Other players, like Blake White, struggled to stay in Paradise. His mother, Suzanne White, said the family lived in a trailer on a walnut orchard for three months. They had no sewer system, using an outhouse and driving a quarter-mile just to shower.
While most people have left Paradise, on Friday nights in the fall many returned to cheer on the team.
"They knew that they were holding Paradise in their hands, basically, helping to reunite the town," Suzanne White said.
Hartley said the team could feel the community rallying around them, noting: "It was the talk of the town. There is nothing else to talk about because there is literally nothing else up there."
Now that it's over, he said he plans to be a firefighter once he finishes high school.
Emily Fleming, 46, doesn't have a son on the team. But since she lost her home in the fire, she said she has moved between 50 and 60 times, staying in hotels and using Airbnb when she wasn't living with friends or family members.
But she has been following the football team, showing up on Saturday night in the cold rain to watch the game.
"It's what movies are made of. A team overcoming for the sake of their community," she said. "They know it's not about them anymore."