STILLWATER — Timberlake coach Brian Severin remembers well when a precocious group of eighth-graders told him four years ago that they were going to be the first state championship football team in school history.
But the truth is, the Class C state crown that the Tigers' 10 seniors delivered Saturday with a 38-16 victory over Seiling was predicted a long time before that.
"We've been saying that since we all started playing together in the third grade," said running back Johnny Ketterman following Saturday's game at Stillwater High School. "We've all been on the same team since we started playing and we always said we would do this."
In fulfilling their promise, the Tigers capped a perfect season at 14-0 and became the first team other than Shattuck to win the Class C title since 2002.
"Last year we got embarrassed by Shattuck (in the semifinals) and these kids dedicated themselves to this," Severin said. "This was the goal."
Seiling ended its season at 12-2 with both losses coming to Timberlake. Still, Seiling made a game of it Saturday.
The score was tied 16-16 with 7:01 left in the third quarter and momentum seemed to be going the way of the Wildcats. After the tying the game at 16, Seiling held Timberlake to a three-and-out and got the ball at the Timberlake 37-yard line after a Tigers punt into the wind went just 26 yards.
But Timberlake forced a quick punt and then dominated the rest of the way. Three touchdowns on its next three possessions and not allowing Seiling a single first down during that stretch gave Timberlake its first gold ball.
"It was hard not to think about the way we beat them (earlier) this season," said Ketterman. "But Seiling played better. We just took over there at the end."