Bryan Lamar, Tucker
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “You’ve got to have two things. You’ve got to have good talent. That’s not just in terms of size and speed, but also intellectual talent, the ability to understand game plans week in, week out. If you’ve got a lot of kids struggling to learn stuff, you’re in trouble. The second thing is good coaching. You’ve got to have guys willing to put in the hours studying and preparing.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “I’ve had so many. One of them would be Elisha Shaw. He was a 300-pound nose guard, a U.S. Army All-American, one of the top players in the country. He got hurt his first day of practice as a senior and was never able to play again. He sustained a neck injury. He was going to be an NFL player. He was that talented, and he worked extremely hard, but God had a different plan for his life. Elisha was also a kid who could overcome adversity, just an outstanding kid above anything else, and now he’s about to get his degree from the University of Alabama.” [Shaw had made a silent verbal commitment to Alabama at the time of his injury. Coach Nick Saban honored it. The NCAA approved a waiver to give him a non-football scholarship. Shaw attended Tucker’s quarterfinal playoff game on Friday.]
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “We went down to Colquitt County this year. It’s pretty rowdy down there. The first year we played Stephenson at Hallford Stadium in 2012, we had the stadium packed to capacity, and that’s a 15,000-seat venue. Those were two pretty big games outside of the state championship.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “I’ve got probably like 20, all about equal. I lost two state championships [2013, 2016]. Those were pretty tough. But I’d probably pick 2007, when we lost to Northside (Warner Robins). They were ranked No. 9 in the country, and we were up 28-7 at halftime. We caused a turnover on the first play of the second half and had a fourth-and-goal from the 1. We ended up losing 31-28.” [That was Northside’s 29th consecutive victory, and the Eagles would make it 30 the next week for back-to-back state titles. Tucker won its first state title the next season.]
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