Coach Malone’s season recap
By Nick Nunn
Win or lose, each season must come to an end.
More often than not, it ends with a loss, and, unfortunately, so it was for Morgan County this year.
A number of goals were set this year by Coach Bill Malone and many were realized, including being able to host and win a playoff game.
Immediately after reaching these goals, however, the Bulldogs lost in the second round of playoffs.
“It is and it isn’t a hard pill to swallow,” began Coach Malone. “We went to Vidalia 8-2 [two years ago] and got smoked 28-7 in the first round, and, last year, we went to Laney and got smoked 41-13 in the first round again.”
“But here we lost by four points, up a classification, in the second round. And that shows a marked improvement over where we’ve been, and, while we’re still a little sore about not winning the game, nothing is going to make that loss turn into a “W”. So you have to start looking at it like a “glass is half full” kind of guy. And that’s the way that I hope our guys will look at it.”
Coach Malone compared the game against North Hall last Friday night to the game that they had against North Oconee earlier in the season.
“I was surprised, looking at the stats from North Hall, that we outgained them. I never would have thought that would be the case because they did hold us in check – at least, when you look at the scoreboard – just as well as North Oconee did.”
Again, despite the loss, Coach Malone feels that Morgan County’s performance against North Hall proved that the Bulldogs were a worthy opponent for the Trojans.
“Out of 12 ball games, we held them to three fewer points than anyone else has this season. It was a good game plan executed well by our kids.”
Malone acknowledges that North Hall’s defense created problems for Morgan County in the beginning of the game.
“Their aggressiveness with their big defensive line forced us to change to our simple blocking rules.”
For the first time in his career, Malone filed an unsatisfactory officiating report to the Georgia High School Association about a dispute that occurred at the game.
“We were told the entire fourth quarter that we had one time out when, in fact, we had two,” stated Malone.
“It changed the course of that game. It probably didn’t change the outcome, to be perfectly honest, but it changed the course.”
Although Malone felt the need to file this report, he doesn’t believe that its importance should be highlighted.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the kids. I think they are better than we are; we fought hard enough to beat them, but it’s not like we got robbed.”
“The way that our kids played is the focus.”
As is to be expected, the atmosphere in the locker room after the game was emotive, but the players’ ability to restrain themselves, in Malone’s opinion, was commendable.
“The scene in the locker room after the game wasn’t nearly as emotional as an experience – of course, everybody was upset and everybody had tears in their eyes; most everybody that plays and gives a rip about the team and this game was upset about it – but I was proud of the resiliency of our boys while we were talking with them afterward.”
A coach’s job, however, is never over. The planning process for next year will begin sooner than might be imagined.
“When it comes time for Coach Robbins and I to start planning for next year – and that will happen this week – we’ll look at the North Oconee film and the North Hall film and we’re going to see exactly what we need to be able to counter punch next year.”
With the season’s 9-3 record still drying in the books, Coach Malone already finds his mind drifting towards next year’s lineup; because all that is left to be done is what is to prepare for what is to come.
“I woke up yesterday morning thinking, ‘we’re set up at left tackle and at left guard…”
Printed in the November 29, 2012 edition.