Buddy Nobles, Irwin County
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “I definitely believe it’s the Jimmys and the Joes. I’ve had teams that had great chemistry and great support from the superintendent and from the parents and yet still went 1-9 and 2-8. You want to have chemistry and support, but the bottom line is you’ve got to have players. A lot of time people don’t understand that if they’re not in the coaching business. It’s the Jimmys and the Joes.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “I would say coaches’ kids, just for what they have to do with their dads out there. Sometimes the coaches are harder on them than anybody else, and sometimes they get accused of getting advantages because of their dad. I’ve got coaches on my staff now at Irwin who’ve had sons on the team, and I’ve coached coaches’ kids at Fitzgerald and Union County [Fla.], and I’ve coached my own boys. Sometimes they catch flak for who they are, so I would say coaches’ kids.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “I can tell you right now playing in the Jungle at Lake Butler in Union County [Fla.] was great. I always liked going to Thomasville while we were at Fitzgerald. Coaching at Colquitt County, I thought Lowndes and Valdosta had great atmospheres. But everywhere you go on a Friday night is fun to me. You go to Homerville or Folkston, you know what you’re in for. All the places we go in South Georgia, everybody has a great atmosphere.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “I’ve seen this question and really think about it a lot. I definitely think about the 2003 game at Florida Field between Union County and Pahokee. We lost that one 21-6 [in the Class 2B championship game]. I was head coach at Union County. Obviously, there were some games that my boys [Kaleb and Kasey] played in that I’d love to play over, too, like the 2009 Buford game when we played them in Fitzgerald. [Kaleb was Fitzgerald’s quarterback. Buford won 38-28.] Then obviously the 2014 and 2015 state-championship games here [when Irwin County lost to Hawkinsville and Clinch County]. There are a lot of them.”
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