ARLINGTON- The motto in Gunter, Texas, is Tough People Win. As it turned out, Gunter was the tougher team in a 42-7 win over Poth in the 3A DII State Championship Game. Gunter’s win gives it a third State Championship since 2016 and avenges a loss to Franklin in the 2021 3A DII State Championship Game.
As the score might indicate, this one was never close. Gunter’s defense was able to pitch a shutout through 47 minutes by limiting the Poth offense to just 3.5 yards-per-carry. A touchdown pass from Poth quarterback Zane Raabe to Gabriel Silansky with :16 seconds remaining in the game ended the Gunter shutout.
The Tigers jumped on the Pirates early with an Ashton Bennett touchdown run in the first quarter. Bennett added another score in the second quarter and was eventually named Offensive MVP after racking up 87 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The last rushing touchdown of Ethan Sloan’s prolific Gunter career came with :55 seconds remaining in the first half and put Poth in a 21-0 hole to open the second half.
Two touchdown runs from Ivy Hellman put the game out of reach and gave Gunter a commanding 35-0 lead heading into the final frame. Hellman finished with 58 yards and two scores on the ground.
Quarterback Walker Overman helped move the ball when asked to pass by completing 11 of his 16 passes for 124 yards. Cannon Lemberg led the Tigers in receiving with six receptions for 89 yards.
It was a long climb back up the mountain for Gunter after losing in the state title game a year ago. Tigers coach Jake Fieszel said a decision made back in January resulted in Gunter winning a state title in December.
“To get to this point you have to put in the work. It’s not something that just happens. Every year in January you restart the whole thing over again,” Fieszel said. “They knew what kind of work it took. They made that decision that they were going to sacrifice and that they were going to do what it took. That’s a lot of hours and time away from friends, girlfriends and family. They made that decision and that’s why they are sitting here with gold medals around their necks.”
The decision to sacrifice will have to be made again when January rolls around. For now, the Gunter Tigers get to celebrate a third State Championship with the friends and family they sacrificed time away from throughout 2022.