Reynolds High soccer has been successful from the time coach Patrick Gladys stepped on the campus in 1999.
Neither the boys nor the girls teams have had a losing season and have combined for 17 conference championships, and both squads have made the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons.
And in 2015 the girls team hit the pinnacle, winning a state title to cap a 24-4 season.
Now it is the boys team’s opportunity to bring home a state championship, which would be the program’s first.
The Rockets (23-2-2) will play Chapel Hill (22-4-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday in Raleigh for the state 3-A crown.
“We’re feeling pretty good going into the final, but we know Chapel Hill is a very good team,” said Matthew Kennedy, the Rockets’ leading scorer.
“As a senior, this would be the perfect way to go out, winning the first state title in the history of the program.”
A win over Marvin Ridge that came down to penalty kicks on Tuesday earned Reynolds the Western Regional title and brought some sweet revenge after that same program knocked the Rockets out of the playoffs with a semifinal win last year.
Marvin Ridge went on to beat Chapel Hill for the state championship.
Coach Gladys is hoping his boys team can experience the same joy he and his girls team felt two years ago.
“Professionally, it was the greatest thing ever,” said Gladys, whose combined record with the Rockets is 662-188 (.778).
“When I came to Reynolds, I took over a program that was struggling, and I tried to being some guidance and stability and instill winning values here.
“And you have to have talent, and I’ve been blessed with that.”
Kennedy credits Gladys with both motivational and tactical skills.
“He’s an incredible speaker who gives us a motivational speech before every game, but he’s also very good at tactics,” said Kennedy, who has 32 goals and 11 assists this season.
“He’s very good at letting us know what we need to do to be successful and he keeps us composed. We would love to get him another state title and our first one on the boys’ side.”
With two young boys starting to play sports, Gladys is finding it more and more difficult to shoulder the load of coaching two teams at a very high level, another reason he wants his boys team to win on Saturday.
“You sacrifice a lot, a lot of hard work and time being away from my family,” he said. “So to get that satisfaction of knowing you are the best, and you can’t go any higher, hopefully our guys can replicate that feeling we had with the girls (in 2015).”