MIDLAND -- It's deja vu for the Midland Christian Mustangs. The team is headed to Waco to play for their second straight TAPPS Division II State Title.
"We had the goal," said Head Coach Greg McClendon. "We know what we wanted to do but it's been a lot of work day after day of just trying to get better and all of a sudden we look up and we're back at the championship game."
"Last year we were pretty nervous going in there because we had never been there before," said quarterback Mason McClendon. "This year, we're ready. It's a challenge each day. It's a grind but we're having fun right now and ready to go."
But it's been a little tougher to get to this point this year. Midway through the season, superstar running back Christian Whigham was lost for the season after injuring his knee.
"It definitely was hard being a senior and being out but it's not something I can't dwell on," said Whigham. "It's not something to just sit there and hate and not come out here. I had to be a leader and help guys out. That's what I had to do. I had to step up and come out here and do my part as much as I could."
"He's really stepped up and talked to me about it," said running back Justin Fender, "and the whole o-line has stepped up their entire game and have done really great blocking."
"We had to play harder, block better but as the weeks went by Justin Fender, Jade Tamplin and Zach Bates, all them have stepped in there and filled that gap great, said center Caleb Thomas. "They're playing awesome right now"
Even with Whigham out, the offense can still put up the points, but it's the defense that has really made an impact late in the season.
"Defensively, it's been a challenge this year due to the loss of our seniors last year," said Cornerback Jarrod Koym. "But I know the ones this year have stepped it up a lot. We went out and listened to our coaches and did exactly what they said."
"The old saying defense wins championships holds true again," said Coach McClendon, "and I couldn't be prouder of the hard work of the coaches and players has been paying of. Man, the way they've been playing has been smothering, aggressive, phenominal defense, as good as we've ever played."
And they'll need every bit of that if they are going to hang another banner.
The Mustangs will face Houston Northland Christian (12-0) this Saturday at 11am at Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.