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State playoff final: Buford 30, Marist 6

November 28th, 2014 10:11 p.m.




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Indians have shown drastic improvement

POSTED: October 19, 2007 5:06 a.m.

In high school sports we often focus exclusively on the story of the teams and players that are at the top.

The school that has the best chance of winning the title or making it furthest in the playoffs often dominates the headlines and gets the most ink. This season, North Hall is certainly the best team in Region 7-AAA and thus will probably get more bold headlines in the paper.

And players with the abilities of Flowery Branch quarterback Jaybo Shaw and Gainesville quarterback Justin Fordham get the credit they deserve for playing the most scrutinized position on the field better than anyone else.

And teams that are struggling in Region 7-AAA like say, East Hall, are often brushed asides because the scoreboard isn’t shining a positive light on their program. Even though in time things will certainly turn around.

But sometimes very compelling stories are somewhere in the middle. This year Lumpkin County’s (4-2, 1-0 Region 7A-AAA) football program provides the perfect example. The Indians are making news for all the right reasons. Right now, the Indians have twice as many wins as the past two seasons combined.

Not to be overly dramatic, but Lumpkin County is in the midst of a renaissance with regards to its football program. I can see the Indians realistically finishing with six wins this season.

That’s a stark contrast from last season.

Remember, the Indians went winless last season in their first season in Region 7-AAA.

That’s not the best way to make the knees of your opponents tremble with the thoughts of having to play against you.

The question could be raised, does Lumpkin County have enough to actually make it into the playoffs this season? Probably not.

North Hall and Chestatee would have to suffer complete meltdowns to make room for another team in the Region 7A-AAA playoff picture. Even then, the Indians would have to fight it out with White County for a playoff berth.

But whether or not Lumpkin County makes the playoffs this season isn’t the point. The point is that the Indians have made a meteoric rise out of the cellar dweller status in football. In the foreseeable future it doesn’t look like Lumpkin County is going to be a program that is going to be taken lightly.

A couple of really bad seasons appear to have just been a phase the Indians went through. The by-product of Lumpkin County winning only means another strong team in Region 7-AAA and can only help to bolster the strong reputation of its 11-teams.

The struggles Lumpkin County experienced the past couple of seasons are something every school goes through every now and then.

For the longest time North Hall’s football program didn’t even have a pulse, and now look what its become. Flowery Branch and Chestatee only recently became serious contenders are taking their lumps in their first few seasons.

And even No. 1 ranked Buford, ehhh, okay maybe not. Just snuck that in to see if anyone was paying attention. That’s one school that Lumpkin County certainly shouldn’t miss playing in their previously shared Region 8-AA.

Lumpkin County’s success should be appreciated by all. And maybe next season we’ll see another school with a great turn-around story.

Contact: bmurphy@gainesvilletimes.com, (770) 718-3415.



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