/playoffs/2015/huntingdon-first-win

Huntingdon makes history

More news about: Huntingdon
Anthony White carries the ball a lot for a defensive player. He added his eighth interception of the season in the Hawks' first playoff victory.
Huntingdon athletics photo

By Adam Turer
D3sports.com

Ten of the 32 teams in the 2015 playoffs had a chance to make history by earning their program's first ever tournament win. Only one delivered.

Huntingdon, making its second playoff appearance, defeated Hendrix and earned a trip to the second round at Mary Hardin-Baylor. The 2015 Hawks squad will forever be known as the first Huntingdon team to win a playoff game.

"I'm really excited and blessed to be a part of this team," said junior quarterback Luke Bailey. "We felt the frustration. We've been so close, but it seems like every year we let one game get away from us."

The Hawks are in just their 13th year of football, and third year as a member of the USA South conference. The past two seasons, the Hawks were one win away from earning at least a share of the conference title. This year, they broke through with a 9-1 season and perfect conference record. The team last qualified for the postseason as an at-large independent in 2009. That game ended in a 56-35 home loss to Mississippi College.

Head coach Mike Turk has been at the helm since 2004, the program's second season. He has led the Hawks to all 80 of the program's victories.

"This is what we set out to do a long time ago," he said. "It took longer than we wanted it to, but it's a great feeling. This group has been able to see things through and finish the job."

The Hawks (10-1) became the first USA South team to ever post a ten-win season. Huntingdon had previously won eight games in a season, in 2008 and 2009.

"I'm proud of what this group has been able to accomplish," said Turk. "We're just happy to be playing another week."

At the same time, the Hawks are far from satisfied with their historic season. That drive is what has carried them to their most impressive victories late in the year. The Hawks dismantled conference runner-up Maryville at home on Nov. 7, then took care of business against Hendrix two weeks later.

"I told them that I don't think they've played their best game yet. I still don't," said Turk. "They haven't gotten to the point where they feel like they've arrived. They've stayed hungry week in and week out. That, as much as anything, has been the difference. We've steadily gotten better as the season has gone on. Not every team does that."

Playing in front of their home crowd in the opening round was an advantage, which helped the team rally from an early 17-7 deficit. The Hawks have won seven straight home games and this year's team became the second in program history to go undefeated at Charles Lee Field at Samford Stadium.

"We believe we're a pretty tough team to beat at home," said Bailey.

The first people to celebrate with the Hawks after the win on Saturday were recent alumni who fell short of reaching this level of success. To share in that moment and sing the fight song with the players who laid the foundation for this team was special, said Bailey. He and his teammates finished what the teams before them started.

"That was awesome," said the junior quarterback. "To be able to put the nail in the coffin [and win a playoff game], that really motivates us."

The Hawks defeated Hendrix by sticking to the balanced attack that has worked for Huntingdon all season. John Iwaniec returned after missing two games and rushed for 122 yards and three scores on 17 carries. Bailey passed for 230 yards and a score and rushed for 74 and a touchdown. The Hawks passed for 230 yards and rushed for 239. They average 221.5 passing and 253.8 rushing yards per game.

"It starts with the offensive line and our running game," said Bailey. "With our balanced attack, it's been pretty tough to beat."

Anthony White picked off a pass for the third week in a row and now has eight interceptions on the season. The Hawks have picked off 17 passes this year, and Bailey has thrown just six interceptions while tossing 26 touchdown passes.

Now, the Hawks get a trip to Texas to face No. 13 Mary Hardin-Baylor. It will take a disciplined and balanced effort to hang with the playoff-savvy Crusaders. The team is in uncharted territory, but plans to prepare for the biggest game in program history just as it has for each week leading up to this moment.

"It all started with the attitude and commitment level in December and January," said Turk. "This is a very special group. They just seem to understand and really get it, what has to be done on a weekly basis to prepare to play.

"We know that this opportunity could be once in a lifetime."

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Stevenson 33, Wilkes 21
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at RPI 31, Hobart 24
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at MIT 13, Coast Guard 0
Video Box Score
Final
Norwich 15, at Maine Maritime 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Moravian 31, Juniata 14
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Dean 53, Gallaudet 21
Box Score
Final
Endicott 45, at Becker 13
Video Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
SUNY-Maritime 68, at Castleton 41
Video Box Score
Final
at Trinity (Texas) 28, Sewanee 14
Video Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
Video Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 29, at Brevard 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Misericordia 37, FDU-Florham 33
Video Box Score
Final
Union 29, at St. Lawrence 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Ithaca 28, Rochester 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Colby 23, Hamilton 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Middlebury 35, Bates 34
Video Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 48, at Bowdoin 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Springfield 23, at Catholic 11
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Amherst 33, at Wesleyan 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Plymouth State 17, Massachusetts Maritime 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Husson 54, Anna Maria 14
Box Score
Final
TCNJ 13, at Kean 8
Video Box Score
Final
Carnegie Mellon 41, at Thiel 7
Video Box Score
Final
Salve Regina 30, at Curry 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
King's 37, at Albright 26
Video Box Score
Final
Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
Video Box Score
Final - OT
Susquehanna 41, at Ursinus 35
Video Video Box Score
Final
Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 70, University of New England 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 35, at Dickinson 14
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
Box Score
Final
at Emory and Henry 52, Shenandoah 50
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wabash 32, Oberlin 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 38, Guilford 35
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Randolph-Macon 44, Bridgewater 41
Video Box Score Recap Audio Audio
Final
Cortland 56, at Hartwick 3
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Denison 27, Ohio Wesleyan 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Waynesburg 12, at St. Vincent 10
Video Box Score
Final
Salisbury 33, at Southern Virginia 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Methodist 42, Greensboro 6
Video Box Score
Final
Christopher Newport 39, at William Paterson 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Albion 49, at Adrian 42
Video Box Score
Final
Thomas More 35, at St. Scholastica 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 25, Minnesota-Morris 7
Video Box Score
Final
Lake Forest 24, at Grinnell 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Greenville 41, Crown 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Merchant Marine 25, WPI 24
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Tufts 28, Williams 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Ohio Northern 49, at Capital 46
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Baldwin Wallace 35, at Wilmington 33
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at Lycoming 52, Alvernia 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Rose-Hulman 44, Anderson 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Franklin 64, Earlham 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 48, at Manchester 14
Video Box Score
Final
Mount St. Joseph 20, at Defiance 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Utica 30, Alfred 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Maryville (Tenn.) 37, at LaGrange 17
Video Box Score
Final
Framingham State 27, at Westfield State 2
Video Box Score
Final
Morrisville State 35, at St. John Fisher 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Muskingum 21, Otterbein 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final - OT
at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
Video Box Score Recap Live stats Audio
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Wooster 28, Hiram 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Allegheny 54, at Kenyon 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Nebraska Wesleyan 23, Luther 15
Video Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
Video
Final
at Eureka 50, Benedictine 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
Box Score
Final
Chicago 63, at Beloit 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia (Wis.) 45, Concordia-Chicago 34
Video Box Score
Final
Aurora 25, at Rockford 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Bethel 41, Concordia-Moorhead 13
Box Score
Final
Lakeland 38, at Wisconsin Lutheran 12
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Gustavus Adolphus 42, Augsburg 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Dubuque 38, at Buena Vista 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Ripon 58, Macalester 34
Video Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 51, Cornell 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Simpson 38, Loras 33
Video Box Score
Final
at Knox 20, Illinois College 6
Video
Final
UW-Stout 31, at UW-Stevens Point 27
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 14, at Elmhurst 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at MacMurray 20, Iowa Wesleyan 13
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at UW-Platteville 16
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mass-Dartmouth 41, Worcester State 27
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at Wartburg 47, Central 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Birmingham-Southern 47, Austin 35
Video Box Score
Final
Centre 41, at Rhodes 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Carroll 23, North Park 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Kalamazoo 17, Alma 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 33, Willamette 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Averett 45, Huntingdon 17
Video Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Lee 38, at Ferrum 35
Video Box Score
Final
at Pacific 54, Lewis and Clark 22
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Redlands 35, at La Verne 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 27, at Occidental 7
Video Box Score
Final
Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hope 35, Olivet 30
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final - 4OT
at Western Connecticut 50, Bridgewater State 48
Video Box Score Live stats
Final
Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Sul Ross State 28, Howard Payne 27
Video
Final
East Texas Baptist 48, at Louisiana College 27
Video
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
St. Norbert 46, at Lawrence 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Pomona-Pitzer 42, Whittier 17
Video Box Score
Final
Chapman 33, at Cal Lutheran 29
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at RPI 31, Hobart 24
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
Video Box Score
Final
Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
Video Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
Video Box Score Recap Live stats Audio
Final
at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
Video Video Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
Video
Final
Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
Box Score
Final
North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
Video Box Score Photos