(KLTV) - After three straight years of coming within inches of a state title, the Kilgore Bulldogs finally clinched the Class 4A State Championship.
"It means everything, it's amazing. Finally, we don't have another bronze medal we have a gold medal," said David Garcia, senior captain that broke his leg in the state semifinal game against Houston Washington.
It took the Bulldogs over 100 minutes of play, two blocked penalty kicks by goalie Kaleb Jett, and one final shot by Raul Cedillo to take down the Bridgeport Bulls.
"You know Raul put it in and there you go we got to celebrate. It's super exciting for all of them and me. We've been working for this for a long time and it finally came to fruition. We finally got it," said Austin Walker, Kilgore boys soccer head coach.
Returning to East Texas late Friday night, the Bulldogs got to celebrate some more with the community, families, and of course, teammates who have supported them the entire ride.
"My brother was the first group to go to the state finals in 2011, he was a junior. So me coming in as a junior and winning it is a big deal for me and him," said Kaleb Jett, Bulldogs goalie, and Class 4A State Most Valuable Player.
"If it wasn't for a lot of them, I really don't know how my performance would have been. Who knows if I would have been right here. I really appreciate those boys and everything they've done for me to get me to where I am," said Wanya McIntyre, freshman Bulldog who scored the first goal in the state final.
Whenever a team accomplishes such a feat we always ask what made this year the year. For the Bulldogs that answer is as clear as a jersey on a hanger.
Dedicating their season to fellow Lady Bulldog soccer player Sam Watkins, who passed away in December after suffering a seizure, and then senior captain David Garcia when he broke his leg in the state semifinal; it's obvious that this year they were never in it for themselves but for one another.
"This season we've gone throw a lot together. But I fill like everything that we've gone through has actually made us come closer as a team. We all pick each other up and we're like come on we can say we can do this," said Yonatan Contreras, senior Bulldog.
"We are doing this for Sam, we are doing this for our brother David, and we just went out there a showed what Kilgore was all about."