CARTHAGE, Texas (KTRE) - The Carthage Bulldogs left East Texas Thursday afternoon for Arlington. They will play in the 4A DI State Championship on Friday morning at 11 a.m. against Waco Le Vega.
The Bulldogs are 15-0 on the season. Their season could have taken a drastic turn on October 11.
Just five days earlier assistant coach Dennis McLaughlin died Monday after a four-month battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The relationship between Carthage Head Coach Scott Surratt and McLaughlin goes back decades.
“He was my coach when I played at Linden-Kildare,” Surratt said. “We played golf together and went on retreats. He was my offensive coordinator. He was my eye in the sky up in the press box. He always give me good plays. Better then a coach, he was a great man. He made a big difference in my life.”
The seniors on the team were able to spend time with Coach Mac since they were freshman and new to the high school.
“We think about coach Mac everyday,” Ja’Von King said. “We think about Coach Mac. He was the head coach of freshman football. We are getting this win for him.”
The team took it hard but decided to dedicate the rest of the season to Coach Mac. Since then they have won 10-straight games. An 11th win would give them the school’s seventh state title.
“Man it was hard,” Kelvontay Dixon said. “Most of us broke down but after we played the Van game we decided to come together and do it for him.”
Surratt knows there is pressure on his team to win. He said Mac would have been the calming force in the locker room as the team prepared to head out the tunnel.
“He would have said, ‘Go out there and win it,’” Surratt said. “He was so positive. It didn’t matter if it was a good practice or a bad practice. It didn’t matter if it was a good game or a bad game. Coach Mac knew we were going to have a good one the next day. He was just a motivator.”