Solomon: Paetow has just started

The signage around the sports facilities at Paetow High School includes typical motivational sayings.

While it sounds good on a wall, the saying rings true when youngsters who have been told their entire high school football career ends the season dancing around AT&T Stadium in Arlington with a State Championship trophy. .

That’s what the Panthers were able to do a week ago, when they won the Class 5A Division I championship in just the fourth year of varsity play for the school.

As a district comrade with national and state power Katy High School, a standard-bearer for the past 2½ decades, Paetow is an impressive startup.

While the Paetow building is immaculate the paint on the walls is still fresh and the plates in the weight room are in superb condition, you can smell the sweat and smell the work that has gone into building a championship program. .

A daily that deserved a deserved reward. Particularly a year after their season ended not in loss but in a playoff forfeit due to COVID issues.

“We operate by ‘standard is excellence’,” said junior linebacker Alex Kilgore. “We know not everyone is perfect, not everyone is excellent. But you can still work on it.

“And if you try to work in that direction, then you can contribute to the outcome in your favor.”

Kilgore was certainly working on it when he was all over the pitch, chasing runners through the Panthers’ 15-1 run to the championship, but Paetow coach BJ Gotte said it was the job. daily life of his players which had resulted in their ultimate victory.

This is not a team loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits. It’s a very good football team with very good footballers who strive for excellence.

“Do your best every day – that’s kind of our mantra,” Gotte said. “We have goals and we refer to our long term goals, but we focus on the day and we talk to the kids about, if you are doing your best every day and have a championship mindset every day. day, things around the stage may change, but not the game.

“And that’s kind of what you hear players talking about when we’re having a great time.”

Great moments such as the thin line between win and loss, facing a fourth and a 1 in overtime in the state title game against College Station, Gotte avoided the tying placement and chose to trust his offensive line and his quarterback CJ Dumas deliver.

Well of course he did, considering Gotte was a star offensive lineman at Katy and an All-American at Texas Lutheran.

Dumas recovered on the first down, then confidently handed the ball to Jacob Brown who burst in for the winning touchdown.

“I knew every time we got close to the goal line Jacob was going to hit. We just had to give him that opportunity,” said Dumas.

A few days later, Dumas and Brown were walking around the Paetow campus, excited but not surprised.

Brown, a senior who plans to major in business at college, describes the eighth-grader he was when he arrived on the connected college campus as unruly and childish.

The deep bass voice was going to come naturally. The discipline, he said, was taught by Gotte.

“He showed us the way, mostly he showed me the way and showed that if you stay disciplined you stay focused, here’s what you can do,” said Brown, who rushed for 348 yards and five touchdowns in a quarterfinal victory over Hightower. .

Like most great coaches, Gotte shifts the praise in his direction. But he played on big teams in Katy under Mike Johnston and then coached state title winning teams under Gary Joseph.

When he took on the job at Paetow, he knew what it took to build a winning tradition.

The writings on the wall could have been painted by anyone. Clearly, Gotte understood how to bring words to life.

“The standard is excellence” is not only used by sports teams. A myriad of businesses and groups – from medical facilities and restaurants to nonprofits and even a USS warship – make this a working theme.

The implementation of the words, the children’s belief in them, is what sets this football program apart. Oh yeah, they’re talented too.

Defensive back Kentrell Webb, the defensive MVP of the state championship game who plans to become an architect, credits the team’s success to the Panthers’ coaches.

“We’ve dreamed of this feeling for a long time, so getting it and getting the (win) was amazing,” said Webb. “Our coach preached to us… if you’re always prepared, you don’t have to prepare.”

And, of course, excellence is the norm for a team whose team leaders post their GPAs in their Twitter profiles.

Just a bunch of spirited young men who are championship football players.

“We’re talking about setting a standard of excellence and then being able to rise to the challenge and set the bar as high as possible,” said Gotte. “They left some really big shoes to fill.

“As a coach you like that stuff, but you immediately start to move on to the next challenge. And the next challenge is successful next year. Thus, these elderly people will be able to enjoy it for the rest of their lives. The rest of us have to get back to work.

The man talks about getting back to work next season while replying to hundreds of congratulatory texts days after this season ends.

According to Gotte, excellence doesn’t take days off.

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About James Almanza

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