4 Questions with Hapeville Charter head coach Winston Gordon

Winston Gordon (center, hat) has coached the Hornets since the program's inaugural season in 2011. (Adam Krohn)
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Winston Gordon (center, hat) has coached the Hornets since the program's inaugural season in 2011. (Adam Krohn)

Today’s interviewee is Hapeville Charter coach Winston Gordon, whose team defeated No. 6 Jefferson 12-10 in the Class 4A first round last week. Hapeville has won five consecutive games after a 1-5 start.

Winston Gordon, Hapeville Charter head coach

1. What did Friday’s game reveal about your team? “I don’t think it revealed anything to our staff, as we have been around these kids for the first summer since restrictions were lifted. I think it may be revealed to everyone else who doubted the talent and toughness of our program that we can play with anyone. These student-athletes are some of the best in the country. These players take on arguably one of the toughest schedules in any classification of GHSA football and gave 100% every snap.”

2. What was the difference in the game? What were you able to do that gave Jefferson problems? “The turnover early was the difference in them having the lead at the half, but it also was the wake-up for us. We didn’t do anything different; it was just a hard-nosed defensive effort on both sides of two teams that are well-coached.”

3. You thought you had a top-10 team in preseason, but you didn’t play like one early. Did it surprise you that you struggled so much? What was going on then? “I still think we have a top team. I wouldn’t say we struggled early as much as we were building chemistry. Nothing simulates live game experience, and to add fuel to the fire to play larger top-rated schools early is a task for any program.” [Hapeville has lost to Milton, Woodward Academy and Pebblebrook, teams in higher classifications that are or were ranked. Hapeville’s last loss came against No. 1 Marist 28-20 on Oct. 6.]

4. What has happened over the second half of the season? Obviously the teams you played the first half of the season were better, but it seems like it started around the Marist game, even though you lost that one. “Well, even in the early defeats we still had so many bright things that we saw. We knew once we got in region play, we would be ready to compete. Sometimes it takes a minute for a team to gel and for players to accept coaching. When all those things fall in line, then you have a dangerous team.”

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