It was amazing to see the passion that White County’s football team played with in its subregion victory against Lumpkin County last Friday. I dug through my memory bank and couldn’t recall an instance where a high school team in any sport played with such resiliency under tremendously adverse conditions.
With Warriors coach Gregg Segraves on indefinite leave and allegations of domestic violence by his wife, Cindy, White County (4-1, 1-0 Region 8A-AAA) rallied around interim coach Tommy Flowers with a 21-14 victory.
The reasons for why White County’s play on the football field was so inspiring were numerous. First of all, this difficult story has showed how cohesive a group of 16 and 17-year old young men can be when they feel like they have their backs against a wall. I’m sure most of the players on this team haven’t been prepared before in how to deal with a situation of this magnitude.
The image I’ll remember most from driving to Cleveland to cover this game was talking with Warriors’ senior do-it-all player Ashely Lowery afterward. After running for 190 yards and two touchdowns as well as playing on defense, he was close to tears talking about how much winning meant to the entire program. Lowery said his motivation was to win for coach Segraves.
Next, there’s the excellent job of coach by Flowers, the team’s defensive coordinator for four seasons now. He’s kept the focus of the entire program on still playing football, and though there’s still a lot of football to play, the Warriors are certainly still in the running for winning the Region 8-AAA title this season.
It’s clear that Flowers sees it best to try and shield the program to try and keep out the distractions. He’s still a bit uneasy about speaking with the media. Of course, I might feel the same way if in his situation.
White County’s interim coach is trying to do what he sees is in the best interest of the program while he gets used to all the different hats the man in charge has to wear. There’s not a clinic or seminar in the world that prepares a coach how to react when faced with a real-life situation such as this.
Then, there’s the outstanding performance displayed by White County sophomore quarterback Cole Segraves, the son of the embattled coach. For those that haven’t seen Segraves play, he’s got the frame of Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, and my first impression was that he does an amazing job of getting positive yardage on almost every play. He rarely makes a bad decision throwing the football either.
I think he’s got a bright future playing the game.
Now, White County, the team I pegged in the preseason to win the region title, is not going to have any gimmies on the schedule playing in Region 8A-AAA, or commonly referred to as the north subregion. After playing a tough Lumpkin County squad, they have to turn around for a game at North Hall (3-2, 1-0) on Friday. In five seasons in a subdivided region, the Trojans have yet to lose a subregion game.
We’ll all be paying attention to how White County responds on the field the rest of the season. Maybe it can be the silver lining during tough times.