Gunter wins 3A(II) state championship in dominant fashion
ARLINGTON, Texas (KTEN) - "We Are The Champions" by Queen and "Congratulations" by Post Malone rang over the loud speakers at AT&T Stadium.
Last year, Gunter endured a fourth-quarter heartbreak, losing to Canadian in the state championship. However, they have used that game as motivation to get back to Arlington all year.
I traveled to Gunter on August 2, one of my first stops during fall camp previews. There Tigers head coach Jake Fieszel said this group had the potential to do something special, and it was going to start with the team's senior leadership.
That was on display all season long. As Gunter got contributions from a number of different seniors on both sides of the ball.
"Last year getting to the state championship, and then of course, Franklin getting the ring, there was definitely a hunger inside of them," said Fieszel. "I do believe every year is different and every season is different. I'm not a big believer in like revenge or anything like that but I do think there was a fire that was in their belly."
"All the hard work, early morning and late nights... it feels really great doing all that work and coming out on top," said Gunter senior running back Ethan Sloan.
While the Tigers pulled out some late game magic to come back and beat Canadian 21-20 in the state semifinals, there was no need for that Friday afternoon.
After both teams punted on their first drives, Gunter thoroughly controlled the 3A(II) state championship game from start to finish en route to a 42-7 victory over Poth.
The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, not allowing the Pirates to get in any kind of rhythm. On offense, Gunter running back Ashton Bennett won offensive MVP of the game after scoring two touchdowns on the ground, but his praise went to the big guys up front.
"I think the biggest thing was the o-line getting after it today," said Bennett. "They were playing really hard and it was pretty easy, just run right behind them."
It can be hard to take a look, reflect and appreciate the present. That statement is especially true when most people in sports, whether that be fans, coaches or media members love to look at what comes next.
However, Gunter is assembling a modern day Texas high school football dynasty. The Tigers have now made it to at least the state semifinals in the last seven years, with five trips to Jerry World and three gold balls to show for it.
That is quite the impressive run.