Friday was a tremendous day for high school football in Middle Georgia.
Two of the three teams from the area won state championships. Most everyone wishes Washington County could have made it a clean sweep, but two out of three isn’t bad at all.
This could be the start of very positive things for high school football in this area. Joel Ingram has had Washington County as a power for a number of years, and it’s a shame the Golden Hawks couldn’t win the Class AAA title Friday. But expect Ingram to have Washington County back in contention next year. They usually always are.
Northside won its first state title since 2007 with the win over Mays on Friday night. It was Kevin Kinsler’s first championship as the Eagles’ head coach, and not one person is surprised. In the five years since Kinsler replaced Conrad Nix, the Eagles are 60-6. There’s little reason to believe that football factory will slow down anytime soon.
Hawkinsville won its first state championship in a decade with their win Friday over Irwin County. The Red Devils won with defense. Go figure. Even in high school football, defense can occasionally win championships.
While only two of the six Bibb County public football programs made the playoffs, there is a renewed optimism about the potential success of those teams. Much of the credit can go to county athletics director Eddie Ashley, who has been in charge as fine head coaches like Jesse Hicks, Barney Hester and Joseph Dupree have been hired.
Collectively, the six programs still have work to do, but they combined for the best record in the present decade this season.
The one thing that must get better is attendance at public high school football games in Macon. Even some of the head coaches have publicly commented how embarrassing it is for the stands to be virtually empty on Friday nights.
There are no excuses. With the way people in this town love football, there should be more support for the young men who are playing the sport.
It’s going to be fun to watch the Macon private schools to see how much better they get now they’re all in the GHSA. Tattnall Square had the best season this year, but all four teams showed an ability to be competitive in the GHSA.
The best story of the teams that didn’t win a title this year was Jones County, who had the best season in program history with a 10-win season. And they did it with a first-year head coach, as Justin Rogers took over and led the Greyhounds to wins over Northside and Warner Robins. It was the first time ever that Jones County played in 13 games in one season, and hopefully it will start a nice run for a fan base that embraced Rogers and his team.
Peach County and Mary Persons continued their good work this year. You’ll never have to worry about those programs needing fans in the seats. The Macon public schools are envious of the tremendous support the Trojans and Bulldogs get in Fort Valley and Forsyth.
There is still nothing like high school football in the state of Georgia, and, thankfully, the championships won by the two middle Georgia teams Friday show that football is getting better in our area.
It was a fun season, with a lot of great games and some outstanding individual performances. In about six weeks, a number of seniors will be signing national letters-of-intent. Then spring practice will be here before you know it. Soon enough, it’ll be time to start it all over again late next summer.
High school football just concluded its season, but something tells me we all can’t wait to get it started all over again.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Follow Bill at www.twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.