Tioga makes historic run to state semi-finals

It was the kick not only heard around Patriot Stadium in Pattonville last Friday night, but all across Tioga.

"On that field I was pretty nervous," said Tioga running back Cade Kimbrell. "I was holding it. I was like come on please go through. Right as soon as it was off his foot I knew it was in."

After jumping out 32-8 lead against unbeaten Gilmer Union Hill, the team that beat Tioga in the same state quarterfinal, on the same field a year ago, that kick gave Tioga the 44 to 40 win, and a spot in the state semifinals for the first time in school history.

"Every year just progressing more and more since my freshman year," said Kimbrell. "Being able to be on each team and set new record every year has been really cool."

"It's those games that you really have to go far, that you really have to dig deep in," said Tioga wide receiver Josiah DeLeon. "It's those game that get you all the way to state. It's those games that prepare you when you don't have another game to look forward to."

"These kids for the last two weeks have just basically been the guys to say, 'hey, you know what? We want it worse than the other team and we're going to go do it and that's what they're doing," said Tioga head coach Cody Patton. "I'm so proud of them."

The Bulldogs want to rewrite the school record books once again. This week, Tioga faces last year's state runner-up Jonesboro on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Springtown's Porcupine Stadium. The winner advances to the State Championship Game.

"That would mean the world," said Kimbrell. "It's something that I've always dreamed about every since I was a little kid. Watching my brothers go to state. It would be a cool accomplishment."

"That would be awesome," said DeLeon. "That would be history. We've already made history but getting to that point there's nothing sweeter."

"So to be in that situation that we are now in the final four and possible get there is just something that words can't explain." said Patton. "It would be so exciting for Tioga, our community, and our players because they've worked so hard."