Tyler Wynn, River Ridge
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “The difference-maker can’t be summed up in just a few words. It is a cumulative result of talent, work ethic, coaching, chemistry, support for athletics from administration/community, facilities and time management. All of these things together can be defined as ‘the system.’ ‘The system’ is ever-changing and growing. It can’t be static because we don’t have the same faces year after year. The dynamic of your program is different with every passing semester. But with that, the more people – players, coaches, administration, fans, etc. – that buy into ‘the system’ and believe in the process that the athletes and coaches are taking to approach the season, the more opportunities to build a winning program. On a game-by-game basis, the two stats that I feel most influence wins and losses are turnover ratio and time of possession.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “Vince Njoku was one of the most inspirational athletes that I have had the opportunity to coach during my career. Vince struggled early in his career because football wasn’t something he grew up around. It took countless hours of commitment on the field and in the weight room for Vince to develop and grow. He was the first football scholarship for River Ridge High School and signed with Lenoir-Rhyne as a running back. However, Vince died from a tragic drowning incident during his freshman year of college. Undoubtedly, anyone who played with Vince or coached him was impacted by his positive attitude, work ethic and persistence. His number has been retired, and his story lives on at River Ridge. R.I.P Vince Njoku #1.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “Woodward Academy: While my dad was an assistant for Mike Earwood at Starr’s Mill, I was a ball boy for the Panthers. I remember them playing Woodward in a close game at Woodward and can still remember the fact that there were leaves on the field before and during the game. I always thought that was a neat atmosphere and wish I had gotten opportunity to play there.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “I would go back and play LaGrange High School during my senior year at Troup. We got the best of them 24-21 in the season opener in 2003 before they went on to win the state championship in AAA. At the time, I didn’t realize how significant that win was or just how talented the group across the field really was. Looking back now, they had Wesley Woodyard (Kentucky, Tennessee Titans), Travis Hart (Eastern Kentucky), DeMoreo Ford (Kentucky), Braxton Kelley (Kentucky, Broncos), Tray Blackmon (Auburn) and a slew of other guys who were extremely talented. Luckily, I came out of there alive!”
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