We knew down deep inside that if we played the way we were supposed to and executed and played to our potential, we could get this far this year. It was just a matter of playing up to our potential and playing as a team. —Desert Hills tackle Brock Doman
SALT LAKE CITY — Whether it's competing at the Little League, junior high, high school, college or professional level, athletes of all ages, shapes and sizes have their sights set on one thing:
Winning a championship.
And the Desert Hills High football team is certainly no different. The Thunder face region rival Pine View for the inaugural 3AA state championship Friday night at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium.
And this opportunity is a "dream come true" for a couple of Desert Hills seniors who have been waiting, hoping and thinking about this moment ever since they were old enough to strap on a football helmet.
"This has been one of my goals since I was 8 years old," said senior offensive and defensive tackle Brock Doman. "It's something I've been dreaming of ever since then, and this is what a lot of us seniors have had as our goal all season. And now we have an opportunity to make it come true.
"We knew down deep inside that if we played the way we were supposed to and executed and played to our potential, we could get this far this year. It was just a matter of playing up to our potential and playing as a team."
Senior linebacker Sil Bundy certainly agrees with that assessment.
"This has always been my goal, ever since I was in Little League," he said. "This is what we've all been dreaming of. It was an amazing feeling two years ago to get to the (3A) finals, and it was a good experience for me, but hopefully this one turns out better for us.
"Making it this far has been the highlight of our season so far, but I hope this next game is the real highlight of our season. It'll be so much fun, it's all I ever dreamed of, and this is a dream come true."
Desert Hills dropped a 16-10 decision to Pine View back in late-September, and the Thunder were defeated by Dixie 27-7 the following week.
Those turned out to be the only two blemishes on the record for a Desert Hills team that, at 10-2 overall, has its sights set on bringing home the first state football championship in school history.
Thunder head coach Carl Franke gives Doman and Bundy much of the credit for helping his team get things turned around after their back-to-back midseason setbacks.
"These two guys are the heart and soul of this team," Franke said of his two senior leaders. "They're the ones that got us back on track when we had those couple of bumps in the road in the middle of the season, and these two are the ones that helped get everybody back on track.
"They're the type of kids that lead by example. They're the first ones at practice every day and the last ones to leave, they're always at every team meeting, and they do everything the right way. They make sure that everyone else does things the right way, too.
"You learn a lot more from losses than you do from wins," the Thunder coach said, "and the biggest thing we learned about was our character and about ourselves, knowing what it takes to win ballgames, close ballgames, and what type of effort and commitment each kid and each coach needs to bring.
"You self-reflect a lot more after losses, and those two losses were both against really good teams. It makes you re-evaluate what you're doing and what you need to do to be a better football team.
"Now we know who we are and who we are not."
And who they are is a team with a dream — a dream that could become even better if it comes true and turns into a championship in the 3AA finals Friday night.