JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The season is over for the Hawks, but it still began with history being made by the Hartfield football program.
Myles Mathieu has played for the Hawks for three years. He and several players are the core of this team.
“Coming into this year, these past few years, they’ve been rough. It just hadn’t been looking good. It’s been 3 and 8, 3 and 7. It’s just become a habit for the football team. My class has really emphasized that we change that and change the culture at Hartfield. And I think that what makes this team different. Is just we’ve worked harder together as a team, and I think we know what it takes to win now, and I think we want that now more than we ever had,” said Mathieu.
They ended the season 8 and 4, and 4 and 1 in their district. And won their first playoff game in school history.
But speaking with alumni and coaches, this year’s team is special, a group who’ve battled though losses and adversity over the years.
“Especially as long as I’ve been playing, we’ve never even won our first game, so to start out 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, and to get to 5-0. That was just great, it felt good,” said Mathieu.
In his senior year, he’s seen this group go from winless to win streaks. Hartfield’s season is the fruits of their labor for being resilient and focused. This season’s squad were also helped by newcomers to the team.
Hartfield’s head coach, Jeff McFerran, says this team reflects the school. A growing, diverse group who’ve started to mesh well.
“They’re very accepting of new kids across the board. Not only athletically, but just new students in general. And they’ve adapted very well and obviously have flourished on the field. Cause there’s a couple of kids that have come in and made our team much better,” said McFerran.
Senior linebacker Warren Flemming, a transfer from Jackson, is another example of Hartfield’s heart and resilience.
“I might be small, but I’m very strong. Throughout like everything that I’ve been through, people say that I’m a strong person. It’s not just me being strong. Not everybody can deal with pain in the same way is what I would say, but I took my pain and I made something great out of it. Like I took my pain and actually tried to make it out. And I want people to know, like no matter what you go through, you can make it out as long as your mind to it,” said Flemming.
Over the years, he lost both is parents to cancer and is currently being raised by his older brother.
This season he was also sidelined with a shoulder injury, but that’s not stopping him from pursuing a chance to play football in college. He says he plans to run track, stay in shape, and walk on to Southern Miss or Mississippi State.
“I didn’t let it stop me because I know there’s more that I can do now that I am injured, I can make a stronger comeback. So I plan on coming back ten times harder after this injury but while I’m injured like I said, I’m just going to go and continue to work until I cant work no more,” said Flemming.
Warren’s brother Kenneth Short II has currently been the male figure in his life. He and his aunt have been like parents for the young athlete.
“My main goal for is him to have a positive outset on life. So when he gets out here in the real world by himself. He won’t have to experience the things that I experience without a father figure or a without male figure or without people that was over my back. So you know that’s just my main focus is for him to be a successful young man in this world,” said Short II.
Coach McFerran says the season is over but the future is still bright for the Hawks.