ARLINGTON – Poth’s historic season came to an end on the field at AT&T Stadium on Thursday evening.
In their first state championship appearance since 1968, the Pirates fell to Gunter 42-7 in the UIL Class 3A Division II title game, finishing as state runners-up for only the second time in program history. Poth ends their season with a 14-2 overall record.
The Tigers (16-0) seized control of a scoreless game late in the first quarter thanks to a 12-yard touchdown run from running back Ashton Bennett. He struck again with an 11-yard score midway through second quarter that doubled the lead and put the Pirates firmly on the back foot. Bennett was eventually named the game’s offensive MVP. Poth flipped the field on the ensuing drive on quarterback Zane Raabe’s 41-yard pass to Matthew Bunn, but Raabe’s next pass was intercepted by Colin Peacock at the nine-yard line. Gunter promptly marched 91 yards on 12 plays and capped an emphatic drive with a seven-yard TD run from Ethan Sloan to take a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Ivy Hellman scored twice in the third quarter and Kane Bolt added another rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter to build a dominant 42-0 Tigers lead. All told, Gunter rushed 46 times for 297 yards and six touchdowns. Poth battled to the end and avoided a shutout thanks to Raabe’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Silansky with 16 seconds left.
“I thought we came out early and did a good job defensively,” Poth head coach Jeff Luna said. “We made some mistakes. Obviously, we turned the ball over once we were moving the ball, had a couple of big penalties that hurt us. We made way too many mistakes to beat a good team like Gunter, but I can’t say enough about these kids and the heart they played with for four quarters. I’m just very proud of our program and how far we’ve come.”
“It meant the world,” Bunn said. “These guys have been my family for my whole life. We’ve all grown up together. This was a dream of ours, so it meant everything to be out there one last time.”
“It’s a high schooler’s dream to be out here, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my high school career,” Raabe said. “It’s just a blessing to be out here with these guys.”
Click below to hear more postgame reaction from the Pirates: