After a year they've seen a lot of things, they adapt to it better, so all the credit in the world goes to them."
The magnet school with just 177 students has the smallest 5A football program in the state.
Several of the team's 38 players hardly ever leave the game, playing multiple positions.
"When that ball kicks off, nobody cares that we have 177 kids on our campus," Heath said. "Nobody cares that we don't have a field and that sort of thing. You know, it's football, and once the game starts, you play."
The Wildcats finished 1-9 last year, in their first season, but entered Thursday night's game against the Southwest High School Raiders at 2-3, undefeated so far in district play.
"Our boys have worked really, really hard," said Elisa Sanders, whose son plays for the Wildcats. "They're determined. They just want to win for the school, and we're behind them."
"They feel as if the world's against them, but now they realize that doesn't matter," Heath said. "They're the only ones that can change that, they're the only ones that have any impact on anything that can happen."
"Now, instead of just feeling sorry for themselves and just taking it, now they're starting to deal out some stuff, too, and handling business the way they can," the coach added.
The Southwest Raiders were also undefeated in district heading into Thursday night's game. The Raiders prevailed, beating the YMLA Wildcats 49-35.