Football to face Allen in first round of playoffs


Malley O'Carroll

Defensive end Joseph Onuwabhagbe collides with a Marcus player on Oct. 22. Onuwabhagbe has made four sacks and has averaged 2.3 tackles per game this season.

After finishing third in district, the football team will play Allen High School on Friday in the first round of playoffs. The game will be held at Allen Eagle Stadium at 7 p.m.

“Everybody saw us start the season with two really tough losses — we got outplayed and we went against two really good teams,” head coach Brian Brazil said. “We got a chance to sit down as a team and the kids got the chance [discuss] some concerns that were out there. The kids really came together and from that point on, they’ve really bonded and [become closer] as a team.”

Football secured its spot in playoffs following its game against Marcus on Oct. 22. Hebron was the second largest school in the district to advance to the playoffs, so the Hawks will be competing in the 6A Division 1 bracket. Allen also falls into the 6A Division 1 bracket and finished the regular season as first in its district. Allen’s current record against Hebron is 6-1. 

“Our motto is bring the wood, and we really want to bring the wood this week because [Allen is] a good team,” running back Fred Ware said. “They aren’t as good as they’ve been in the past, but they’re still very good, so we’re going to need to be sharp on all cylinders throughout all facets of the game.”

Last season, the team did not advance to playoffs due to having two district games canceled due to COVID-19. Although the Hawks made it to a tie breaker round to determine which teams advanced, Hebron lost and ended its season in December of 2020.  

“It feels really good to make playoffs [my senior] year,” Ware said. “We didn’t start off this season strong, but we ended up figuring out our team’s identity and how we play together.”

The Hawks ended their district season 5-2, losing to Marcus and Lewisville — the top two teams in the district. Hebron lost to Marcus 28-14 and lost to Lewisville 37-35 on a hail mary with 15 seconds left on the clock. 

“[Lewisville] was a tough loss, there’s no doubt about it,” Brazil said. “I was really proud of how they handled it and how they showed a lot of composure on their side, because it definitely was a gut-wrencher. We came back Monday morning and had our meeting, and our kids were all about getting [themselves] prepared for Allen.”

The team is continuing its regular practice schedule before and after school, adapting their drills based on the team they will be playing next. Prior to modifying practices for each opponent, the coaches review film to gain insight on the other team’s strengths. 

“[The team is] more confident [coming out of district], especially after a tough game against Lewisville,” linebacker Carter Brock said. “We took them down to the last play of the game, which was surprising. We played a really good game, and that boosted our confidence going into this week against Allen.”

Despite losing their last district game to Lewisville, Brazil said the team is still in high spirits for the first round of playoffs. 

“The thing [us coaches] preach to [the team] all year is whether you won or lost on Friday night, it’s about getting ready for the next day, because you can’t do anything about the past,” Brazil said. “All you can do is prepare for the future. That’s how they’ve prepared, and they’re looking forward to the opportunity to play Allen.”