“I couldn’t ask for a better four or five years than we’ve had,” Webb said. “I couldn’t ask for a better position to be in in my life right now. We all came up together and we bought in to the program and listened to coach Gotte. I give the coaches a lot of credit, they pushed us during offseason and make us better.
The moment was never too big for Paetow on Friday.
Whether it was facing an early punch in the mouth from College Station, whether it was needing a stop with time running down in the first half, whether it was having their backs against the wall and needing a fourth-and-one conversion in overtime, the Panthers never flinched.
Paetow was ready for the moment.
“It’s completely a credit to coach (B.J.) Gotte,” said senior safety Kentrell Webb. “After practice we do this thing called situational and we change things up to where it’s overtime. It puts us through this exact scenario and it clearly paid off today. He put us in a situation to score and we already had the experience doing this in practice to do so.”
In five short years since starting the Paetow program, head coach B.J. Gotte has turned the Panthers into state champions, a testament to the culture he and the Paetow coaching staff have instilled in a young program.
It wasn’t a dream for these players to get to a state championship, it was a goal, and their confidence comes from the top down, with a coach that has gotten his program ready for the biggest moment.
“People from the jump, were like why would you want to go there, it’s a new school, you won’t win,” Gotte said. “I told these kids from the beginning, we are going to compete to win. Our standard is excellence and excellence starts with what you do every single day. They bought into that and worked hard, and they stuck with each other. For us to be able to call these guys champions now is really cool.”
Gotte turning the program into winners has fueled his players, there was one word said more than any other in Friday’s press conference with the players and coaches and that was confidence.
Each and every player and coach was confident the entire game, as they have been all season, because they know they can trust what is coming from the top.
“He gives all of us confidence,” Webb said. “Coach put the defense out first, that gives us confidence that he has that trust in us, he’s confident in us. We were confident in ourselves because of that. I think we’re the best defense in Texas. We’re confident in ourselves and I can’t really say anything else other than that. The offense is confident In us and we’re confident in the offense. We knew as soon as we held them to a field goal in overtime we were going to win.”
Paetow may be making the jump to 6A next year, but the program shows no signs of slowing down under Gotte’s steady leadership and the culture he has established.
“These guys just care for each other, they really do,” Gotte said. “They’re a family, and families have ups and they have downs and we’ve had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, they come together and stand behind one another. That’s what I’m most proud of them for. It’s not all roses and rainbows, but a family sticks together. No matter what comes along, no matter what people say or do, we have each other’s backs.”
The seniors who joined Gotte’s program five years ago may not have known what they were getting into, but if you ask any of them now, I would bet they’d tell you that Gotte made them into a better player and person.
“I couldn’t ask for a better four or five years than we’ve had,” Webb said. “I couldn’t ask for a better position to be in in my life right now. We all came up together and we bought in to the program and listened to coach Gotte. I give the coaches a lot of credit, they pushed us during offseason and make us better. Everything is not the best, we’re not the perfect team, but we come out here and love each other and are just a big family.”
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