Eagles Soar: Fans wish Hanna football luck in sendoff
For the Golden Eagles family, Thanksgiving this year involved making a stop at Hanna to wish the football team good luck ahead of its area playoff game against Eagle Pass.
The Golden Eagles departed from Hanna Early College High School Thursday and headed to Incarnate Word University in hopes of keeping their postseason alive.
“This is a feeling I thought I would never experience,” Hanna senior Doug Tolman said. “All the hard work we put in the summer and throughout the season, it all comes down to this. Honestly, no words can describe what I’m feeling right now.”
Tolman, who is part of the Golden Eagles offensive line, said this year, his family’s Thanksgiving meal was two hours earlier than usual, but it is all worth it to represent Brownsville.
“We’re not only playing for each other; we’re playing for all the people who take time out of their day to come and support us,” he said. “This is their Thanksgiving and they came out and wish us good luck before we take off. That means so much to me, the coaches and the whole team.”
Hanna will face off against the Eagle Pass Eagles at 3 p.m. today.
More than 30 Golden Eagles family members and fans gathered at the school despite the weather conditions as the team prepared for its playoff trip to San Antonio.
Head coach Mark Guess said he and the rest of the team appreciate all the support the community has shown all season.
Guess said having the opportunity to represent Brownsville in San Antonio against Eagle Pass is an amazing feeling for him and the Golden Eagles.
"I remember when Billy Garza was playing at Porter and I was actually at Corpus (Christi) at that time and we went to that game Gregory-Portland, just the number, massive number, of people who showed up to that game really surprised me,” he said. “For us to be able to do something magical like that, similar to how the Rivera team did a few years ago, it’s an awesome feeling. To be able to represent our city and community in a good and positive light, it’s a really good feeling.”
Hanna Principal Blanca Lambarri was on site Thursday to wish the Golden Eagles good luck.
Lambarri gave the team a short pep talk and thanked them for representing not only Hanna, but the entire Brownsville community.
“They have all our support and we’ve always been supporting them throughout the year,” she said. “They make us so proud. This means a lot to Hanna. We are a team and the community is part of the team. We play hard and it’s always nice to have their support. The Golden Eagles play to win and I know the kids are going to go out there and play with their hearts on the field.”
Parents of the Hanna players brought signs and honked their car horns as the Golden Eagles took off to San Antonio.
Hilda and John Williams, parents of Hanna offensive lineman Zachary Williams, arrived at the school early to drop off their son and did not leave until wishing the whole team luck.
“We wish them the best of luck,” Hilda Williams said. “They’re making history. They’re representing Brownsville. We’re just very proud of them. The whole team, coach Guess and all the coaches.”
The Williams family, who were also joined by Zachary’s grandmother, Elia, said this year’s Thanksgiving was “very different” than any other one, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
"We are very thankful,” Hilda Williams said. “This is a blessing not only for the Hanna Eagles, but for all of Brownsville because they are representing the city.”
An area playoff game at San Antonio is something new for the Golden Eagles, who for more than 20 years had not won a postseason game.
The last time Hanna football was in the playoffs was 1996, where it was eliminated in the first round.
What makes this team different from other teams in the past is our tight relationship with each other,” Tolman said. “We’re all teammates and we’re all brothers who always look out for each other. We’re ready to make history.”