Union Grove ends 45 year playoff drought - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Union Grove ends 45 year playoff drought

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Glyn Johnston never misses a Union Grove home game.  He has a permanent home on the Lions home field, Glyn Johnston Stadium.

Johnston led the Lions to the playoffs in 1968. The Lions haven't been back to the postseason since.

"I never imagined it would take 45 years for a team to get there," said Johnston.

Johnston was happy to be in the stands Friday night when Union Grove beat Winona, clinching a playoff spot in the 2A playoffs.

"It was the most exciting thing of my life," said Union Grove receiver Kyle Cotten.

It was an emotional night for the entire community.

"There were a bunch of people tearing up because none of us have ever experienced this," said Union Grove running back Garrett Gibson.  "It was probably the best feeling of our lives."

Head coach Rogers Adams needed a day to digest what his team has accomplished.

"Saturday afternoon it really hit me.," Adams said.  "I was there by myself and kind of broke down, They were definitely tears of joy."

For the first time since 1968, practice will continue after the final game of the regular season.

"It really is amazing," said Union Grove quarterback Tristen Thompson.  "That's a long time. My mom was seven years old."

Thompson says ending such a long playoff drought was hard to believe in.

"It got tough sometimes because people gave up. People around school saying we were never going to make it so why even try. But this group right here stuck to it and proved we could make it."

These Lions promise there will never be another 45 year playoff drought.

"We're trying to build a program here like you see every where else," said Gibson.  "Show we're not Union Grove that people laugh at and are excited to play because they think they're going to win. We're looking to show that we're turning things around and we're a pretty good team."

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