Chad Phillips, Starr’s Mill
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “It takes three components to be successful. You must have players willing to put the necessary time, energy and effort into winning at a high level. Of those, you have to have several play-makers to compete. You must have an administrative team that is completely on board with staffing and player development. Finally, you must have a very passionate, competent coaching staff.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “We had a player here years ago, Sean O’Brien, that was too small to play for three years. He loved the game, worked like a Trojan in the offseason. His senior summer, he grew tremendously. He ended up starting his senior year and suffered a hernia injury early in the year. Our medical team recommended he have season-ending surgery. Sean was not going to miss what he had worked so hard to achieve. Many times during games, he would press the herniation back into position so he could play with his team under those lights.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “There are many games that stand out. The 2000 Brookwood quarterfinal win, the 2006 East Paulding quarterfinal loss and the 2010 semifinal win over Tucker were the three top road games we have had here. All three had tremendous crowds and dramatic endings.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “Two Georgia Dome games will always be remembered. The 2000 semifinal loss to Harrison: First trip to the dome for us, we were star struck by the facility and never recovered. The 2010 finals: The distractions of the game hurt us in preparation for the game.” [Starr’s Mill lost to Harrison 31-24 in 2000 and finished 13-1. Phillips was an assistant then under Mike Earwood. Starr’s Mill lost to Chattahoochee 24-0 in 2010 and finished 14-1.]
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