The Banquete Bulldogs (3-0) are having their best undefeated start to football in six years, but this season means more than just playing and winning.
Banquete track and cheer coach Soluna Riddell was the Bulldogs' biggest fan.
"That's actually my mom, but we know that she's watching over us and it just gives an extra drive to do better," said Joseph Riddell, Banquete senior quarterback and safety. "You know, she's watching down on us and she wants us to do well so we do good for her."
After battling for nearly two years, 44-year-old Soluna passed away on April 22. Her opponent, Amphicrine Carcinoma, a very rare lung cancer.
"She was the heart of our team, you know. She was always there," said Nate Herrera, Banquete senior linebacker and running back. "Basically, like a team mom. It's hard, but we'll stick it out."
Now, Banquete dedicates their season to Soluna. The Bulldogs are (3-0) for the first time since 2016.
Banquete's slogan is Soluna Strong. The Bulldogs also honor her memory with a sticker on the back of their helmet.
"Well it was actually my brother that designed it," said Riddell. "I got a design and then a few of my friends wanted to get a design too, so he did that for us."
"She played a big factor in my life. I wear the back plate for her," said Jeren Nava, Banquete senior left guard. "She was like my second mom."
"It just reminds me that she's always going to be there and always watching over us," said Riddell.
"Like playing with her there," said Herrera. "It's tough, but feels like she's there and playing in our hearts."