Heads or tails, Hawke family wins when dad surprises in return from Afghanistan

LINCOLN – Pregame festivities for the Nebraska Huskers spring game had a patriotic theme. A giant U.S. flag that stretched from sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line was a stirring visual for the 78,312 fans.

There also was a flyover by four airplanes during the conclusion of the national anthem. But the biggest surprise – and a moment that produced some of the loudest cheers – came during the coin flip.

Players from both the Red and White teams gathered at midfield. The Red team won the toss, but the biggest winners were members of the Hawke family.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Hawke surprised his wife, Nicole, and their six children when he took off his football helmet. Hawke was part of the coin flip, dressed in full uniform as a member of the White squad.

Once his children saw that Dad was home from Afghanistan, where Hawke had been serving with G Company 2-104th GSAG, also known as Task Force Nightmare, the tears began to flow and there were plenty of hugs for everybody.

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