Dexter Copeland, Macon County
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “The biggest difference-maker is administration and community support. I know a lot of coaches will say talent, but without the support of the administration and the community, your program will suffer. As a head coach, I was a part of such a program, and it was a struggle every day. The day-to-day grind of fighting battles with administration really took the fun out of coaching football.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “My favorite player of all time would be Adrian Hightower from Twiggs County High School. Not only was he a good football player, but he was a great student, a great person and a person that was a joy to coach every day. Adrian would run through a brick wall to do anything to be successful. He was an honor grad, class president and team captain his senior year. What made him a great player was his will to win. He was a 5-6, 165-pound senior. He led our region championship team with 10 interceptions and was the second-leading rusher. After leaving high school, he walked on at the University of the Cumberlands and also led their team in interceptions and to the NAIA national championship game.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “The greatest atmosphere ever to me is playing at Lincoln County High School. There is nothing like walking through their crowd before warmups and watching their team come out on the field through the home stands. The first time I coached there I remember looking up and telling one of my coaches they looked like giants coming to the field. Then oh my, coming back to the field to start the game! The crowd gets even larger, and they love those Red Devils, so you can imagine what it was like coming back to the field.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “The one game I would love to have back would be the 1987 region championship game, Northside-Warner Robins vs. Evans of Augusta. It was my senior season at Northside, and we were returning a lot of starters and had hopes of winning a state title. The game was played in the rain and the field was very sloppy. I think we had about five turnovers and lost 9-7. I remember we missed a field goal at the end of the game. The next week we found out that the Evans QB had some type of radio in his helmet. I remember looking at my QB during the game saying why you can’t do what he was doing. I know he reads this every day, so when he does, I know I will get a call from him. The playoffs in Georgia back then were set up as only the region championship team goes to the state playoffs, so our season was over. Still to this day, we talk about this game all the time. The ‘Radio Game.'” [Evans defeated Effingham County 12-10 the following week in the state quarterfinals, but the GHSA forced Evans to forfeit because of the radio receiver in the quarterback’s helmet.]
Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.