Head Football Coach Sean Callahan told his team at halftime that they were going to win the game, that the Armwood Hawks would not go down in defeat to the Jefferson Dragons, despite the team's 21-7 lead going into the third quarter of play.
"I don't want to sound like a prophet but we told them at halftime that we were going to win this game," Callahan said in a post-game interview. "Coming back like that says something about the character of the team."
Jefferson gave Armwood a good run for its money, Callahan added, making the Hawks taste an even sweeter victory (35-21), and one that he described as "awesome" in his post-game huddle review for his players.
"I'm telling you, I'm so proud to be with you guys," Callahan told his players. "There was no quitting."
Winning after trailing by as much as 21 points "doesn't happen often," he said. "It doesn't happen often, you won't forget this night."
Armwood is 4-1 in regular season play, with two wins and no losses in conference play.
The Jefferson win follows Armwood's 49-0 shutout victory against the Leto Falcons on Sept. 21. That victory marked Callahan's 200th win as coach of the Hawks, not counting this summer's Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) ruling that stripped the team's 2011 state title, and 25 wins over a two-season span, because of ineligible players.
Callahan spoke frankly about the investigation, and the toll it has played on both the coaches and the players. "I still have my job," he said, grateful for being able to make that declaration.
"With the investigation, we're a close group," he added. "Our team, our parents, we're going through a tough time."
The fans have rallied, sporting black T-shirts with white letters that read, "We're Still Here."
Jefferson marks the second time this season that Armwood did not deliver a shutout. In the second game of the season, the Hawks lost to the American Heritage (Plantation) Stallions (28-36).
In other season play, the Hawks shut out the Brandon Eagles (55-0), the Tampa Bay Tech Titans (30-0) and the Leto Falcons (49-0).
When asked if it was sweeter to win his 200th victory on Sept. 21 or to watch his players come from behind to defeat Jefferson 35-21, Callahan simply said: "Obviously, every night is sweet with these guys. I like being around them."
The Hawks on Oct. 5 will play the Sickles Gryphons at home, at the Lyle Flagg Stadium in Seffner, at 7:30 p.m. The Gryphons are coming off their Sept. 28 win against the Brandon Eagles (37-14).
- Armwood Shuts Out Leto for Callahan's Milestone 200th Victory
- Callahan in Huddle Tells Hawks To Learn From Loss to Stallions (Video)
ARMWOOD HAWKS 2012 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE / SCORESDate Opponent Field Score / Time Sept. 1 Brandon Armwood Win (55-0) Sept. 7 American Heritage Armwood Loss (36-28) Sept. 14 Tampa Bay Tech TBT Win (30-0) Sept. 21 Leto Leto Win (49-0) Sept. 28 Jefferson Armwood Win (35-21) Oct. 5 Sickles Armwood 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 Strawberry Crest S. Crest 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 Hillsborough Hillsborough 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Plant Plant 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 King Armwood 7:30 p.m. Armwood in two-quarter preseason play beat Gibbs (35-0)