Andy Bloodworth still remembers. He's never let himself forget.
A year ago, his Plainview golf team came within striking distance of a Class 3A state title at Dornick Hills before falling down the stretch and finishing runner-up to Oklahoma Christian School by eight strokes.
The aftermath, in which the Indians were forced to watch OCS celebrate with the championship trophy, was a difficult one for his team to face.
"It's been kind of eating them up," Bloodworth said. "The hunger at that point started.
"They were already talking about next year."
The time has come now for Plainview to seek redemption, as the Indians begin play today in the 3A state tournament at Duncan Golf and Tennis Club in Duncan.
The Indians are once again a formidable group, coming off a lopsided win during regional play at Purcell. The squad is led by seniors and Murray State signees Haden Coffey and Trae Wilkins, who finished first and third, respectively, among individuals during the regional.
For the pair, there is not only a sense of unfinished business, but one of taking advantage of a last opportunity.
"We've come so close, it feels like every year," Wilkins said. "This is our last one, so we want to get it."
Coffey shot a sterling 70-71 over 36 holes in Purcell, while Wilkins added a 72-73, and they feel the team is playing at its highest level heading into the state tournament, shooting a team-best 593.
Even still, there is still work to be done.
"You have to keep thinking about getting better, improving," Coffey said. "Or you can lose it, we could lose our state championship."
It can seem cocky to ascribe possession of something yet to be won, but in Coffey's case, it is simply a senior providing the confidence and attitude to propel his team, something Bloodworth has seen out of his seniors over the course of the year.
"They get that look in their eye, and the others can see that," Bloodworth said. "Especially over this past week, I saw the seniors had flipped the 'on' switch."
While it certainly won't be the same kind of familiarity as Dornick Hills, Plainview is familiar with the Duncan Golf Club, having played there several times over the course of the past few years.
"We've played it two or three times," Wilkins said. "That course is just where you put it off the tee."
"I had some trouble with it in the past, but I've improved on it," Coffey said.
Whatever challenges may be presented, the Indians are ready to face it.
Page 2 of 2 - For them, second is not an option. Not this year.
"It would be great," Wilkins said. "It would good for the school, not just for us."
The opportunity for medaling should be there for both seniors, but not at the expense of the team they have taken ownership of this season.
"If we get it, that's great, but at the same time we want to do what's best for the team," Coffey said. "If we help the team, then we'll help ourselves."
For Bloodworth it could be something a little more meaningful; having won a state title himself as a player, the ability to watch the next generation bring home a title for Plainview would be equally special.
"It's never easy sitting there watching someone hold up the trophy you want," Bloodworth said. "For me, it would mean a lot as a coach to sit there and watch them with smiles on their faces, holding up that trophy that they know they earned.
"That's a special feeling ... that's not something that everybody can say."
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