It took a little while longer than head coach Marty Paxton or the Hickory Ridge High School football team probably would have liked — even moreso after the team’s final game of the season was delayed because of rain — but after a season of improvement, the Bulls notched the first win in the school’s history Monday, and did so in commanding fashion.
Having followed the team with interest this year, I can confidently say that a win in the final game of the season is a big win for the future of a program, now in its infancy.
From the team’s first day of practice, Paxton said the goal for the season was to improve each and every week and to establish a strong foundation on which to build a successful program in the years to come.
His expectations were realistic. With a team that, in its inaugural season, wouldn’t have seniors, Paxton knew his job was to build leaders and give his players the experience they will need to be successful in the future.
Speaking of experience, it should be noted that the Ragin’ Bulls first game of the season — a 56-0 rout at the hands of Mount Pleasant High School — was the first varsity football game any of the Hickory Ridge players had played in before. Before this year, they had no such varsity football experience.
But, as their coach requested, the young team worked hard to improve week after week.
And improve they did, finishing their season with a hard-fought 43-14 win over South Piedmont 3A conference rival Piedmont High School.
We at Harrisburg Horizons want to congratulate the team on their well-deserved victory, and to recognize their effort and commitment throughout the season.
We encourage them to take the satisfaction of their first win and use that as motivation to continue to work hard in the off season and to return next year with the same energy and vigor — but much more experience — in hopes of continuing the winning tradition.
Jonathan E. Coleman