Barney Hester enjoys the process of watching his players grow and improve through a season, and finishing a campaign with a state championship makes that process even more enjoyable.
Hester and the Tattnall Square Trojans brought home another state title in GISA Class AAA, beating rival Stratford for the championship. It marks Hester’s 11th championship at Tattnall and his first since 2007.
Hester, who is The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia GISA Coach of the Year, has won 318 games as a head coach.
“I have people all the time ask me, ‘Barney, you’ve done everything you can do at Tattnall. When are you going to do something else?’ ” Hester said. “But every year is a new challenge, and every year you lose seniors, and then a new group moves up, and it’s their senior year. You want to make it special for them, and you work hard to make that happen.
“That makes it enjoyable. That process is exciting every year.”
The Trojans’ 2011 season was certainly enjoyable and exciting.
Tattnall started the season with a 47-44 loss to Glenwood, Ala., and a 15-9 loss to Westfield. But after that, the Trojans won 11 straight games, winning the championship game 35-12.
The Trojans’ final 11 opponents scored 18 points or fewer, and Tattnall held seven of those teams to single digits, including two shutouts.
“Defensively, after the first game, I thought we played really well,” Hester said. “We talked as coaches, and we thought that the defense was the reason we got where we were this season.”