Paetow caps off school year with ring ceremony

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 5/19/22

“It was beautiful, the entire thing was just amazing,” said junior linebacker Alex Kilgore. “We waited so long for today and to come out here and have this moment and see those rings, it was a beautiful moment.”

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Paetow caps off school year with ring ceremony

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You could hear the excitement from the parking lot at Paetow on Thursday. It was buzzing, every football player and fan that headed to Panther stadium was excited for what was coming.

It was the moment they all had been waiting four months for.

The Panthers received their 2021 state championship rings, seeing them for the first time on Thursday as the community came together to celebrate with the team, coaches, administrators, trainer, family and friends coming out to celebrate the historic season for a final time.

“It was beautiful, the entire thing was just amazing,” said junior linebacker Alex Kilgore. “We waited so long for today and to come out here and have this moment and see those rings, it was a beautiful moment.”

The ceremony included a speech from each of the 2021 state captains, in Kentrell Webb, C.J. Dumas, James Bailey and Kolgore. They also had a speech from Paetow principal Mindy Dickerson and a mention of the efforts of everyone involved from the captains to the student trainers and film crew.

After they all received their boxes holding the rings, the Panthers opened them as one, and the party started, as they brought out a DJ who played music, the food trucks opened up and the fans spilled onto the field to celebrate with the players and staff.

At the end of the ceremony the players looked over and saw their former head coach, B.J. Gotte, who had come to watch his players celebrate the season. Kilgore ran to Gotte to give him a hug and told the coach how much he had meant to Kilgore, players followed behind to show their appreciation to their former coach.

“It’s why you do this stuff,” Gotte said. “It was so great to see them all and I’m just happy that they are happy. That was a special moment.”

None of the players had seen the rings before the ceremony and there was a collective shock from the team

“It was just amazing opening that box and seeing the ring,” Bailey said. I was so anxious heading into this and with having the box in my hand not being able to open it. But it was so worth it the moment we opened it up. Amazing is the only way to describe it.”

The ring features the Paetow logo on the front, with the players last name, number and the year of the state championship on the sides.

For the Panthers it was a special moment as they had never had the experience of getting state championship rings before, and for the younger players, it provides even more motivation to go out and get another ring next season.

“It just makes me want to show people what we can do again,” Kilgore said. “I feel like no one really put respect on our name until we won state, and now that we are moving up to 6A, the same thing is happening, but it’s ok. We’re going to go up there next year and do what we do.”

The Panthers will lose some key contributors to that state championship team this coming season, but still return plenty of firepower, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“I’m excited for those younger guys to go out and prove themselves again,” Gotte said. “The foundation is here and the kids have done such a great job of buying in to what it takes to be successful. They hired a great head coach in Lonnie Teagle who will do great things. This place is going to be good regardless of who is here. Coaches come and go, but these guys have that foundation already laid, they know how to do it and everyone is behind them. I’m going to be their No. 1 fan.”

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