CARTHAGE, Texas (KETK) — Everyone’s goal at the beginning of the season is to make it to state, but for Carthage, it’s the standard.

Last week, they were trailing late in the game for the first time all year, and the Bulldogs knew they had to get the job done.

“We stayed consistent and did our plan and even if you mess up, you got to come back and bounce back and I think we did that pretty good,” says senior quarterback Connor Cuff.

“I think we were confident in ourselves and we knew that if we do things right then we have a good chance to win. We knew if we stay composed and do what we were supposed to do we can come out on top of the ball game,” adds senior receiver Noah Paddie.

“I felt great, I felt like the seniors, all we do is think about the seniors at this time because this is their last go around so just want to go do what I can for the seniors,” tells junior running back Larandion Dowden.

Well, the Dogs stayed the course under pressure and scored with 8 seconds left to beat Glen Rose. When the final buzzer sounded coach Scott Surratt says it was a weight lifted off his shoulders.

“It was just a relief really and here we go again and we’re excited about it and more excited than I ever been to go back because I know I might not have anymore,” smiles Head Coach Scott Surratt.

“It’s pretty to play my last game with my guys it’s a surreal moment, this is my third time going so it’s good to get back to where we belong,” says senior receiver Montrel Hatten.

“It was a great feeling, I was like we made it even though we kind of had a sloppy game but you know a win is a win,” adds Cuff.

The Carthage Bulldogs are heading to their 9th state title in 10 years.

Coach Surratt has built a dominant program in East Texas.

“We set a winning culture and our players believe in it and they believe in the process and the daily routine and winning the daily battles and that’s how we get it done,” explains Surratt.

“We practice every day together and you get to know your guys and put your heart on the line for them every night, Friday night,” adds Paddie.

Surratt is often referred to as the Nick Saban of East Texas, and players say it’s an honor to play for such a legendary coach.

“It’s been a great experience, he has taught me a lot about football that I will carry when I go to college. I mean he is the goat, the rings speak for themselves,” tells Hatten.

“It’s awesome man, he is very respected around here so just being around him every day is cool,” says Cuff.

As Carthage prepares for Friday the mindset is simple, stay locked in.

“We are going to give it all we got, we are going to give it heck and we are going to have great practices and try to have fun on the way doing it,” says Coach Surratt.

Because when it comes to Carthage football, state championships aren’t just the goal, they’re the standard.

Carthage will take on Wimberley for the 4A Division 2 state championship at 11:00 a.m. on Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

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