ELKINS, W.Va. – The Elkins football team did something it had never done before on Friday night.
The fact is that a 16 seed defeating a 1 seed is only the start of why Friday’s win was so big for the self-proclaimed “America’s Team.”
Elkins defeated Sissonville 42-27 in the first round of the Class AA football playoffs, collecting the program’s first-ever postseason victory. For that, they are our Honda Athlete of the Week.
But don’t let us tell you how big Friday night’s win was. We’ll let the team do the talking.
TJ GUIRE: “It’s surreal. It’s a surreal feeling to be the only team in school history to win a playoff game.”
EVAN HOTT: “It’s probably one of the biggest wins, if not the biggest win, in school history.”
DANTE RAMIREZ: “It was huge. Just the energy from the team shows that it was huge.”
RODNEY VANDEVENDER: “It was amazing. Knowing that we’ve went further than anybody in our past history has went. It’s amazing.”
When did the Tigers know they had a chance to win?
DANTE RAMIREZ: “Since the minute that we stepped on the field we thought that. Ever since film on Monday, we thought that. There was no doubt in my mind that we could win that game.”
RODNEY VANDEVENDER: “As soon as we watched film on Monday… From there on it was like, we got this.”
Ramirez scored three total touchdowns, including a 98-yard kickoff return — the second-longest in program history.
RODNEY VANDEVENDER: “Seeing it from the sideline, he jumped over one of our own players that had fell on the ground, and it was afterburners from there. It was amazing.”
Forcing turnovers were key for the Tigers, who recovered two fumbles and caused an interception.
TJ GUIRE: “We desperately needed the ball to keep it out of their hands. One of our defensive linemen, he hit it out. It came loose on the turf, and I jumped on it. And, it was surreal. It was surreal.”
And maybe no one on the field knew what Friday night’s win meant more than the head coach.
EVAN HOTT: “I got to share that moment with my dad, who was in the playoffs three times and never got the opportunity to win one. I’ve grown up around the Orange and Black my whole life. To talk about it so much, and to tell boys the stories, and for them to take hold of their own destiny, it was great to see their excitement.”