Neither Bryan County High School nor Richmond Hill High School have been prep football powerhouses in the past.
Instead, they’ve been known for hard-playing, hard-fighting teams that nevertheless had a tough time finding wins.
That could be about to change. Both the Redskins and Wildcats went 6-4 and narrowly missed playoff berths last fall, and there’s a lot of reason to expect both programs will continue to improve.
For one thing, coach Mark Wilson at BCHS and coach Lyman Guy at RHHS are experienced, winning coaches. They know what it takes to build and sustain success.
For another, both are high character gentlemen who have the support of their principals, Dr. Dawn Hadley at BCHS and Dr. Helen Herndon at RHHS, as well as the wider community, to include parents and fans.
That helps more than one might think.
There’s also every indication that the school board, superintendent’s office and others in positions of responsibility support winning athletic programs.
At the same time, it’s important to win the right way. That’s a lesson both schools seem to take to heart. RHHS, for example, was recently awarded the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Sportsmanship Award for Region 2-AAAA — one of only 37 high schools statewide to receive such an honor. Congratulations to them.
Some may ask why we take the time to editorialize on football. It’s an easy question to answer:
Though other sports have made inroads in terms of popularity, in large part due to the large number of folks moving into our state in the past decade, football is still easily the most popular in Georgia.
It also is the most inclusive. More people participate in football games — whether as members of the team or in the marching band, flag corps, color guards or cheer squad — and far more attend football games than any other sport.
Indeed, more folks will show up to watch a single football game than will attend an entire season’s worth of contests in other sports.
Football is also, as college administrators have lately been fond of saying, the front porch of an educational institution. And many high schools in this state that excel in football also tend to excel in other areas as well, including the classroom.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. At the end of the day, football helps teach life lessons, from time management to learning how to be part of a team. It takes dedication and a certain amount of physical courage to play the game as well.
At its best, it also helps our young people learn to win with humility and lose with dignity, which are lessons we can all use from time to time.
And if the wins come more often than the losses, well, that’s not a bad thing either.
Good luck to both teams this fall.