by Aaron Garcia
It seems that two months after falling in the Class 4A state title game, the Porter Ridge High football team’s magical season still had some gas in its tank.
On Feb. 14, the team gathered at the Indian Trail Town Council meeting to be honored by Mayor Michael Alvarez and the town council.
The Pirates finished the season with a 14-1 record and claimed the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference title before reaching the state championship game in Winston-Salem, where they fell to Scotland, 42-16.
“It’s very humbling,” coach Blair Hardin said of the recognition from the town council. “If you do things the right way and you’re around good people, opportunities like this happen. I’m fortunate to have good kids, good coaches and a good administration. I’m just happy to be part of this experience.”
Added kicker Matt Wogan: “It just shows we’re gaining the respect we’ve worked for. It feels good and shows that our hard work has paid off.”
It was the first time the Indian Trail Town Council had honored one of the town’s high school athletic teams. Such a recognition highlights the strides the Pirates athletics department has made since the school’s opening in 2004.
“I think it speaks highly (of us),” said athletics director Bill Rogers. “We’ve made some good progress in going on seven years now. When you look at the football program, we went from winless (in 2005) to the state championship game and were one win away from winning it all. I think it speaks highly of our program, and we’re happy for our kids and our coaches.”
The players were surprised to learn that many of the town council members were regular spectators at their games. That further fostered the feeling of community behind their accomplishment, said running back Najee Davis.
“It’s great because when you’re playing, you only hear from your fellow students and your parents; you never hear from a town aspect,” Davis said. “Honestly, I never knew most of them were there. For them to come up (during the town council ceremony) and know me by name and recognize me and my teammates, it lets us know we really accomplished something.” q