TAFT, TX — The Taft Greyhounds are making history advancing to the regional round of playoffs. It's been a long time coming, and alumni have noticed.
"This only happens one time in their lifetime you know," Joey Maldonado, Taft 1983 alum, No. 80 running back and outside linebacker, said.
It's been 40 years, since the Taft Greyhounds made it to the third round of high school football playoffs.
"Starting freshman year we just didn't know what we were going to do," Efrain Ozuna, Taft senior wide receiver and defensive end, said. "We got a new coaching staff and everything. It was new to us and throughout the years we've just been really grinding."
"Awe man, I mean it's awesome just to make it this far," said Enrique Rodriguez, Taft junior wide receiver and cornerback, said. "We got our seniors. Our seniors play a big part. I mean it's just all a team effort."
From winning one game in 1981 to going (9-2) in 1982 more and more fans packed the stands here at Greyhound Stadium.
"I am going to credit the coach Mr. Heinike, Willie Heineke, and my linebacker coach was Emi Alaniz," Israel Gonzales, Taft 1983 alum, NO. 34 tight end and inside linebacker, said.
"It brings back a lot of memories with my friends and just the good times that we had playing this game," Maldonado said. "I kind of envy these guys right now. I mean they're experiencing something nice and something great."
"It's been a while, so just to know that they are still there for us it's a big blessing for us," J.J. Acosta, Taft junior quarterback, said. "I am thankful for them to always having our back no matter what."
"All the support that they give us because it gives us motivation to go into this game, to play our best and try to get past the third round and go to the fourth," Marcello Nieto, Taft senior left guard, left tackle and defensive end said.
The 2022 Greyhounds are fast and play as a team. That same camaraderie led Taft to a historic season 40 years ago..
"The '82 team that won Area against Port Isabel, and at that time they were ranked Number 2 in the state, we beat them. I just wanted to let you guys know that we're rooting for you guys behind you," Maldonado said. "You'll never get this back, so give it all your best, play hard, play fast and play smart and you guys will do it."
The Taft Greyhounds (10-2) will battle the No. 7 ranked Poth Pirates (11-1) on Friday at Victoria Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The 1982 Greyhounds dedicate this story to their fallen brothers that have passed: No. 62 Paul Martinez, No. 44 Richard Alvarez, No. 78 Tim Floerke and No. 70 Ernest Muniz.