TATUM, Texas (KETK) – Before the bags were loaded up, and the fans filled the sidewalk, the Tatum Eagles spent some time on the court, together, shooting buckets, and getting ready to make history.
Carrying on the legacy of teams from the past, while looking ahead to build their own, as they prepared to win the program’s first-ever state title.
“Big day man, we’re trying to win the state game, the teams before us tried to do it, but we could be the first to do it,” said power forward Jayden Boyd.
“We watched two of those state championships being played (2011 and 2014) and seen them come up slightly short and it’s been in our hearts this whole time that we needed to go and make it up for them,” said guard Kendric Malone.
Any journey to this point in the postseason is rigorous, but in the past two contests, the Eagles had to face the number-one and number-two teams in Texas and were able to come out on top each time.
“You keep believing in what we’re doing, you keep fighting, you never quit and, I mean, I guess that’s what I believe it’s all about, so I think the kids believe,” said head coach Brett Carr.
At every step of the journey, they’ve had a sea of green, making noise in the stands.
“They want this as bad as we want it, they have the same heart same mentality that we have to go out there and win,” said Malone.
“That’s Tatum, that’s Tatum, America right there, and this is a special place and always makes your kids feel good about what they’re doing,” said Carr.
Before the bus left, the team took one more walk together on campus, then loaded back up, and hit the road for their fourth title game appearance, all of them under Coach Carr.
“This ride is special, last year we tried to do it, came up short, freshman we tried to do it, came up short in the regional tournament, now it’s our year,” said Boyd.
Tatum will face San Antonio Cole at 2:00 p.m. on Friday in the Alamodome for the 3A boys state championship.