LITTLEFIELD, Tex.- Head coach Jimmy Thomas had just wrapped up his second season as head coach for the Littlefield Wildcats in 2022. The team had their first non-losing season since 2016, and were looking to build on that success heading into 2023.

But less than a month after the season ended, tragedy hit the program.

Coach Thomas passed away November 21, 2022, after a battle with a “brief illness”.

“Coach Thomas had only been here two years, but he was one of those guys with a great personality that everybody felt they knew him well and were friends with him,” said current Littlefield head football coach Bo Bryant.

“Everyone was just shocked, didn’t know what to think because it happened so quick,” said senior offensive and defensive lineman Brendon Bowman.

“Everybody had that look in their eyes, we were all feeling down. We all had to realize right then and there we had to come closer as a team,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Omar Martinez.

After an offseason of coming together following the loss of their coach, Littlefield was picked to finish second-to-last in their district by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football entering 2023, something the team took exception to.

“We were overlooked, and its time to show the whole state what we’re made of,” said Martinez.

This led to win, after win, after win, and at one point even catapulted Littlefield to a top ten ranking in the Dave Campbell’s 3A DII polls.

“These kids are resilient, they just show up and work their tails off every day,” said Bryant.

With just one game left and a shot at the playoffs on the line, the spirit of Coach Thomas is alive and well with this team.

“He’s looking down on us right now, and he would just be smiling at us saying ‘atta boy’,” said Martinez.

If Littlefield beats Roosevelt Thursday night, they will earn second place in their district heading into the postseason.