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Undefeated Fighting Hawks still flying high after big win

Published December 14, 2003

SEFFNER - Nothing beats being a winner.

Armwood High School, whose football team won the Class 4A state championship Thursday night, pulsated with excitement Friday.

"It's been hard to get the kids focused on school work," said assistant principal William Orr.

"There's a lot of tired kids and a lot of tired teachers," said wrestling coach Don Hill. "Everybody's still working on the adrenaline from last night."

The Fighting Hawks beat Lake Gibson 29-21 in Gainesville, becoming the first Hillsborough school to capture a state football championship since 1969, completing an undefeated season.

Throughout the Seffner school hung homemade posters proclaiming the victory. Secretaries answered the phones with the greeting, "Armwood state champs."

Football players walked around with their heads held higher than normal.

Josh Chadwick, who plays center for the Hawks, clutched the gold medal around his neck.

"Everybody's shaking my hand, telling me good job," he said. "They want to see my medal and touch my medal. It's just been insane."

Lindsey Davis, 15, sat on the bleachers in PE class wearing the medal belonging to her brother, the Hawks' backup quarterback.

"It makes me feel good," she said. "Every time someone says Evan Davis, I'm like, "Yeah, that's my brother."'

Davis said she thinks the school's title will only help Armwood and the rural community of Seffner.

"Everybody knows where Seffner is now," she said.

At the end of the school day, fans, cheerleaders, football players and band members paraded through the hallways. Studentsand teachers poked their heads out of classrooms, greeting the screaming parade.

Football players danced behind a banner reading: "2003 4A State Football Champions."

Coach Sean Callahan gave a string of interviews to local television stations.

"This is unbelievable," he said. "I feel like a rock star."

The parade ended in the gymnasium with an ear-splitting pep rally.

As the students spilled out of the school, 14-year-old Kristi Skelton asked wide receiver Thomas Hair to autograph her T-shirt, a keepsake.

Hair, 17, said he couldn't find the words to describe what it feels like to be a champion. Great, maybe. A blessing, perhaps. Special for sure.

He said he was on his way home to put his medal away somewhere special.

"I'm always going to remember that year I was a junior at Armwood High School," Hair said.

[Last modified December 14, 2003, 01:34:16]

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