Nineteenth-year Carey High School football coach Lane Kirkland made this comments after Saturday’s tough overtime loss in the State 1A Division 2 championship game:
“I am so proud of these boys. People don’t realize just how much hard work it takes, and just how lucky you have to be to arrive healthy in this game. This is three years in a row in the final game. That tells me that our kids are tough country boys. We will miss our seniors, and recognize their dedication to the program.
“Without a doubt the two best teams in the state went at it. I thought our kids made some great plays on both sides of the ball to give us a chance on every series to win. Every play was exciting. We all stayed positive and united and have no regrets.
“I was impressed by how our kids handled this really tough loss. They knew they gave their all and can be proud of that. 34-2 the last three years is nothing short of amazing. They are already talking about next year. That’s exciting, comforting and very motivating.
A few effort errors hobbled us a bit in the second half, but didn’t phase our focus. A game’s outcome doesn’t really rest on one single play, as crazy as that may seem. It’s all of the little things throughout the game as well that contribute to the outcome one way or the other. We are a team, and we will live and die that way together.
“We are so grateful and thankful for such awesome support from this community. Our fans are the best ever and we appreciate them.”
Carey grid teams are 167-37 (.818 winning percentage) in Kirkland’s 19 seasons, and are 143-26 (.846) over the last 15-season stretch that includes five state eight-man championships, two runner-up trophies and four third-place results.