Flying Squadron reflects on historic championship journey

Published 9:36 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

By Jessica Bodiford and Haley Mitchell Godwin
Special to The Luverne Journal

Last week the Highland Home Flying Squadron played an electrifying game at the BJCC Legacy Arena in Birmingham against the Mars Hill Bible Panthers. Despite a 56-42 loss, the Flying Squadron’s journey to the Class 2A championship game put a substantial notch in the belt of the school’s athletic program, making history as the first team since the school’s inception to reach the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 2A championship game.

After a week of reflection, the pride head coach Justin Cope has for his team is as strong as ever.

Email newsletter signup

“I will always be so very proud of how the team fought and played hard all season,” Cope said.  “They were kind of hard on themselves to begin with, but I think they have now realized just how big of an accomplishment they have made. It’s always hard being close to winning the championship but to fall short in the end is very tough. However, to be able to compete for the state title, and to be the first in school history to do so is something these players should take immense pride in. They worked extremely hard this season and I couldn’t be any prouder to see how far they have come, not just as athletes but as young men.”

Senior player Brice Mckenzie, who contributed 11 points in the championship game, said that the team’s collaborate effort it was got them to state.

“The team got to make history this season because of the effort and focus that everybody sacrificed to be successful,” Mckenzie said. “The long hard practices, long film sessions and even all the ice baths and stretches to keep our bodies in good enough shape to give our best effort. I am proud of this team for sticking together and blocking out all of the outside noise. We never gave up in practice or in games and we never will give up anything in life. We are hard workers and worked hard for everything we earned this year.”

Rising star Jakaleb Faulk has similar feelings regarding the positive attributes that propelled the Flying Squadron to the championship.

“I’m proud of my team because we didn’t give up and we made it to where we wanted to be,” Faulk said. “We just didn’t finish, but we made it to where we are because of hard work, dedication and determination.”

As the Highland Home Flying Squadron looks ahead to future seasons, Coach Cope and his team are poised to transform their inaugural championship appearance into a catalyst for future success.

“The players we have coming back for next year are motivated even more to help this school win its first ever championship,” Cope said. “We are ready to get back to work.”

With heads held high, Cope and his team are poised to build on their success and continue making history on the court and beyond.