The stage is set at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY at 3:00 pm est.
Who ever would've thought this girl from a small West Texas town, Sterling City, would be walking out onto a football field in Upstate New York to photograph a sport she grew up watching & loving since the age of, well, honestly I don't remember.
Roads to a championship game isn't always easy, it rarely is easy as a matter of fact. Being the best in your state comes with not just the love of the game, but passion, hard work, a bond that's unbreakable, discipline and much dedication. It's a recipe that over the days leading up needs time to perfect.
Our Cornwall Dragons found that perfect recipe to lead them down an undefeated 2018-2019 season that took them right into the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.
They walked away best in the state! Division A State Champs! It was truly history in the making, and an honor to watch. I got to help celebrate something many only dream about.
How does that feel boys? I only carry an ounce of what you must be feeling that night leading into the following day, days, weeks and months to come.
EXCEPT... I pretty much feel like I won this with you as I captured this moment of #13 Louie Francese! Enjoy, you deserve it!
On November 23, 2018 right around 3 pm, I was given an experience that made my heart skip a beat.. Thank you Jason Semo!! I was walked down to the field of the Carrier Dome handed a media pass to be up close & personal with the teams vying for the State Title!
My heart is simply filled with gratitude that I was able to snap many photo memories for this group of kids and their parents.
As a little girl football filled our home.. growing up cuddled up in the recliner with daddy on Saturday & Sunday after spending Friday night under the lights watching our High School teams, cheering for those that the young look up to in hopes to play under those big lights one day. It's a dream...
Being handed a pass to walk along the field was only something that 6 year old little girl could only dream about! AND, at the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP game! WHAT!?!
As the game began, I watched as four of our Cornwall boys walked out onto the field by a ref to introduce themselves to their opponent.
I could hear 8 heartbeats pounding.. adrenaline and excitement was filling the air. What's in your heart young man? Is this what you had once envisioned and now living?
I can't even begin to understand what must be going through the minds of the many young man standing on the turf field playing a game they love so much, in front of so many that drove hours to watch them (or those watching on TV/Computer), cheer them on in a beautiful, large stadium.
Isn't this what we all aspire to be? The best at what we love!
Amin Woods.. kiddo keep up the amazing work. As I watched you play while leaving your heart on the field, I was reminded of watching a kid play when I was not even in my teens. His name was Abel Garcia, from Sterling City, Texas, a small West Texas oil & ranching community.
The kid could run, and break tackles like a bull... head down and barreling through! You captured that memory perfectly for me!!
Watching you brought floods of memories, breaking tackles left & right. Your size is deceiving, short yet brick like...just as Abel was, a true force. Many of my photos are of you, I guess rushing for 204 yards on 34 carries would probably explain it. Thank you for taking me back to some of my fondest memories as a child!
Aidan Semo... WOW! You give Cornwall, no the entire state, a show to watch. You really bring a calming, humble energy to the field. As a sports fan, it's mesmerizing and something I can't wait to see as you continue to grow!
Taking a step back looking for a pass, only to make that unexpected leap to run for a carry. Not only is it fun to watch, it brings that heart racing excitement that entrances your audience.
It's profound to watch as you & Amin work together behind your line. A tremendous amount of teamwork!
We, Cornwall, watched hopeful as you continued to work hard for something you wanted so badly. We wanted it for you too!
We continued to cheer you on as We Believe You Will Win...
The defense came out in the forth quarter and just wrecked havoc, showing who owned that carrier dome field. Shane O'Dea harassing this quarterback, and just playing an overall amazing game.
The entire group of the 2018-2019 Cornwall Dragon football team should be proud. You overcame obstacles, and showed that you are strong competitors with big hearts. I can only hope in years from now a group of young men can look back on this & still feel a tear well up in their eyes.
What a great feeling for this small West Texas town girl to be standing on the Carrier Dome field under the Friday Night Lights watching you bring home the first STATE title!
48 minutes can seem like a lifetime as you battle for something dreams are made of.. not knowing who will walk away as the winner. But, then the moment when the opposing team realizes the chances have just become slim as #13 Francese starts to make that run back down the field...
The last 1:00 minute of the game was the most heart stopping, intense part of the entire 48 minutes..
C'mon boys, drama much!?!
Denying you this win was just not an option on today's agenda! You proved your hearts desires couldn't & wouldn't be rejected today! That kids is what hard work is all about!
And, then that moment in the last few seconds when you realize you're going home as the Champions!
Capturing it all.. all.of.it brings so much love, pride and admiration to my soul. You boys taught me something today, to not give up on dreams, and to just GO FOR IT!
To watch as they celebrate with each other, the smiles, tears, hugs... It's all so breathtaking from this side of the lens!
Brothers on the field, winning a title together... this moment!
Matt Raynor.. this moment will forever be etched into my heart! The innocence and sincerity of the mere shock when your name was called was priceless!
And, then you catch a moment like this, and realize just how deep this runs!
Our girls cheered for their players, the fans chanted "you can't do that" when the opponents caused a foul, and "We Believe You Can Win"... A night for many to remember for a lifetime.
Sharing this moment is indescribable through words.....
Many families traveled, some stayed home to watch with family & friends on the live stream, or on Facebook Live via my awesome, crazy fun friend Nicole...
But, once the kids (and families) made that 3.5 hour bus ride back home, they were welcomed by the community that lined the streets as ONE... Cornwall!
We were LOUD, we are not sorry if we woke you. We are sorry, however, if you were unaware of this once in a lifetime, history making parade, and we woke you! But, we ARE proud!
We left our hearts on the field... along with this! We'll be back.. We BELIEVE!