By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Eurie Pless is going home — back to Huntsville, Ala., and its southern hospitality and home cooking.
He's going to visit old friends and old coaches.
And play against them in the Semipro BCS National Championship.
"They called me saying, 'Eurie, we're going to get you. We're going to get you, Eurie. We're going to bust you up.' I feel like I'm back in high school, on the phone," Pless said. "I told them, 'It's different now. We're grown men, it's going to hurt a little worse.'"
Pless leads the Killeen Revolution, a local semi-professional football team, to his hometown for the Aug. 4 national championship game against the top-ranked Hunstville Rockets.
"We know what's at stake, here," Revolution coach Bill Clark said. "It's not just for the team. It's for Killeen, it's for Texas. We're representing Texas.
"We won the division — 10-0 for the season ... won the conference championship, won the league championship and now here we get the chance to win a BCS national championship. To do that as a second-year team, I'm so happy."
In just their second year, the third-ranked Revolution won the South Texas Amateur Football League title two weeks ago and are 13-0 going into the national title game. The Rockets are in their first year and are also 13-0 after winning the National Developmental Football League.
The Rockets are also coached by Pless' freshman team coach Greg Campbell.
"He told me when he put me at defensive end, 'This spot is special for you.' It's kind of funny that I'm going to be playing D-end against him," Pless said.
Pless moved with his father from Alabama to Killeen before his senior year. He was a one-time all-district linebacker and honorable mention basketball player at Shoemaker and played two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before returning to Killeen.
"Huntsville is nothing but southern hospitality — family, friends, fun-loving and can't forget the (U.S.) Space and Rocket Center," Pless said. "Alabama is home. Ain't no place like home. I'm comfortable there. But, I'm comfortable in Killeen, Texas. This is my home, this is where my family is."
He tried out to play Canadian football and attended an NFL combine in Indianapolis and nothing worked out.
The drive was still there, though. And the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder with 4.5-second speed can still play.
"It means a lot to us," Pless said. "A lot of people thought we couldn't do it. A lot of people think, 'They're just playing around, playing flag-football.' Now that we're winning and we brought a championship home, now we got eyebrows flaring, like, 'Wow, this team is for real.'"
Led by 239 rushing yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns from former Mary Hardin-Baylor tailback Jarvis Thrasher, the Revolution beat Uvalde 21-14 in the Texas Pride Championship Game to reach the title game on Aug. 4 at Sparkman High School in Harvest, Ala., a field Pless remembers playing on.
"It's going to be very emotional for me and it's going to be hard to hold tears back, being back on that field and having family and friends watching me play football that I thought would never get to see me play football except in high school," Pless said. "They're coming back to see me play again in the semi-pro national championship and that's a blessing."
The Revolution will be holding a number of fund-raisers over the next couple of weeks to raise money for their trip to Alabama.
On July 23, Buffalo Wild Wings will donate a percentage of its total sales that day toward the Revolution's cause. On July 28, the team will sell barbecue chicken plates for $8 that include grilled chicken, potato salad, green beans, a roll and a drink. Tickets can be purchased from players or coaches. For more information, contact coach Clark at (580) 917-2857.