“They found some rhythm in what they want to do, and you hear their coach talking about how after our game, they kind of came into their own,” Parkinson said. “No doubt they’re an improved team from when we last saw them, but we’re improved as well.”
Improved is maybe something of an understatement. The Hawks have won eight games in a row, with six of those wins being shutouts and the closest margin of victory being 21 points. One thing Parkinson mentioned before the team’s 41-0 victory over Montezuma last week was his excitement for seeing the community rally around the team.
“We talk a lot about this being a Hawk family and we want everyone to enjoy the ride just as much as the players,” Parkinson said, “I think after the Monte game, you could just see on the fans’ faces that they knew what the team could accomplish.”
This season wasn’t all smiles and shutouts, however. The Hawks lost their first game to Class 1A’s Pella Christian 40-19 and were 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the district at one point early on. However, with that 33-7 victory over the Bears on Sept. 14, the Hawks also seemed to figure out what they wanted to do for the rest of the season.
“We were going to get there, so we needed the fans to stay confident, and they did,” Parkinson said. “We were able to rally the troops after that rough start and the guys have really come together. That just goes to show that at home, in the community and at school that message has come across and people believe what we’re doing.”
Now, eight games later, the Hawks bring one of the hottest offenses and stoutest defenses to the table for this Class A quarterfinal game. Their turnaround this season is comparable to the program’s turnaround in the past two years, considering the Hawks went just 3-6 in 2010.
Parkinson isn’t one for looking at the past, however. Continually crediting his assistant coaches and the work his players have done over the past year, he has the Hawks looking toward nothing but the future. And in particular, 7 p.m. tonight.
“Our philosophy is not to look back, but to take care of what we can right now,” Parkinson said. “Hopefully we can continue for a few more weeks, but it’s been awful fun, and it’s not just a one-guy turnover type of thing. It’s been my assistant coaches, the kids buying into the program and the community support. At the end of the day I get the wins and losses, but it’s really one big family and you’ve got to embrace it like that.”