PUEBLO – Peyton players, parents and fans lingered on the field well after the Panthers finished off Fowler to claim a state championship on Saturday.

One more picture. One more hug. One more moment.

The lack of urgency made sense, too. For so long, this group has simply encountered the end of the season by swapping one uniform for another in another sport, but largely staying intact as a core.

Now, this is it. As a group, they are no more and ready to live on only in the record book and Peyton gymnasium rafters as the class that changed the school’s standing among 2A programs in the state.

“It starts with a little luck,” said DH Trevor Walker, who quarterbacked the football team the past three years, of finding a collection of talent like this in the same small town at the same time. “And then there’s a lot of hard work, you mesh together.”

The Panthers, behind this senior class, made back-to-back state title games in baseball and went 82-9 in baseball over four years. They also didn’t post a losing season in football and went 28-4 over the past three years.

“There’s a lot of pride that comes with it, and it’s also really humbling,” said running back/center fielder Josh Gonzales. “You see these other high schools with these cocky players, all of our guys are so humble. None of our guys try to show off or anything, we just come out here and play our hardest.

“We come out and strive for excellence every day. We don’t do anything over the top. … It makes for such a special bond. We know these guys will have our backs going forward no matter what.”

Added senior pitcher Rupert Shaw, “We have so much (pride in our school). Our class in general is such an athletic class and has been since the beginning of our school days. We just brought it together as a team. It just feels great.”