Hard work and hunger drive Hartsville this season in football

The 2018 Hartsville High School Football Team Photo by Samantha Lyles

By Drake Horton
Contributing Writer

Hartsville – As the Hartsville Red Foxes begin to prepare for the upcoming season there are numerous stats, streaks and accolades that I could rattle off that would impress the casual fan all the way to crazy, obsessed, I have not missed a home game in 35 years fan.

The sheer volume of accomplishments over the last six years is nothing short of amazing, but for head coach Jeff Calabrese, his staff and his players, previous accomplishments are nice to talk about they mean absolutely nothing for the upcoming season.

“It’s no different than it is every year to be honest with you,” Calabrese said. “All that stuff is great, but it’s media eye candy, fan eye candy, all of the statistics and stuff like that. This football team hasn’t done anything. We haven’t won a game, we haven’t lost a game, we have a lot of work to do and even though you return some names and faces, sometimes they are in different positions, you have to try and create depth with what you have.”

To some it might come across as a bit brash, but in reality Calabrese is completely right and that is part of the reason why Hartsville has been able to sustain success for so many years now. What a previous team has done means nothing to the current team, which is why repeat champions are so few and far in-between.

It is not that it is impossible, but so many factors go into winning at such a high level like Hartsville has over the past six years. The dedication, the hard work, the overall commitment to getting better every day and previous accolades do not fall into any of the equations to attain those things.

“We are who we are,” Calabrese said. “We as coaches certainly don’t reference last year’s team. We turn the page in the January and it’s all about 2018. Certainly we have goals and aspirations that we would like to achieve, but at the end of the day if you don’t get one inch better or one foot better then you are getting worse. You are either getting one of the two every day and that is us as human beings; that’s the way we coach and that’s the way we preach to them. You have to get better today; today is an opportunity to step on the field. You can go backwards or go forward and get better.”

Heading into this season, Hartsville is going to be favored by most to make it back to the 4A state championship, and while this senior heavy team has the players to do just that, the path is not going to be easy.

“We do have quite a bit of seniors, but the bottom line is they have to get out there and work and prove that they are capable,” Calabrese said.

“The conference is extremely difficult, our non-conference is difficult. It’s in front of them and they have to go out and do it. We have a lot of work to do. We’ve worked pretty well this summer, but we have a long way to go.”

Calabrese does, however, like the makeup of this team because he believes that these players are hungry to accomplish everything possible on the football field.

“There are three ingredients to being a good teammate and one of them is being hungry and I do think this team is very hungry for achieving things on the football field,” Calabrese said. “There are some things that we have to work on, but the hunger aspect is real. They want to be a good football team. They want to make this team proud. They understand that we have a great challenge in front of us, but that is the easy part for these kids. They’ll compete, they’re hungry.”

It is that type of hunger, the hard work in the weight room, the preparation in the film room and time on the practice fields that turns a team into a champion and never the trophies from the previous seasons because trophies are notorious for doing one thing and one thing only according to Calabrese.

“Trophies collect dust,” he said.

With that being said, however, Hartsville does hope to add another trophy this season to the large collection that is collecting dust.

Author: Stephan Drew

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