Keller Central gets its first taste of football and basketball success

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM

KELLER - Keller Central is experiencing a sports "surgence."

It's not a "resurgence," because they've never done this before.

The football team made the playoffs for the first time since the school opened in 2003; the basketball team is district champs for first time.

"It was something we always talked about before we got here - we were going to change the program, the face of the school, make things happen and leaving that legacy," said guard Zack Sanchez. "It just feels good to know we've started something."

Sanchez is a "first" himself - the first football player to sign with a perennial top-25 program. He's going to Oklahoma next year.

And he's not the only player who pulls double-duty.

"We try to share kids, and that's a big deal at 5A," said Keller Central Football Coach Bart Helsley. "A lot of kids want to specialize and we're able to share some kids, and I think that's important for both of our programs."

The school has had state champions on the individual level, but in team sports, Helsley could count only a couple playoff wins, both in girls soccer.

The student body is responding to the success.

"Everybody's more excited, happy to be around more of the sports," Warren Sledge said. "So it's a lot more cheerful around here."

"Last year we were alright, but I guess because we're winning, everybody wants to come see us, so that has a big part in it," said senior center Joel Bolomboy.

This team has had its goals written up on the white board all season long, but they're not set in stone.

For example, their goal was not to be 13-1 in district, it was to go 14-0. But these goals do represent a standard that this team has never reached before.

"I really believe that striving to get that first one - that first district championship anyway - you can hold it as a carrot," said Keller Central Men's Basketball Coach Kit Pehl. "You keep dangling it and we've been able to dangle it all year, up until literally when we won it."

The basketball team will try to keep this "surgence" going all the way to the state tournament.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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