RAYMONDVILLE — The Raymondville Bearkats 7on7 football team will be heading to the state tournament in College Station in style.

On Tuesday, the community hosted a pep rally for the state-bound squad with the feel of a Friday afternoon pep rally in the fall.

“It’s amazing to see the community rally behind us,” said Kats wide receiver Zaraivion Armendarez. “It means a lot for us to make it to state. We all have put in a lot of work and it’s all paid off. The last two months have been real busy for us. Our community has been looking forward to this group playing together and we don’t want to let them down.”

The Kats rode in on a city fire truck and were greeted by family and friends outside of the Raymondville gymnasium.

The team will hit the road later today with the tournament starting on Thursday at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.

Raymondville will begin pool play at 1 p.m. against Sunnyvale followed by a 3 p.m. contest against Burnet and, finally, a 5 p.m. game against Palestine. The Kats will be in pool B and all their games will be played on field three.

It was a long time coming for the Kats to reach the state 7on7 tournament. Raymondville qualified for the big dance at the McAllen qualifier and beat longtime rival Rio Hondo 20-19 in the semifinals to seal their trip to state.

Senior quarterback Jacob Posas’ father, Juan, is the team’s coach and is excited for the squad’s opportunity to compete at the state level.

“When we started, we had a special feeling about this year,” Juan said. “A lot of the kids I have known since they were little and they have played together since they were young.

“Last year they were close (to making it to state), and this year they have worked hard. Some of the kids don’t get to leave town so it’s great to see the community get together and support the kids. As a parent, it’s great to see all of us come together and support the kids.”

Running back Marcus Capetillo is one senior who is taking in the limelight and enjoying the 7on7 action.

“We’ve gone over different plays and schemes,” Capetillo said. “We haven’t stopped working and to have the support from our community is amazing. Not every team makes it to state, so for us to be able to reach state is a good feeling. It shows our work has paid off.”

State 7on7 tourney

Division II Pool B

-Raymondville

-Burnet

-Palestine

-Sunnyvale

Bearkats play beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday on Field 3 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex, 3101 Harvey Road, College Station