BRUCEVILLE-EDDY - For 32 years, Bruceville-Eddy has been mired in mediocrity.
"A lot of losses," Ed Tolbert, an offensive lineman on the 1985 Bruceville-Eddy team, said. "A few wins here and there but obviously, no playoffs."
Kent Moore, a running back for the 1985 Eagles squad, added: "Some people call it a curse and it seemed like one. I've watched games for 32 years and a lot of times I felt like just not coming anymore."
In 2016, the Eagles were one win away. This time, they clinched in Week 10 when Marlin beat New Waverly.
But for two current Eagles, whose dads were on the '85 squad, the feat is overwhelming.
"I couldn't even say anything to my dad," senior wide receiver Connor Tolbert said. "We both kind of just looked at each other and had a big hug and there were tears because it had been that long and it was such an emotional thing."
Sophomore defensive tackle Ian Moore added his dad isn't one to cry but he teared up after the Eagles clinched.
"He came up to me and hugged me after that game," Ian said.
As the Tolbert's and Moore's look on with a town surrounding them, spirits have been lifted.
One quick drive through town seeing black and gold balloons, signs and streamers mark street signs proves it.
Now, a community scorned rejoices as the longest playoff drought in Class 3A has ended.
"For the last several years, this was the goal," coach J.B. Chaney said. "When you come into a place that the drought has been this long, that's the goal."
As one mission is accomplished, a new one emerges.
As coach J.B. Chaney looks to make this a norm in Bruceville-Eddy, it starts with a win Thursday against Rice. And it continues in the arms of an energized town.
"It's something this town has needed for a long time and you can tell they appreciate it," Connor said.
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