Langston Hughes Caps Perfect Season with First State Football Championship
Langston Hughes High School won its first state 6A football championship December 9 at Parc Center stadium. The win came after a record 15 wins and 0 losses for the first time in school history.
"That's thirty games in two years," said head coach Daniel Williams. "For these kids to come back and beat a well-coached Gainesville team after losing to Buford in the final seconds of last year's championship game meant a lot. The loss to Buford was a building block, a learning lesson. These kids understood what it took to be a champion."
"After finishing as the runner-up in the 2021 season, this team was motivated and determined to finish this season by winning the state championship," said Fulton County Schools (FCS) Athletic Director Dr. Steven Craft. "I am so proud of the coaches and players for winning the state championship and capping off the perfect 15-0 season. This Langston team will go down as one of the best teams ever in the state of Georgia."
The final score in the championship game was Langston 35, Gainesville 28. Gainesville was undefeated until it played Langston.
L-R Rory Welsh, Prentiss Noland, Daniel Williams
Leading the team to victory was junior quarterback Prentiss Air Noland, III.
"He's a winner," Williams said. "He's won all his life. He practices championship behavior on the field and off."
With 3 minutes, 58 seconds left to play in the championship game, Noland exhibited his leadership. He managed the time and ran for the final first down that ran out the clock.
Noland completed 18 of 21 passes in the game and remembers throwing passes to Superintendent Mike Looney at the 2022 Fulton County Schools (FCS) Football Media Day at the College Football Hall of Fame.
"It was a great experience," Noland said. "I felt like the superintendent welcomed me and my team with open arms."
Noland is quick to remind all that Langston players, coaches, staff and students contributed to the team's success.
"It was great," Noland said. "All of Langston Hughes was part of the win."
"It has been amazing," Principal Oscar Harris said. "The energy around here has been incredible. Coming after the pandemic, this win has allowed us to focus on family."
Assistant Athletic Director Rory Welsh, who brought Langston its second state championship in 2018 when he headed the basketball team, agrees.
"Langston Hughes is building a tradition," Welsh said. "As head basketball coach, my program motto is TBD 'Tradition Built Daily.' We feel like if we put in the work, we'll get the rewards."
Noland and his father, Prentiss Noland, Jr., have a tradition of excellence.
"He was the first football coach I ever had," Noland says. "He loves the game."
Extremely proud of his son, Noland, Jr. says, "He's a very fast learner. Football and family are his life."
Coach Williams has three goals for his championship team: 1) win the state championship in 2023; 2) increase the team's GPA; 3) give kids an opportunity to win. In addition to Noland, six players will return on offense and eleven on defense.