North Hall football coach Bob Christmas didn’t want to turn a blind-eye to the possibility of adversity to an otherwise talented team when the season began.
Before the season began, Christmas said, "This team is going to face adversity at some point during the season, and how react is going to determine how good we are going to be."
Well, consider the Trojans (13-0) fortunate not to have to overcome any such adverse conditions.
As North Hall went through its final practice on Thursday, before a AAA semifinal game against Cairo, the Trojans were proof that some team can find a complimentary balance between skill and luck.
As well as North Hall played all season, it never had to deal with critical injuries, discontent or over-inflated egos to bring its hopes crashing down, according to Christmas.
"We’ve been blessed this season," Christmas said this week. "We’ve had a couple of injuries, but not to any full-time starters.
"And often times, you have to deal with bad attitudes but we haven’t had any of that to deal with either.
"Our players have bought into the team concept and we have really good leadership."
This isn’t the first time in Christmas’ coaching career he’s been in such a fortunate situation. In 1991, he led Jefferson Forest (Va.) to the state title game under similar fortunate circumstances.
Christmas credits his team’s success this season to the 10 core values that the North Hall players treat as a foundation for anything they strive to achieve: including focus on the team, leaders, respect and equal opportunity.
"Our entire team gives back to what we are trying to accomplish," sophomore linebacker Robert Humphrey said. "And each week our team gets better."
North Hall players also feel the same grateful feeling for making it to this junction in the season stronger than when they started. The Trojans need a win Saturday to play the Carver-Columbus/Chamblee winner in the state championship game next weekend.
"We just practice hard everyday," North Hall senior Dylon Wolf said. "We’re ready to seize the opportunity and get to play for the state title."
Here’s what North Hall’s accomplished this season: the Trojans set a new school record with wins (13), first trip to the state semifinals, most points in a season (582), touchdowns in a season (85), average points per game (45), only the second undefeated regular season in school history and a Region 7-AAA title.
But one goal that set the tone for the season is still on the table. The Trojans’ seniors don’t want to finish the season without the school’s first football state title.
And the North Hall players have learned through this banner season that a lot of hard work can bring about big results.
"All our hard work has paid off," senior lineman Alex Tasich said.
"But we’re still not satisfied yet."