MCKINNEY, Texas (WOOD) — Tony Annese has been coaching for nearly 40 seasons in both high school and college, but he says Saturday’s win over Colorado School of Mines was the greatest he’s ever had in his career.

Annese added that this team one of the grittiest and most motivated teams he’s ever coached, and they got a little extra motivation the day before the game, when Caleb Murphy was declared the runner-up in the Harlon Hill Award to Colorado School of Mines quarterback John Matocha.

Once Murphy was declared runner up, the defense knew to stay out of his way.

“We knew once he didn’t get that, he was going to do something different,” said senior cornerback Sindey McCloud. “We knew Murphy was going to be activated and once he’s activated, there’s nothing stopping him.”

“I was a little frustrated because there’s not much more as a defensive player I could do to win the award,” Murphy said. “I went out there and balled. It was pretty good to hit him.”

We knew Murphy would be a big contributor this season, but we didn’t know how lethal the local tandem of CJ Jefferson and Brady Rose, both from Muskegon, would be. But they delivered.

“We just gotta get the job done. That’s what we do in our city. Just like the state championship,” Jefferson said.

“Me and CJ, across from each other, we’re both from Muskegon. Muskegon ball is different,” Rose added.

“CJ is a really great player, Brady is a great player too. Everyone knows he was the Michigan Player of the Year when he was a senior in high school,” said Coach Tony Annese.

“Most Michigan Players of the Year are recruited by Michigan, Michigan State. But Brady’s 5’7″ or 5’8″. Everyone thinks he’s someone who can’t play at a high level and you saw him today. Brady Rose is a complete winner and so is CJ Jefferson.”

Once again, the Bulldogs are going to lose some top talent, including Murphy, before next season. But if this year is any indication, that doesn’t mean you can count the Bulldogs out from a potential three-peat.