Emotions run high for Lufkin soccer's first trip to the State Tournament: 'It's history in the making'

Emotions run high for Lufkin soccer's first trip to the State Tournament: 'It's history in the making'

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - All the pieces seem to be falling into place for Lufkin's hopeful fairytale ending.

"Right now, it's history in the making," said senior goalkeeper Terry Mark.

History started 24 consecutive wins ago, and has continued through a roller coaster of the playoff run where the Pack have seen everything. Lufkin has gone through overtimes, penalty kicks, and more wins in order to pave their way to state.

"I still can't believe it," said junior defender Kacy Bennett. "Just the word "state" and coming this far, having a go all the way, it's crazy."

"The teams we've come through the past couple of weeks, were very, very good. I think we've seen as good as we're going to see even though we're in the final four," said head coach Russell Shaw.

What turned out to be perfect timing was Terry Mark. The wide receiver standout who is known for his hands on the football field, decided to switch out his gloves and try a different type of fútbol for the first time, at the right time. Now, he has a chance of getting a state ring.

"Out of all my years of being in high school I thought it was going to be football and here I am. The team has done a great job, and me being a supporter and doing my part as a team player to help get this team where we needed to be has been a great journey and I'm loving every moment," said Mark.

It's easy to love every moment with a group of guys who said their team chemistry is strongest part about their squad.

"We all grew up together. A lot of these friends, I went to elementary and middle school with. We've always played soccer," said senior midfielder Rodrigo Vargas.

"We don't really think of it as a team anymore, it's more of a family," said Bennett.

They're not only playing for their family, but for their loyal coach. Shaw has stood beside his Panthers for years all in hopes to have a shot at what can be a once in a lifetime experience, a chance at the state title.

"I've stood there at the state tournament almost every year for the last 29 and always hoped to be on the inside of the fence," said Shaw. "I asked these guys, 'We're right on the edge, you got to get me there,' and they did. We work hard, you throw in some talent along with that, and they believe."

"We made it to state. That was always the goal and we accomplished that, and now we just got to go and get it all," said Vargas.

The Pack said their fans have been loyal, and they're already expecting at least four buses to make their way to Georgetown this Thursday. That's when they'll play Tomball Memorial at 5 p.m.

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