Jay Poag, Christian Heritage
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “We all know that talented players make us all better coaches, but we also understand that the support that we receive from our schools are what allows our programs to develop and flourish. A stable football program has to have the full support of the school administration. Taking it a step further, the program has to be surrounded with positive support from its student body, parents and supporters. When everyone is pulling the rope in the same direction, great things can be built and sustained.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “I had the privilege of coaching a young man named Heath Hardaway last year. Heath was on his way to being an all-state player at defensive tackle. He had the size (6-2, 270) and the agility to play at the college level. His older brother was a scholarship player at Georgetown University and his career was derailed by congenial spinal stenosis. Heath was later diagnosed with the same condition and was told he couldn’t play again. He promptly got to work learning how to be a kicker and developed into a good one. Truly inspirational to see his love for the game and his desire to remain in the sport.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “The best atmosphere that we’ve seen in my time at Christian Heritage would probably be at Mount Paran. Their facilities are top-notch, their tailgate crowd was impressive, and the fireworks certainly caught our players’ attention! They are also always pretty talented and well-coached.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “The Elite 8 game in 2015 at Aquinas would be the game that I’d like to do over, specifically the final drive. With a spot in the final four on the line, we had driven to their 11-yard line with a minute to go needing only a field goal to win. We didn’t get it done!”
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