ARLINGTON - It was never going to be easy, and it's not supposed to be.
That is part of the path, part of the journey.
Longview's journey is more than a 16-0 season that brought home the first state title in 81 years with a 35-34 win over Beaumont West Brook in the Class 6A, Division II title game on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
This journey started before this team was around. It started with those that came before them, teams that came so close only to see heartbreak instead of triumph, those that call Longview home - a past that defines them and a future that is different because of them.
"This proves that hard work pays off, and we've been close many times," Longview head coach John King said. "There's a lot of football teams that have been through our program.
"They're all part of why we're here today with the belief that they had, the ideals that are instilled in our kids and the understanding of what it takes to be a champion."
This title, the first since 1937, exceeds perfection. That's what the Lobos achieved along the way, but the words hard work, unselfishness and team are bigger than perfect. Those things are what it took on Saturday night to overcome a hump that's haunted them.
"I know there has been frustration and that we've been close," King said. "It's grown through the years because we haven't been able to get it done, but I can tell you, there won't be any talk about us not being able to win the big one cause the Longview Lobos have bragging rights. We're state champions. 16-0."
With the chants of 'LO-BOS' bursting through the rafters at AT&T Stadium, Longview brought it home as they did all through a 16-0 season: together.
"When I first got into the coaching profession, my daddy said to me, 'Son, you need to find a place to call home,'" King said. "I thought, 'Ah, I want to be a head coach, I'm going to bounce around. I'm going to do this or that' and I tell you, I hadn't been to Longview but about a month and I knew that this was the place I wanted to call home.
"There isn't another job, there isn't another place I want to coach. There are no different kids I want to coach than those tough-ass kids from Longview, Texas. I love them and I love what they're about. We've got diversity on our football team. We've got rich ones, poor ones, black, white, Hispanics, we've got them all. When they walk out of that field house, they bleed green. These guys are going to bleed green for the rest of their life. Longview, Texas is home."
The path of the wolf - the wolfgang - begins and ends in Longview, home of the champions.