Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) - Last Friday night, the Randolph football team set a school record with its 5th win of the season. Sure the Raiders are excited, but not even remotely satisfied. Back in August first-time head coach Nick Flanagan established a goal of making the playoffs, which would be a first for the program.
"There's something special about this group, there's something special about this group of seniors, I told you that at the beginning of the year," Flanagan said before practice this week.
We cover dozens of teams preseason,and honestly, most feel like they're special that time of year. Two months later, it's obvious this particular team meant what they said. Randolph controls its own destiny, meaning one more win, and they're in.
But why now, after 16 years of futility and losing? Why is 2015 the year Randolph breaks through for its fifth win? Flanagan will never admit to this, but he is the difference. The youngest head football coach in Alabama is connecting with his players on a different level.
"A younger coach relates to us better," senior Griffin Widner says. "If we are having a bad day or something, he gets that because he was here not too long ago."
Fellow senior Jackson Samples agrees. "There's only so many minutes in a Friday night, but the stuff he does outside of football is what really matters. He's created a culture where he cares for us and in return we care for him."
That culture is transforming to belief. Belief in the process of what it takes to win football games. Belief in each other based on the values coach Flanagan is bringing to his team of winners.
"Make sure everything you do is for that guy beside you and that Raider across your chest. We want selfless guys that can combine to one heartbeat and be a team."