TIOGA, TX -- The Tioga Bulldog football program would resurrect in 2012 after more than a half century. Only nine players, all freshmen or younger, would take the field many of which had never played a down of football.
"Honestly when we first started out the program I thought, 'Wow, this needs a lot of work, I don't know if we're going to be able to do it," senior quarterback and defensive lineman Isaac Sloane said.
Last season all of those freshmen would be juniors and the Bulldogs would play their first season in Texas' University Interscholastic League. The end result would be a trip to the postseason.
"They didn't come out with big heads, they just kind of did what we told them to, worked every week to get better and end up getting into the playoffs and I was very proud of them," head coach Cody Patton said.
"I'm excited. I mean it's not just us the players, it's the whole town. We've got them backing us up, they're all spiritual. I mean we have at least the whole city here at our games cheering us on. I mean, it's just, it's great," senior running back Micah Villa added.
These seniors say they are already better in their first week of practice then they were at any point last season. That's something Patton has noticed as well.
"When I got here in the spring of their freshman year just watching them over those years grow and mature and, like I said, it's, they've turned into really good young men that are just hard workers," he said.
Now as they look for the team's first deep playoff run the Class of 2016 says their hard work is fulfilling.
"Whenever I come back in 20 years and watch a football game I want to make sure that they know we started this and that we started a winning tradition. Got to be a good citizen outside of school and a good player on the field," Sloane concluded.