PRICE, Texas (KETK) — Motivation can be found in different places, and for the 2022 Carlisle Indians, it started with an early exit in last year’s playoffs and turned into a district championship and a trip to the third round this year.

“They had big expectations for this year, so they have definitely stepped up to that, and we’re proud of the work the guys have put in,” said head coach Clay Baker.

It also helps to have one of the most explosive offenses left in the playoffs, led by dual-threat quarterback Fernando Espinoza.

“It’s a blast calling plays when you’ve got guys like that, they make you look good as a play-caller sometimes when it’s not necessary the play that was drawn up that would have made it successful, it’s just a guy going out and making a play,” said Baker.

“I come out here every day, just talk to my guys every day, just keeping their head up, telling them it’s going to be alright,” said Espinoza.

Senior linebacker Alan Rocha’s battle for most of this season was to get back on the field after suffering a devastating injury in the 4th game of the year.

“I hyperextended my elbow, and I tore almost every ligament in my elbow, and they told me I wasn’t going to be back, but I ended up coming back,” said Rocha.

Now the Tribe turns their attention to their biggest test so far, a third-round showdown with unbeaten Lovelady, who have shut out both of their postseason opponents.

“When you get to this point, everybody you see is a good team, it’s more about taking care of yourself, making sure we eliminate any mistakes we had last week on either side of the ball and making sure we are playing our best ball this time of year,” said Baker.

The Indians know what lies ahead this Friday night, another obstacle, but as we’ve seen this season, they won’t be lacking when it comes to motivation.

Carlisle and Lovelady will square off Friday night at 7:00 at Westwood Panther Stadium in Palestine.

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