JACKSONVILLE, Florida — A coin flip dashed their playoff dreams.
But hard work and dedication "flipped" the script, and defined Andrew Jackson's 2018 season.
'"Before we would go to workouts and there'd be eight people there," head coach Antoine Atwater explained. "Now, this summer, you'd go to workouts and there's 30 people there. Go to the weight room and there's 35 people there."
It's a culture shift that the second-year head coach credits to his 13, dedicated seniors.
"It could've been easy to transfer and go to another school. But for those guys to stay around, it was big," Atwater said.
The Tigers went 1-9 in 2017. They went 3-42 over the last five years.
That's why this year's 4-5 record was a monumental step in the right direction -- and why the outcome of their playoff bid was so painful.
“Kids that weren’t really interested in football wanted to be a part of something. But now they’re all a part of something great and they want to build on it," Andrew Jackson athletic director Nina Farmer said. "Their mindsets have changed, that’s all we ask for.”
In light of these events, the Tigers' motto for 2019 has changed, too.
“Our motto next year is going to be ‘unfinished business,'" Atwater said. "And I truly believe we have ‘unfinished business.’
And the Tigers are ready to earn it.