Armari Hodges: Warrior Linebacker and Captain Extraordinaire


Kate Willoughby

Game Time: Even hindered by injury nothing can stop Amari Hodges from making the tackle for the Dubs.

The linebacker is a key cog in any football team’s defense. Before any offensive squad play, the linebacker stands astride, reading the quarterback’s intentions and watching a running back’s movement. And when the play starts it’s “go time,” the search begins for creases, for gaps, for running backs, for quarterbacks – for glory.

For three years, senior Armari Hodges has played the key spot for the North Atlanta Warriors. Now a captain for the Dubs, Hodges makes it his business to hit harder and play harder than anyone. His determination is admirable. “It’s all about giving everything I have,” he said. “That’s the way I always aim to play this game.”

After a historic 2019 season – when North Atlanta made the playoffs for the first time in 26 years – there was an anticipation of a drop-off for the 2020 team. The squad lost a whole raft of key seniors and it was widely known that this year’s Dubs were young. But team leaders like Hodges refused to accept the “rebuilding year” verdict.  The team has played competitively in most games and ended with a 3-5 record and stood on the cusp of a possible state playoff berth before their final game against Lovejoy. “When we started off this year, we didn’t listen to what anyone was telling us we were,” Hodges said. 

Due to a bad thumb injury early this year in a tackling drill at practice Hodges has had to miss valuable time on the field. The Dubs missed his defensive skill, but most of all his tenacity for the game. Vowing to beat the odds, Hodges returned to the field after being absent from 3 games. “The doctors told me I wasn’t supposed to play this year,” he said, “but I had to will myself back for my teammates.”

This has been far from the ideal season. The Dubs have had to play in empty stadiums because of the global pandemic, meaning there was nobody left to cheer for Hodges and the rest of the Dubs, but they don’t need fans to play for, “You know who we play for? We play for each other,” Hodges said. “This is a brotherhood and we go to war for each other. That’s the real beauty of the game.”