The last time Tygarts Valley made it to the state tournament, the Bulldogs were a premier team in Class AA. They won back-to-back state titles in 1978-and-79, going undefeated each season.
Now a Class A program, the Bulldogs will return to states for the first time since 1979, after taking the toughest
possible road through sectionals and regionals.
"It's been a long time," said head coach James Markley. "It's been due. We're due."
The 'Dogs suffered an early loss to Notre Dame in sectionals and again to East Hardy in regionals. Both times, the 'Dogs persevered, winning five elimination games on the way to a state tournament berth.
"The heart that they have is unbelievable," said Markley. "To be in an elimination game a couple times and to fight back -- to be with our backs against
the wall to Notre Dame and come back and win two, to be with our backs against the wall to East Hardy and come back and win two -- that's impressive."
Markley said his four seniors helped the team bare down in those elimination games, keeping it focused on the team's goal of making it to states.
"It's a dream come true," said senior Caleb Riggleman. "It's what we've been working for since I was a freshman with three other seniors."
Added fellow senior Rece Wamsley: "Our team, we really fight. We don't like losing. That taste in our mouth, we don't like it. It takes a couple wins to get it out, and that's what we try to do."
The Bulldogs have thrived in elimination games this postseason. From here on out, it's do or die. Markley said his team won't back down from that challenge.
"We have the momentum. Momentum is big," said Markley. "We're ready to go. We've reached our goal. Now we want to go further."