For all the tortillas: Anderson, McCallum clash in 22nd annual Taco Shack Bowl


AUSTIN (KXAN) — McCallum head coach Tom Gammerdinger said the Taco Shack Bowl is not only a great rivalry, but it helps gives Austin ISD athletics a little bit of the spotlight to kick off the year.

The Knights and Anderson Trojans will rumble at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at House Park in the 22nd installment of the rivalry game, and Gammerdinger said it’s something his team looks forward to all summer.

“Austin ISD schools don’t always get the attention during the season, so it’s a great way to kick off the year and showcase Austin ISD athletics,” he said. “These kids have grown up playing each other in Pop Warner, so it’s a good rivalry that has gone back and forth throughout the years.”

Last year, however, things didn’t go the Knights’ way. The Trojans, led by senior quarterback Fred Dale, rolled up 42 unanswered points to clobber the rival Knights 49-3. It was Anderson’s 11th Taco Shack Bowl victory and the first under head coach Donald Hatcher. He’s back for a second year with the program and likened the rivalry to one played every year at the Cotton Bowl.

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“This is like the OU-Texas game,” he said. “There’s stuff going on all week, and that’s the first thing we talked about with the guys … there’s going to be a lot of distractions, but we’re on this field two hours a day and we’ve got to get our week in. As a high school football player, you only get four of these … so enjoy the moment and it’s something you’ll remember the rest of your life.”

Hatcher said this game can be a tone-setter for the rest of the season. After his team posted the largest margin of victory ever in the rivalry game last season, the Trojans beat Rouse to start the year 2-0, but razor-thin losses to Austin High and Bowie the next two weeks dropped them to 2-2. Anderson finished the season 4-6 and 2-6 in 6A-District 26 play.

McCallum, meanwhile, made the state playoffs at the 5A level last season with a 6-1 5A-District 12 record and 7-4 overall. The Knights fell in the bi-district game to Waco University 34-21.

Anderson junior receiver Ed Small, who is committed to the Texas Longhorns on the baseball diamond, reeled in 60 passes for 1,160 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. Small had four grabs for 73 yards and two TDs in last year’s Taco Shack Bowl, and he said it’s nice to have bragging rights “over those guys over there.”

“It’s been big ever since I was little,” Small said. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”

Since becoming the Taco Shack Bowl in 2002, Anderson’s win last year gave them the all-time series lead at 11-10. McCallum won 14-13 in 2021.


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