Seniors leave lasting legacy on Paetow program

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 12/18/21

“These seniors who started with us in eighth grade, I’m just so happy for them,” said Paetow head coach BJ Gotte. “The school was brand new when they joined us, but they worked as hard as they could and bought into what we did. To see them finish their careers as champions is really cool.”

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Seniors leave lasting legacy on Paetow program

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ARLINGTON – Paetow’s senior class has been on a mission to win a state championship since they were in middle school.

The Panthers seniors joined the program when they were eighth grade, with a school that hadn’t opened yet and they engrained themselves for five years in a journey to make it all worth it.

That moment that made it worth it came on Friday, when Paetow lifted its first ever state championship trophy after a thrilling 27-24 overtime win over College Station in the Class 5A-Division I state final at AT&T Stadium.

“These seniors who started with us in eighth grade, I’m just so happy for them,” said Paetow head coach BJ Gotte. “The school was brand new when they joined us, but they worked as hard as they could and bought into what we did. To see them finish their careers as champions is really cool.”

The Panthers state championship meant even more to the seniors because of what happened a year ago to the day of the state championship game.

On December 17, 2020, the Panthers were told that their season was over because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the high school. On December 17, 2021, the Panthers won a state championship.

Paetow’s seniors were playing to leave a legacy for themselves and the senior class that came before them.

“Today is the day that our season last year, so history repeats itself,” said senior quarterback CJ Dumas. “Today we’re here as state champions. Those guys last year they’ve supported us from the beginning. They showed up to practices and they showed up to games cheering us on and kept in contact. It’s the love and support from the community that kept us going. It pushed us, anyone could have been defeated after the way last season ended, but we took it as an opportunity. We capitalized on the number of guys we were bringing back and we were strong and confident all year.”

Paetow was poised no matter the situation on Friday, no matter if it was an early touchdown or after the game went into overtime, and Gotte credited that to the leadership that came from this year’s senior class.

There was never a doubt in any persons mind on the Paetow sideline what the outcome of the game would be.

Paetow was ready for the moment. And because of that, the underclassman will be ready for the moment in the future.

“It completely comes from senior leadership,” Gotte said. “These kids, they feed off each other and we’ve talked to them from the very beginning about doing your best every day. We’ve talked about these type of moments. I talked to a couple of the guys in here when we played Hightower the first time about how you have to earn the right to play in big games. We did that and these guys knew, you don’t have to change what you do to play championship football. If you have to change that you haven’t been doing your best from the jump, and they’ve always done their best whether it was in August or December. Every day they came out and gave their absolute best and trained to be a champion. They have confidence in each other, we had already prepared for this and that’s why you got the result you got tonight.”

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