Ashley Anders, Tift County
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach? “I have coached in a lot of really good football games, but the most memorable game was in 2004. I was the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State. We were 13-1 and were playing Pittsburg State University for the national championship. Pittsburg State had set a national record for scoring, averaging 54 points per game. We had a young team that had really come together and had overachieved all season. We started the game with PSU intercepting a pass and running it back for a TD. I knew what we were up against offensively, and our kids responded and played a tremendous game on offense, defense and on special teams. We had the lead late in the fourth quarter 36-31 with PSU driving for the winning score when we intercepted a pass to seal the game and win the national championship. It was a great win for our kids and for Valdosta State and one I will always be proud to be a part of.”
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? “I have had the honor to work with and get to know a lot of great coaches in my career. There are two coaches who have impressed me with their philosophy both on and off the field that I would love for my son to play for – former Valdosta and Woodstock coach Mike O’Brien and Statesboro head coach Steve Pennington. Both are great coaches and role models for young men.”
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto? “One of my favorite mottos, and we have this sign on our field house door leading to our practice field: ‘If you are not prepared to put the team first, turn around.'”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? “There are a few rules in the state that need to be addressed. I think the six-quarter rule needs to be modified. When you have a player that may only play on special teams in a varsity game, it takes away from his development at a position in JV games. The transfer of student-athletes is becoming more of a problem everywhere, and I think that it is an issue that will continue to get worse if some restrictions are not put into place.”
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