Centerville aiming for another trip to state semifinals

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CENTERVILLE, Texas (KBTX) -- The Centerville Tigers are one of five area teams still alive in the high school football playoffs.

Kyle Hardee's crew is a win away from reaching the state semifinals for the second year in a row and third time in the past four seasons.

The Tigers have been building tradition on the gridiron over the past decade.

Of the 20 playoff wins in school history, 15 of them have come during the Tigers current seven year postseason streak.

Hardee said, "You go back I think this is six years in a row at least three rounds, seven years playoffs and you've got to go back to those classes. You've got to go back to the Tigers that came before. They set the standard and these kids are just trying to live up to it every year. They're putting in a lot of work through the spring and the summer and we're seeing the payoff. I'm proud of the kids."

Tiger senior quarterback/cornerback Hunter Free said, "Ever since like 7th grade when we got into this program it's just been built up there for us already from the guys that set the standards and we just kind of worked extra hard to keep it going.

"Our team is used to coming here every single year. If you're not a great team then you won't beat us," added Centerville senior tight end/defensive end Cameron Williams.

Not many thought Centerville would be here after they lost three times in a five game stretch earlier this season, but those losses proved to be the turning point in yet another deep playoff run.

Free said, "We were just kind of not playing as a team like we usually do and we just bought in against Groveton in our last district game and we just peaked I guess and kept going."

Hardee said, "I do think the turning point was right around we got beat by Lovelady late in district and I think our kids decided to try to change things and since then we've been playing good football."

Williams added, "Before we started fraying apart, getting mad at each other but we realized that wasn't going to get us anywhere. Once we came together and acted as a family and acted as a team that's when we knew we could achieve something better. Achieve something great."

The Tigers will have a big challenge ahead of them Friday when they face 13-0 San Augustine in Palestine. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.