Cliff Watkins, the head football coach at Glen Rose High School, put himself in Tarleton State University’s record books in multiple categories when he was playing quarterback for the Texans.
One of his school records was surpassed by current TSU standout quarterback Ben Holmes during last Saturday’s 41-24 Lone Star Conference victory at Western New Mexico. The first of Holmes’ four scoring passes in that game gave him the school’s record for touchdowns thrown in a single season.
Entering that game, Holmes was tied with Watkins’ mark of 29, which he set in 2003 during his senior year at TSU.
“That’s a cool deal for him and their team,” said Watkins, who was preparing his GRHS Tigers for their area-round Class 4A Division II playoff game this week against Pecos. “Records are made to be broken.”
When asked if hearing about the new record brought back memories of his own playing days, Watkins said, “It does. It’s fun to think back. All those guys (former teammates) are good friends now. It’s fun to talk about it and relive it.”
The GRHS Tigers have had four strong playoff seasons since Watkins was hired for that job.
As a high school quarterback for Breckenridge, Watkins was voted as the state’s Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. He played for the University of Arizona in 2001. After being limited to 10 pass attempts in five games played there, he returned to Texas to enroll at TSU, and joined the football squad.
Watkins still holds the TSU record for passing yards in a season (3,547 in 2003) and pass attempts in a single season (437, 2003).
He is second all-time in pass completions in a season (265, 2003) and average yards passing per game (295.6, 2003).
Watkins said he attends some of Tarleton’s home games, when he has the time.
“I saw their last home game (a 66-7 win over LSC rival Midwestern State on Nov. 2) and saw a couple of buddies I played with,” Watkins said. “It’s a fun group to watch, and they have an explosive offense.”
And what does it mean for him to see the Texans win a national championship?
“That’d be awesome,” he said. “I hope they have a chance to play for it all this year.”