Valley Preps

Hardaway ready to end long layoff with region opener at Cairo

When Hardaway takes the field in Cairo on Friday night, it will have been three weeks since the Hawks played a game.

Two weeks ago, the Hawks’ game at Lee County was canceled due to Hurrican Hermine. Last week was a scheduled week off.

“Never been through an extended off time like this,” said Hardaway coach Michael Woolridge, who is in his first season as Hardaway’s head coach after spending the last three as an assistant at Jordan. “… But it has allowed us to heal some bumps and bruises.”

The Hawks are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Troup County (21-14) and Harris County (20-17). Woolridge took over a program that had only one win its past 28 games.

Friday night’s game will be the Hawks’ first Region 1-4A contest.

“We have been practicing every day — lot of 1-on-1s, lot of scrimmaging,” Woolridge said. “We’ll be ready to go. I feel like they are like dogs in a cage, they are ready to be let go.”

Woolridge said he is not concerned about his team being rusty.

“It was a positive time to clean up some things from first two games,” he said. “We had a lot of penalties …. We have worked to fix and clean up those things.”

The Syrupmakers, one of the region favorites when the season started, are 2-1 with wins over Thomasville and Bainbridge and a loss to Thomas County Central. This is also their region opener.

“Cairo has been a good program, back from when I was a player,” Woolridge said. “I feel like the kids will be ready.

“I told them if they want to be considered the best, then you have to beat the best. The question I have asked them this week is: Are you a pretender or a contender?”

Note: This was scheduled to be a home game for Hardaway, but the Hawks sold the game to Cairo for $5,000.

Kevin Price: 706-320-4493, @lesports