The saying ‘Good things come to those who wait’ has come to fruition for the people of Red Oak.
Friday night, the Red Oak Hawks defeated the Ennis Lions 24-12 for the first time since 1992. The victory also propelled the Hawks into the playoffs for the first time since 1984, igniting a spark in the community that has been absent for more than two decades.
Red Oak athletic director Mike Burns was at the game to experience first hand the significance of the victory.
“It was electric,” Burns said. “We had a good crowd there and it was a thrilling environment.”
Burns was also witness to the appreciation of the community after the game.
“After the game on the way home, the community showed their support at the new What-A-Burger,” Burns said. “Cars were lined up waving at the buses and honking their horns. Also, back at the school, there was a pretty large contingent of people to greet the players and the coaches.”
Red Oak High School principal Bobby Stults also attended the game.
“We are very proud of our kids and coaches,” Stults said. “And there is a lot of excitement here. We are seeing it spread throughout not only our school but to the community, as well.”
Stults said he hopes the victory over Ennis is a launching pad to continued success.
“They’ve (Ennis) won championships,” Stults said. “We hope this can be a starting point of our program.”
Burns credits the accomplishments to the work of first-year head coach Mike Shields.
“Coach Mike Shield was the right coach to have and the kids have total belief in him,” Burns said. “They work extremely well with each other. He brought in a winning attitude here and it shows.”
Red Oak ISD Superintendent Scott Niven said it’s a winning formula.
“I’ve been so impressed with the commitment to success that the coaching staff and team have,” Niven said. “They are beginning to realize the potential they have and that they can complete in this competitive district in any sport. This is only the beginning.”
The newfound success in the football program and the continued winning tradition of the volleyball program are providing a sense of excitement.
“With the way both programs are doing you can feel the vibe in the community,” Burns said. “It’s more upbeat.”
Red Oak ISD police Sgt. Lori Guarnaro agrees there’s a shift in excitement in the community.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Guarnaro said in response to the football team’s accomplishment. “It’s a great day to be a Hawk.
“They have never done that (make playoffs) since I’ve been here,” said Guarnaro, a 13-year veteran. “It boosts the city’s morale and it makes the people happier and happy people make our lives easier.”
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