For Current, Past & Future: Welsh's historic state championship - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

For Current, Past & Future: Welsh's historic state championship

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WELSH, La. -

In 2017, Welsh football returned to the Super Dome for the first time in 25 years. For many, including the Greyhounds star quarterback Zach Hayes, it was a chance to do something his dad couldn't do.

“Ever since I got to high school, my dad says, 'I played in the dome. We didn't get it done, but you have the group to do it,'" said Zach.

Despite a great football tradition, Welsh had never won a state football championship. The Greyhounds were bridesmaids in the dome in both 1989 and 1992 seasons.

“The two years they made it to the dome, there are two big pictures that hang in our field house of those teams,” said Welsh Head Coach John Richardson. “We have people who come in and out all the time that point out either, 'this is them, or that's my dad, my uncle, that's my cousin.'"

Will Hayes remembers that ‘92 game well.

“27-34, I’ll never forget the score,” he says with a smile.

Hayes, the father of Welsh's starting quarterback Zach, played in that 2A championship that Welsh lost to Coushatta. He was a sophomore.

“They had a quarterback and for some reason… it was like a one man show,” said Will. “We could not stop that one fella. He'd drop back; we were about to sack him, and he'd just chuck it. And there would be a guy open. We'd almost get him, and he'd break loose.”

His wife Alicia was a Welsh Dazzler.

“It was upsetting,” she remembers. “They were all crying. It was the last game of the season and to get that close and almost make it.”

1992 was the last time the Greyhounds played for a championship before the dogs returned to the dome this season.

“It felt like we'd been there before. We hadn't, but for some reason, it felt we'd been there before,” said Zach.

Facing St. Helena, Hayes threw for four touchdowns as Welsh jumped out to a 31-8 halftime lead.

“The whole Super Dome felt so open. It felt like I could see everybody more clearly. I could see my receivers. I could see what defense they were running."

But in the second half, the injuries piled on and the Greyhounds’ lead dwindled.

The Hawks made their charge, a charge that came up short.

“Twenty-five years ago: they didn't quite have the game they wanted, and they didn't get it done,” said Zach. “Here it is, 2017, and my dad couldn't be more proud, and I couldn't be more proud of him and knowing I could bring it back to him.”

“I had a feeling there was something special about this group,” added Will.

“It's something I’ve looked forward to my whole career,” said Coach Richardson. “Hoping one day we'd be good enough to get there and to be able to do it in a town like this, that supports this whole team the way the community does. And for it to be the first championship in a community rich in tradition, as far as football goes, it's pretty special."

Zach was named the 2A Championship MVP in the Greyhounds 38-26 win.

Twenty-five years after Will and the '92 team lost in the dome, Zach and his teammates finished the job.

A championship won for current, future and past Greyhounds.

“Marking your name as one of the all-time great teams to come out of Welsh, nothing comes close to that,” Zach added. “Just to write our names in the books and to say we're the first. There is no other person that can say that. To go out of high school and leave our high school career with that, a state championship, and the first, it's unbelievable.”

“All the hard work that he's done,” Will says pausing emotionally. “I'm just proud.”

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