The Carolina Chargers have made the playoffs.
The Chargers lost their first four games in their debut season with the Gridiron Developmental Football League but finished strong to earn a playoff berth. The Summerville-based team had a five-game winning streak to finish with a 5-6 record and qualify for the playoffs.
The Chargers will hit the road to face the Georgia Crush in the first round Aug. 23. If they notch the first playoff victory in program history they will travel to Alabama for the second round needing only four more wins to advance to the league championship.
“We are looking at it as if it is a whole new season,” Chargers Offensive Coordinator Shawn Harris said. “As far as we are concerned we are 0-0 right now so we plan to go all out. We had a rocky start, but we have good athletes and they are learning how to finish games.”
The team formed just this year so most of its athletes had never played together before.
“When we got started we had players from all over the place,” Harris said. “We had everything from guys who hadn’t played since they graduated high school to guys who had just finished up their fourth season with a college team to guys who had already been on a semi-pro roster. We have a lot of talent, but everyone has to work together at this level. There is no room for a player who is just worried about himself because the competition is too good.”
The Chargers were competitive in games this season against the No. 3 and No. 5 ranked teams in the league so Chargers’ coaches are optimistic about their chances in the playoffs. “In one of those games they beat us with a Hail Mary pass at the very end,” Harris said. “We took a lead into the second half of a lot of those games we lost so it was a matter of the guys pulling together and learning how to finish and learning how to be disciplined. I think we are improving with that.”
Some of the players on the Chargers team have aspirations to play in the NFL. For them, the playoffs represent a bigger stage where someone might notice their skills.
“I think we have several players who if they keep working and things go their way could play on Sunday,” Harris said. “Guys such as Francis Lloyd, Jamie Fordham, Demetrias Sherman and Brian Williams have shown us a lot this season and we enjoy having the chance to work with guys like them.”