LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — The Longview Christian Heritage football program started in 2016, and head coach Griff Mauldin says there was plenty of adversity early on.

“Guys that are seniors now were freshmen we struggled, we were trying to figure some things out and those guys stuck with the process and they put in the work in the offseason, and over time we got better physically,” explains Mauldin.

“It’s crazy from freshmen year to now is unbelievable, I remember freshmen year we didn’t even know if we could go out there and win,” adds senior center Nate Long.

Fast forward to 2022 and the Sentinels are playing for a state championship.

“I mean it’s kind of crazy, I don’t know what to say but it definitely feels good because we put in a lot of hard work in this season to be able to get to this point,” tells senior defensive back, Ryan Horn.

“I’m way more excited for what it means for these guys, these players, and again for our community. It’s something that we will never forget,” declares Mauldin.

This year Christian Heritage lost two games early but then went on a 10-game winning streak to push them to the big dance.

“It would have been easy to hang their heads after those first couple of tough losses but they’ve developed some toughness and just a no-quit mentality and all of that kind of stacked on top of each other and here we are,” says Mauldin.

“No matter what if you look to the person next to you, they are going to fight for you and at the end of the day they are going to do whatever it takes to win,” declares Horn.

“We never quit and that was the best part about it and we just lost and we never put our heads down, we kept fighting and we knew what we wanted and here we are,” smiles Long.

As the Sentinels prepare for the state championship game on Thursday morning, the seniors are grateful for their community support throughout the season.

“No matter where we’ve gone this year we’ve always had more fans than the other team, and it didn’t matter if it was 3 hours away or right down the road, we always had more fans, and it’s just a great help,” declares Long.

“Our school community as a whole has just been super supportive whether its home games or away games, I know they are going to show up in Waco on Thursday,” exclaims Mauldin.

Longview Christian Heritage looks to continue its historic run by bringing home a state championship.

The Sentinels will take on Bracken Christian at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday at Waco ISD Stadium for the TAPPS Division III six man state championship.

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