NEW IBERIA, Louisiana (KLFY) – The first parish public school in Iberia to win a state football championship has discovered that there are things talent and teamwork alone cannot bring you. The Westgate Tigers have all won a championship ring, but the players are responsible for their purchase.
“We just really wanted to win badly so we never really thought about what was to come next,” Westgate Football junior Dedrick Latulas said.
“The crazy part was just figuring out, you know, what’s next,” added Westgate head coach Ryan Antoine.
When the Westgate Tigers left the Superdome as 4A Champions, reality hit them. Getting the trophy was one thing. Getting a ring was another. There are 90 people in this championship team, including 23 seniors. Each team member is responsible for purchasing their own ring at $ 250 each.
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“Have you ever had a time where you wondered where am I going to get $ 250?” News 10 reporter Neale Zeringue asked Latulas.
“Oh yes sir, definitely,” replied the junior student.
Westgate does not have a booster club and relies primarily on tickets to fund the team, so manager Neely Anne Moore and head coach Ryan Antoine sent a letter asking for help from the community. The response has been overwhelming.
“None of the student-athletes will pay a ring out of pocket,” coach Antoine told News 10.
It takes at least $ 20,000 in donations to fully cover the team’s rings, but the coach also hopes to kick off his championships with a banquet and commemorate their accomplishments on the field with a banner.
According to trainer Antoine, their goal is “Just to try to ensure that our children always have something to look forward to as younger children, but also, for those children who have left this lasting mark to always be able to come back and to be able to say that the team did it.
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Any additional funds received will be used to purchase equipment for the student-athletes they desperately need.
“I’m going to treasure this ring,” said Dedrick Latulas. “For the community that comes out, for the strangers who contribute and for all of those who make this dream possible for Westgate High, this is important to us. We are truly grateful.
If you want to see this banner in the stands or for these kids to get the equipment worthy of a championship team, contact Director Neely Moore at [email protected] or 337-365-2431.