In 2007, I was part of an elite football team; we took what God had given us and used it to bring together a community, to achieve a common goal of winning a state championship.
The North Hall Trojans were never the team to be outstanding. Many crosstown rivals hated us, and sports writers underestimated us. But, when push came to shove, the Trojans outscored their opponents 582-114 and did not lose a regular season game.
We worked hard to earn the No. 1 spot. Yet to me, all of the work and time that we as players put into the season is not what made us so much better than everyone else. It was our devotion to teamwork and our community that drove us week after week.
As the season progressed and we continued to destroy our opponents, people began to believe in us. At first we convinced the student body and parents, but after awhile, the North Hall football team brought together the whole north end of Hall County.
People who graduated from North Hall many years back and people who lived in the area were all supporting the Trojan football team. Parents of kids who attended feeder schools of North Hall were supporting the team that was slowly turning a portion of a county into a community.
Many families in the north end of Hall County posted "Go Trojans!" signs in their yards. And any passers-by might see yards painted with the Trojan mascot and fence posts painted with players' numbers. On game days, parents and their children lined the roads surrounding North Hall High School to see the mighty Trojans off to play again.
When North Hall had worked its way through the playoffs and into the Georgia Dome, the town was ecstatic. Everyone planned to go to the game, the biggest sporting event that happened to North Hall since it opened in 1957. People closed down their businesses, called in sick, and did whatever it took to make it to Atlanta to see history in the making.
Thus, when the Trojans made the trip to Atlanta and took the field, so did a new community. Every person in our stands became ONE. Previous disagreements set aside, friends reunited and a whole county fought for a common goal: To fulfill our vision to win state.
Led by our coaches, believed in by our families and supported by our community, we played our hearts out. The Trojans ended up losing the game in the Dome, and of course, we were all disappointed. But we looked back with pride at what we had done not only in our school but in our community.
Now we face the same situation. The 2008 Trojan team has defeated the odds, and we have found ourselves as state contenders once again. Tonight, the team continues down the road to the state championship, playing Dunwoody.
The Trojans are well-prepared and ready; the one factor left is the 12th man, the fans. We need for them to make a statement and fill the away side with Trojan pride.
North Hall High School
Let's take Brickyard spirit out on the road
Existing within the confines of rural North Hall functions a smaller, well-defined, active community known as North Hall Trojan football.
This microcosm boasts many loyal members: 77 teenaged boys, numerous coaches, trainers, a chaplain, medical personnel, cheerleaders, band, parents and a committed fan group. During the fall of the year, each individual dismisses his or her personal interests to support Friday night football.
On Friday nights in The Brickyard, the new community comes to life. Flags go up all around the stadium. Fans attach banners to fences and walls around campus, while black and green balloons fly. Students paint their bodies and proudly display their spirit wear. Teachers by day become coaches by night.
Players donning jerseys all marked with different numbers take the field, sharing a common goal: to make their community proud, to leave it all out on the field, and to make The Brickyard the most exciting place to be on a Friday night in the fall.
The fans, the largest and perhaps most important segment of this group, come from all walks of life bringing their own attachments to the team. Regardless of the weather or the win-loss record, these die-hards show up to rally the troops and give them their unconditional support. Cheering, chanting, ringing cowbells, blaring air horns, the fans provide the inspiration and determination for the players to keep on playing.
The football team brings a sense of family to the community. On Friday night, everyone shares a common purpose: to cheer for the teacher's son running the ball, the home builder's boy making the tackle, the banker's son catching the pass or the salesman's son scoring the touchdown. A family needs every member present and engaged to be successful, and the football family is no exception.
This Friday night, the Trojans will attempt to win a playoff game on the road, something we've never done before. Without the home-field advantage, we desperately need the roar of the home fans to bring the feel of The Brickyard to a new stadium.
North Hall High School