COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It was raw emotion from Hardaway head coach Michael Woolridge last Saturday as he celebrated on the sidelines, yelling “We’re going to the playoffs! We’re going to the playoffs! Woo hoo!” while being doused from the cooler after his team beat Westover 15-14.
Hardaway's postseason dreams come true for the first time since 2010. "It's like a storybook ending" is the way Woolridge phrased it on Tuesday as the Hawks turned the page and went back to work as the second season begins. “To be honest, it just feels like we're on top,” said senior running back Ja’Ron Early. “We've just got to be humble and keep taking it step by step."
Senior defensive back Quentavius Vazquez added, "To make it to the playoffs is amazing, it's amazing."
It felt amazing to the Hawks to practice in November. In their minds, there's still quite a way to go before the fairy tale is truly complete.
"We celebrated, got that one day of celebration,” Vazquez said. “Now got to get back to work." That’s also how senior quarterback Dominique Ford sees it.
"Regular season is in the past, so we're focused on the next game against Eastside,” Ford said.
Entering the GHSA 4A playoffs as the four-seed from Region 1 makes them the underdog, but the Hawks believe they can make a run in the postseason and potentially finish happily ever after.
Ford’s assessment of what the Hawks have going for them as they being the playoffs? “Heart, and I want to say team effort.” Senior linebacker DeMarcus Hood sees it that way as well.
“We have some very hard-working players,” said Hood. “100% every snap of the ball, pursuing every play." Woolridge is optimistic about their chances as well.
“They work hard,” Woolridge said. “They’re going to go hard and with the playoffs that gives them incentive to work even harder so we’re going to be fine. We’re here now and we’re ready to do more.” For at least one more week their dream season continues as they try to keep the Cinderella story alive this Friday night. Kickoff versus Eastside is set for 7:30 pm ET at Sharp Stadium in Covington.