Rematch on the horizon for Huntingdon in NCAA playoffs

The Hawks will play Birmingham Southern Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Div. III playoffs.
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:43 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Hawks are headed to the postseason, and according to head coach Mike Turk, the team couldn’t have gotten a better draw.

Huntingdon will make the quick trip up Interstate 65 to the Magic City for a rematch against Birmingham Southern on Saturday.

“They’re a really good program. Two schools that are rivals in pretty much every sport, so it works out really well I think,” said Turk about the matchup. “It should be fun to get together with those guys again. We didn’t play our best the first time; they got the better of it, so hopefully, we’ll be motivated to do better.”

The two met in week two of the season, with the Panthers winning 48-9. It was part of an 0-2 start that didn’t last long. The Hawks rattled off eight straight wins on their way to a USA-South Conference title.

The Huntingdon Hawks won the 2021 USA-South Conference championship this season.
The Huntingdon Hawks won the 2021 USA-South Conference championship this season.(Source: Huntingdon Football)

“I think it’s just a testament to the guy’s character,” said Turk. “It seems like yesterday we were in the locker room after the loss to Birmingham Southern, and things had just unraveled for us in the second half, and I can remember vividly telling them, ‘I don’t view you any differently now than I did three weeks ago; I still think this team can be really good, and I still think this team can accomplish a lot.’ They believed in each other. They kept fighting and scratching and clawing.”

This is the Panthers’ first trip to the postseason, and while it isn’t Turk’s first trip, he says it’s always special and hopes to paint Birmingham Scarlet on Saturday.

“It just never gets old because it’s so special when it does happen,” he said. “This group has earned their way, and I’m really proud of them. We’ve got a good group of followers that I’m sure will show up in Birmingham, and they’ve got good fans too, so it ought to be a great atmosphere for small college football as it always is when we play them with a little more at stake this time.”

The Hawks and the Panthers will meet Saturday, November 20 at noon at Panther Stadium.

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