CENTER, TX (KTRE) - The Roughriders have given Center a reason to be excited about football again.
First-year head coach Barry Bowman has outdone himself in turning over the Roughriders program and has lead his team to its first district title since 1995. Winning district for the first time in 20 years has given Center the juice they needed entering to postseason.
"It's something I've always dreamed about since I was little watching this football team. To be on the team and get the success is unreal. It's awesome," said senior offensive linemen Daniel Stanford.
Bowman has been in the coaching game for 27 years now with nine as a head coach. He's been able to turn around a program that didn't win a single district game last year into district champions this year.
Instead of reaping in the recognition, he's deflected the success towards the kids.
"There needed to be some changes made within what was going on but at the same time the kids were hungry. The kids wanted to be coached, they wanted to be held accountable on a day-to-day basis and they wanted us to raise their expectations," said Bowman. "That's what we did and they've done an awesome job as to meeting those expectations. I'm really proud of the kids."
"Coach Bowman hasn't let us be lazy. He's worked us more than you can imagine," said Stanford. "You can't walk anywhere which is a good thing. He's always telling us to go hard every single play. He's brought work ethic here."
With a complete new staff by Bowman's side, the kids had to reacquaint themselves with some new faces and ultimately new schemes to the game.
"I'm really proud because we just changed our attitudes and stepped on it," said offensive linemen Angel Rivera.
Now this team enters unfamiliar territory- playoffs. A place no athlete on the roster has ever been.
However, the Roughriders know they're not in it alone as their new leaders have been there and done that.
"Our coaches know what they're doing. We just have to follow them and take their lead and everything will go well," said Stanford. "I know all these guys here. I know what kind of work they put in. If we can go hard every play, and if we put in our best, nobody can stand up to us."
The Roughriders first pit-stop in the playoffs will be against Rains who finished their district campaign 2-3. These two will brawl at Longview Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m.