KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - The Kilgore Bulldogs were the recipients of a big time send off for this big-time business state trip, that, of course, being the state championship. Something that hasn’t happened since 1972.
The team getting love from their fans, as the Dogs walked proudly between them. Police lights and signs greeted them as they made their way to the bus. In the crowd, Dale Hedrick who played on that last team to reach state during the disco era.
“I’ve been waiting 47 years for this moment right here. I know exactly how these kids feel, I think they’re going to do good down there in Austin,” Hedrick said. “We have a good shot this year, these boy play like a team it really reminds me of the 71-72 years. It really does.”
On that team. he played as part of a set of triplets. He has a distant cousin on that team right now. They'd lose the state title game to Taylor. The history of the past is not lost on the team or their parents
“These boys have been planning ahead,” said proud parent Jason Lopez. “What's ironic is a lot of the team members from 1972 actually came to I believe the Oil Belt tournament and they took a picture together and we hadn't done that in a long time. So not only they come together this year to support these boys, these boys are gonna go back and represent them from 1972.”
At their final workout on Monday, the Bulldogs were all business-like. Coach Eugene Lafitte recognizes how hard it is to return to state. Bulldogs trip was shortened last season.
“Oh, it’s very tough. I mean you know last year we get all the way to regional finals and lose to a very very good Argyle team which won it, won the whole thing,” Lafitte said. “It’s hard in today’s time where kids want things now. And sometimes aren’t willing to put in the work and effort to get to this point and that says something about our kids and the type of work ethic our kids have here at Kilgore.”
“We have that Bulldog in us, we don't give up no matter what's going on. Brotherhood, we always got each other's back,” said Bulldogs player Khalon Clayton.
Kilgore will play Sweeney in just their fourth overall appearance to state. A trip they’re going to never forget.