Alto still alive, not afraid of the underdog roll

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - For the ninth time in their history the Alto Yellowjackets have made it into the state quarterfinals for the UIL football playoffs. Standing in their way of a chance at the final four, are the storied Mart Panthers. Both teams have a long history of winning, and that makes for a big match up on Friday night.

"Well it's going to be exciting, you have two good football teams going at it," said Alto head coach Keith Gardner. "We have to make sure that we are prepared and ready to play. It is a lot of fun to be able to play in December it is quite an honor, so we are excited."

The Jackets are in unfamiliar territory as they will actually be the underdog against the Panthers on Friday. But that doesn't stop this team from having a ton of confidence.

"We are never intimidated by anyone," said senior wide receiver Joe Cruz. "It should be fun, that is what playoff football is all about. Fourth round, both teams with traditions, so it should be a good one."

The Yellowjackets are a 24-point underdog, but coach Gardner isn't worried.

"It is zero-zero right now, when the ball is kicked off the kids are going to determined the football game," said Gardner. "They understand that, it doesn't matter how many point underdog you are have to go out and play."

Pardon the pun, but the town of Alto is buzzing over their Jackets. That energy has become obvious to those in and around the team.

It has been real fun and to be honest this week it has kind of gotten into a fever pitch with the quarterfinal game coming up," said Alto radio broadcaster Lee Pearman. "Everybody in town that you talk to is going to Athens Friday night."

The players are feeling the support as well.

"It has been a lot of fun around town in the playoffs," said senior linebacker Mike Taylor. "A lot of people coming up to us, you go to the stores and everyone is saying go yellowjackets and all for us, so it is good."

Alto is 1-2 all time against Mart, with the last meeting ending in a 27-20 loss in the quarterfinals of the 2008 playoffs. They will look to even the score Friday night at 7:30 from Athens. We will have the highlights and update the score on KTRE and

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.