Don Norton, Johnson County
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “All these factors – talent, coaching, chemistry, administration, community, tradition, facilities/resources – are vital to success. It is very rare to have year-in and year-out success if a school is missing any one of these.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “Russ Tanner at Johnson County and Ed Wilder at Washington-Wilkes. Both were No. 1 players at their position in the country. Both were All-Americans. Both have the character, work ethic, faith and personal skills that make them memorable. Both are now great fathers, family men and successful professionally.” [Tanner played at Georgia. Wilder played at Georgia Tech. Wilder was the winner of the Brian Piccolo Award as the ACC’s Most Courageous Player.]
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “Three stadiums that had great environments the last few years were at Clinch County, Irwin County and ECI. Fans from Johnson County and the home teams really made it fun for all the players.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “Commerce, 2000 quarterfinals. I called a pass play that was picked off at the end of the first half. Monte Williams scored two plays later. Commerce went on to win the state championship.” [Norton was the offensive coordinator for Johnson County that year under coach Bill Bonds. Johnson County entered 12-0 and ranked No. 2.]
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