HAMPTON — Hampton High School will enter 2019 with a huge chip on their shoulder following a year where things may have gotten away from them.
Hampton is a team that's been capable of making a run for the Georgia High School Association state playoffs but just haven't crossed over that hump yet. At one point in the program's history, a win was being searched for, and now they're able to hang their hats on a four-win season.
2019 will be a year where they're going to have to search for more in Chad Ashley's sixth year. They're better off now in 2019 with one year under their belts in Class AAAA competition and should be in the playoff picture this time around.
In 2018, the Hornets struggled against the region powerhouse teams. Against Salem, the first half of the game saw the program looking at a 26-0 deficit. The Hornets pulled themselves to 17 in the game but couldn't overcome their foe.
Against Woodward, the Hornets were able to reach the scoreboard in the first half, but it was only a field goal. Woodward was able to score in each quarter of the first showdown leaving Hampton with a 36-12 loss.
It's also worth noting that the Hornets also lost to McDonough High sending them to the postseason for the first time since 2011 and Eastside.
The Hornets will kick off the season on their new turf field against Fayette County in August but an awkwardly placed bye week follows with two non-region road games against Sandy Creek and LaGrange kicking off September.
The region slate finally begins Sept. 20 as Salem visits the Hornets at home. The second bye week of the season comes right before their away game against North Clayton High School in October.
The rivalry re-ignites between Luella and Hampton on Oct. 11. This game is predicted to go either way and would be a real treat for the Hornets to put their rival away for the second time in two seasons.
The Hornets will be on the road right after Luella to face Woodward Academy before returning home to welcome McDonough (formerly Henry County) High to their turf. The Hornets' final home game of the season falls appropriately on Nov. 1 against Druid Hills.
The season will conclude on the road against Eastside High who lost in the quarterfinals against Blessed Trinity during the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Goodman’s Take: It had to be a season of what-ifs for Hampton in 2018. The program just missed the playoffs to McDonough High and was biding time in the offseason over it. With Eastside, Salem and Woodward considered the top teams of Region 4-AAAA once more, the Hornets will be battling for the No. 4 spot once more. It's unsure of how the bottom of the bracket will look but the Hornets will have to win over Luella, North Clayton, McDonough High and Druid Hills to have a chance at the postseason.
Salem is also winnable and would go great to helping them punch their first state playoff appearance in school history.
2019 Hampton Schedule
Aug. 23 Fayette County
Sept. 6 at Sandy Creek
Sept. 13 at LaGrange
Sept. 20 Salem
Oct. 4 at North Clayton
Oct. 11 Luella
Oct. 18 at Woodward Academy
Oct. 25 Henry County
Nov. 1 Druid Hills
Nov. 7 at Eastside