By CLINT FOSTER
KELLER – Get your guns up, because for the first time ever the undefeated Texas Bullets are Texas United Football League champions.
For close to a decade, the semi-pro team that calls Mineral Wells home has quested for even an appearance on the TUFL's biggest stage. Now, after a rallying to a dominant 41-17 victory over the defending national champion North Texas Longhorns in Keller ISD's Athletic Complex Saturday night, the Bullets will tote their newly christened TUFL championship trophy and No. 1 national ranking to Daytona Beach, Fla., and an appearance in the semi-pro national championship game in January.
"Seven years we've been trying to win that thing. We finally got it," Bullets owner Jeromy Puckett said of the elusive TUFL championship. "Everything came together and it was just an amazing season."
The long-awaited win did not come easily for the Bullets and their fans. At first, it seemed the Bullets' bid for a 13-0 season was in jeopardy when the Longhorns – who had won four of the past six TUFL crowns – jumped out to a 10-0 in the first quarter courtesy of two Bullets turnovers.
But the Bullets collected themselves, fighting to a 17-13 deficit at halftime before opening the floodgates in the second half. An interception to open the third quarter provided the initial spark the Bullets needed to cruise to the 41-17 blowout in front of an announced crowd of 750 fans, most of whom were supporting the Bullets.
"We just kind of had a good talk, calmed down, got the jitters out and started playing ball," Puckett said.
The Bullets' offense and defense – both ranked first in the nation out of approximately 1,300 semi-pro teams – were on full display in the victory.
Quarterback and SMU-ex Justin Willis shined as he had all season, throwing for 510 yards and five touchdowns to go along with 86 yards rushing. A 2014 season that saw Willis rack up 5,983 yards passing and 54 touchdowns earned him the title of national Offensive MVP in semi-pro football.