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HATLEY, Miss. (WCBI) — A rise in talent and results is happening at Hatley rapidly.

The Tigers were at one time the homecoming opponent for many schools in the viewing area. That’s not the case anymore.

Aug 21 Potts Camp home
Aug 28 Smithville away
Sept 4 Hamilton home
Sept 11 Alcorn Central away
Sept 18 Mantachie away
Sept 25 Houlka home
Oct 2 South Pontotoc* away
Oct 9 Aberdeen* away
Oct 16 North Pontotoc* home
Oct 23 Nettleton* away
Oct 30 Mooreville* away
*District games

Head coach Patrick Schoolar has built the Tigers into a potential playoff team year in and year out but making it back to the postseason will be a new challenge as they move up to class 3A.

“The competition will be better of course,” Schoolar said. “But what we played last year wasn’t a slop. We just have to continue to get better and play hard.”

2014 was a big year for the Hatley Tigers.

For one, the school enjoyed their best season record-wise since 1997. And the other more important accomplishment was the Tigers clinching their first playoff birth in school history.

Last year is now the foundation for Hatley as they make the leap into 3A but they will come prepared with an offense that returns 1,400 yard rusher Chance Lindsey and super athlete Jaylon Jernighan.

“The offense we put in will help us utilize those kids a little more,” Schoolar siaid. “We’ll be able to get the ball in different players’ hands this year.”

Now that the Tigers have made it into the postseason, there’s the yearning for more.

Coach Schoolar has seen a mindset change at Hatley, which is no pushover in football anymore.

They want to use that to their advantage when they set their expectations for 2015.

“We want to keep winning,” Schoolar said. “We’re trying to build a winning program here. No matter who you play, you have to compete to win.

“Our kids are tough. They’re gritty and they’ve gotten a taste of winning and they like it.”

With their new division in 3A that has the likes of Aberdeen, Mooreville, Nettleton, North Pontotoc and South Pontotoc, the Tigers look forward to the new challenge ahead of them in 2015.

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