Ashanti Blaize, NBCDFW.com
In a Cinderella season, Poteet High School goes to the state semifinals.
A Mesquite high school football team beat the odds to make it to the state semifinals.
The Poteet High School team had low expectations and was ranked last in its division coming into the season.
But this year, Poteet faced Aledo High School, the defending state champs, in the semifinals.
Aledo won the game 29-27, but this was a true Cinderella season for Poteet. Last year, the team's record was 0-10.
"It was pretty bad going up to the school after a game, because you lost and everybody is still laughing at you, like football is a joke," Preston Bass said.
Much of the team struggled to find a reason to keep playing after last year's disappointing season.
"I almost didn't come back this year," Stewart McDonald said.
Bass said he felt the same way, "because it was just going to practice every single day and knowing that you were probably going to lose a game -- that was pretty hard."
But they finished their season a win away from the state championship.
"This year has made up for my entire football career," McDonald said.
"My thing was just to try and get better every day and change their attitudes and make them feel good about being Poteet Pirate football players again," said Randy Jackson, who took on the head coaching job this year.
A wheel barrel with the words "all in" sits in their field, a reminder to strive for success.
"One of the first speeches I gave to them was about getting in the wheel barrel and being all in," Jackson said.
One win was all it took to get started.
"It was really one of those kind of things where I thought we could win, but until kids do win, you just really don't know if they know how," Jackson said.
"They just had so many odds stacked against them at the beginning of the year," Jackson said. "So many teams would have came into the year already defeated, and these kids they just believed and went to work."
The players got a hero's sendoff Friday when they left Poteet High School for the game against Aledo in Mansfield.
"I never thought we would have got this far," Bass said.
Cheers have replaced the jeers they once received.
"I'm walking into Walmart and, you know, people I've never met before are saying, 'Good luck tonight at the game,'" McDonald said.