HERMISTON — Joey Gutierrez could not stop smiling on Tuesday night.
Exactly 67 days after the Hermiston Bulldogs’ football team captured the Class 5A state championship, Gutierrez and his teammates received their shiny state championship rings during a presentation at halftime of Tuesday’s Hermiston-Pendleton varsity basketball game.
“Oh man, it’s such a good feeling to have it,” Gutierrez said, smiling. “It’s a memory we’re always going to have and it definitely looks a lot better in person than in the pictures.
“Not a lot of people can say they have a state championship football ring, so it gives you an even better feeling than before.”
The ring displays a rectangular face with the words ‘State champions’ emblazoned in silver split among the top and bottom edge, with shiny stones lining the left and right edges. In the middle is the Hermiston ‘H’ logo in purple and gold with the Bulldog head in the middle.
Gutierrez, an all-state defensive back this past season, said that a group of seniors had a little bit of input into the design, though they soon realized the ring they envisioned was a bit too flashy and would be too expensive. The final design was scaled back, but still got the approval of the players.
“(Coach David) Faaeteete kind of made it look nicer, I think,” Gutierrez said.
After receiving the rings from their families on the basketball court in front of a packed crowd at the Dawg House, wide smiles instantly lit up each players’ face before heading back up to their seat in the bleachers to show it off to their friends and family.
“It feels so amazing to have it,” senior and all-state lineman Beau Blake said. “All of our hard work paid off and now we get to look at this ring and remember all of the good times from this year.”
And receiving the championship rings in front of their rival Buckaroo students and fans made the night even that much better.
“Get to rub it in their face a little bit,” Blake joked. “Not too much, but just enough to make them mad.”
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