CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- On Friday night, Hickory football will make history simply by taking the field.
Friday's playoff game against Kempsville will mark the first ever postseason appearance in the 26-year existence of the Hawks' program.
"The crowd, the fans, the community, the school, even the players, they're extremely excited right now," said Hickory head coach Donnell Brown. "I'm happy for the kids. They've been putting in work, especially the seniors, four years of hard work and dedication, and they're given an opportunity to have another week of football."
Hickory clinched its spot in the Region 5A bracket with a 38-30 victory over Lakeland on Friday night. The Hawks enter as the No. 7 seed with a 4-6 record. It will mark an uphill battle, as they'll face a Chiefs team that is 7-1 on the year and earned the No. 2 seed in the region, but Brown's group isn't just satisfied with just getting into the postseason. Now that the Hawks are there, they want to make some noise.
"I always joke around that the quarters seem to get a little shorter in the playoffs, just because the plays are magnified," Brown smiled. "That's kind of the message we're preaching to our guys all week- let's be smart, let's do the right things and make the right plays and go out and play all-out for four quarters and see what happens."
Brown is coaching at his alma mater. He pointed out that some of his players did not realize they had made history with the playoff berth, but he wants them to be proud of what they've accomplished.
"These kids are the ones that deserve all the praise," he said. "The resiliency that this group has shown this year, given earlier in the year when some people thought maybe we were going to go to an 0-10 record. The way these kids bounced back, they deserve every bit of this."
This match-up will feature two teams putting together storybook seasons. While Hickory is making its first postseason showing, Kempsville posted its first winning season since 2009. The Chiefs snapped a 65 game losing streak in 2019 and are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Hickory and Kempsville kick off at 7:00 PM on the Chiefs' home field. For an updated look at the playoff schedule involving our area teams, visit our Postseason Central page.