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Hartselle unity key to success

By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
There’s a different feel around Hartselle football this fall, the kind of feel that comes from seeing the big picture rather than the individual accomplishments.
That is a sign of maturity that comes with battling through tough times last year.
There’s a bad taste in the players’ mouths and it can’t be erased with three wins in the first three weeks of the season.
Certainly, the Tigers haven’t won any championships just three games into the season. But in winning its first three games, the team has avoided falling into the pit that destroyed last year’s team.
After opening with three straight losses to start the season in 2007, the Tigers had to battle to finish 4-7 overall with a loss in the first round of the playoffs to Cullman.
Hartselle won four of its next eight games to get into the playoffs, but the team never could overcome the horrendous start mentally.
Head coach Bob Godsey has already put 2007 in the past, and rightly so. The current Tigers bear no resemblance to the team that didn’t live up to Hartselle standards.
Getting high school athletes to understand tradition and its high price can be tough. For Godsey, that road was paved with a team closeness and a sense of urgency. Prove on the football field that last year’s four-win season wasn’t a sign of things to come.
And the first priority was become a team again with one common goal: win football games.
The change in attitude wasn’t simply brought about by a change on the calendar. The Tigers had to buy into the fact that they had ownership of Hartselle’s tradition now.
And that ownership was apparent Friday when the Tigers managed to struggle to a 7-0 lead against East Limestone.
That team-first attitude is what drives this year’s Tigers. And it also has Hartselle hitting the road to play No. 1 Russellville with a goal instead of fighting just to stay alive.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at todd.thompson@hartselleenquirer.com

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