A high school football team in Dallas is preparing for the playoffs.
It is a game that has been a longtime coming, nearly seven decades to be exact.
North Dallas High School’s football team took the field Wednesday afternoon for one more practice.
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A mixture of nerves and excitement filled the air.
“I’m just ready to get out there,” said junior linebacker and team captain Damien Lopez.
The team’s biggest challenger so far has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were started, we were shut down. We were started, we were shut down,” said head football coach Bobby Estes of their season impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. “My wife keeps reminding me, just the fact that we get to play football this year is kind of a miracle.”
Not only are the Bulldogs playing, they’re about to break a longstanding streak.
Sophomore defensive back Joseph Oluwayemi wore a t-shirt Wednesday reading: ‘North Dallas Football Playoffs 1952 and 2020.’
North Dallas has made the UIL playoffs for the first time in 68 years.
“I’m not nervous,” said Oluwayemi. “I’m more anxious. I’m ready.”
The 1952 team’s journey to the playoffs is commemorated in the respective school year’s yearbook and by the school’s booster club.
“By the way, I wasn’t playing then boys, so don’t even joke about that,” Coach Estes said to his players in jest.
“It’s really exciting because just to know that you did something that a lot of people have failed to do in a long time, it really just gives me a lot of excitement,” said Oluwayemi.
Though the Bulldogs face a formidable opponent Thursday night, these teens have already conquered a year full of lessons both on and off the field.
“It’s taught me to not give up. To keep believing, really,” said Lopez.
“It’s taught me that life has a lot of obstacles and no matter what they are you have to face those obstacles and get over them one way or the other,” added Oluwayemi. “Be strong. No matter what happens.”
North Dallas (2-4) faces top-ranked Argyle in the first round of the playoffs Thursday night at Argyle Eagle Stadium.
Editor's Note: An earlier version erroneously stated the game would be held at Kincaide Stadium.