The Citizen takes a look at what’s ahead in AAA for the MC Bulldogs
By Alvin Richardson
Game 1 vs the Mary Persons Bulldogs at Dan Pitts Stadium / Mitchell Field / Forsyth, Georgia. Non-Region Game.
Morgan leads the all time series 2-0
The tradition is long and storied at Mary Persons High School. The Bulldogs are currently coached by Rodney Walker but the story in Forsyth has always been about Dan Pitts. Coach Pitts led his Bulldogs from 1959-1997 spanning 39 years. The legendary coach was Georgia’s leader in wins until he was recently overtaken and passed by Larry Campbell of Lincoln County. Pitts started slowly with three losing seasons out of his first four and then proceeded to post winning records in 34 of the next 35 campaigns. His teams had 16 seasons in which they won 10 or more games and the Black and Gold of Mary Persons won a state championship in 1980.
Since 1948 the Bulldogs are an incredible 479-186-8 and are 8-4, 4-6, and 7-4 over the past three seasons. In 2007 they lost in the first round to Carver of Columbus who went on to win the state championship. A visit to Dan Pitts Stadium should be quite a treat for all who make the trip.
Game 2 vs the Commerce Tigers at Bill Corry Stadium / Legion Field / Madison, Georgia. Non-Region Game.
Morgan and Commerce are tied 3-3 in the all time series
You want to hear about tradition. Check out these numbers. For the last 41 years, Commerce has had only two coaches. Ray Lamb led the Tigers from 1967-1988 and posted 19 winning records out of 22 seasons. His teams won 10 games or more nine times, made the playoffs 14 times and won the Class A state championship in 1981 defeating Greene County 28-14. When Coach Lamb left to take over the program at Monroe Area, his top assistant Steve Savage took the helm and has led Commerce for the last 19 seasons. Under Savage the Tigers haven’t missed a beat. They have had winning records 18 of those 19 years, put together 10 wins or more in nine seasons, reached the playoffs 17 of 19 times and made it to the state semifinals in 1990, 1999, and 2006 and beat Buford 27-19 for the state championship in 2000.
Commerce is 479-192-16 since 1948 and have gone 6-5, 4-6, 7-4 the last three seasons. In 2007 they lost to Gordon Lee in the first round of the playoffs.
Game 3 vs the Washington County Golden Hawks at Bill Corry Stadium / Legion Field / Madison, Georgia. Non-Region Game.
Washington County leads the all time series 1-7
There are no breathers for the Dogs in their non-region schedule this year. Washington County is another school loaded with tradition. Between 1992 and 2005 the Hawks made the semi-finals five times and won state championships in 1994, 1996, and 1997 under Rick Tomberlin who is presently the head coach at Valdosta High School. For the last three seasons Washington County is 7-4, 11-3, and 4-6 under Joel Ingram.
Morgan County has had very little success against the Golden Hawks posting their only win in 1990 by a score of 3-0. WACO is 321-217-10 since 1959 and continues to be one of the top programs in Georgia year in and out.
Game 4 vs the Jackson County Panthers at Panther Stadium / Jefferson, Georgia. First Region Game.
Morgan and Jackson’s all time series is tied 1-1
Jackson is coached by Billy Kirk and the Panthers suffered through a winless campaign in 2007. Historically they have struggled with a record of 74-207-3 since the school’s inception in 1980. The past three seasons have seen Jackson County go 2-8, 2-8, 0-10. Morgan County lost to the Panthers by a score of 19-18 in 1992 when the Dogs had a winning two point conversion negated by penalty in the waning seconds. Morgan got revenge the following season with a 20-7 win.
Game 5 vs Franklin County Lions at Ed Bryant Stadium / Carnesville, Georgia. Second Region Game.
Franklin County leads the all time series 2-5-1
Franklin County is coached by Tommy Welch and the Lions have posted won lost records of 5-5, 5-6, and 4-6 the past three seasons. Franklin has won the last two games against Morgan by scores of 14-0 in 2007 and 24-3 in 2006. The Bulldogs last defeated the Lions in 1999 by a score of 20-14. Franklin County’s all time record is 198-253-5 since 1964. The Lions best season came in 1992 when they posted a 9-4 record and lost to Washington County 21-14 in the state quarterfinals.
Game 6 vs Elbert County at Bill Corry Stadium / Legion Field / Madison, Georgia. Third Region Game.
Morgan leads the all time series 6-4-2
Elbert County’s proud program is headed by Brent Miller. Although the Blue Devils boast an impressive 319-217-13 record since 1959 they have been in a down cycle over the last three years in which they went 5-6, 1-9, 1-9. Morgan County has taken two of the last three matchups between the two. In 1999 the Dogs shut out Elbert 30-0, and in won 26-6 in 1998. The Blue Devils last tasted victory against Morgan County in 1995 with a 13-7 win.
We don’t get to see it this year but Elbert’s home stadium, the Granite Bowl is one of the really unique places to see a football game. It will be one of the top trips to make for 2009.
Game 7 vs Stephens County at Bill Corry Stadium / Legion Field / Madison, Georgia. Fourth Region Game.
Morgan County leads the all time series 8-6-0
Stephens is the consensus top pick in Region 8AAA this year. Coached by Travis Noland the Indians have gone 9-3, 8-2, and 11-1 the past three years. In 2007 Stephens lost in the second round to eventual state runner up Chamblee by a score of 58-57 and that is not a misprint. The Indians have posted a record of 399-234-14 since 1948 qualifying them as one of the state’s best programs year in and out. The Indians have been on a quality run since 1987. Their teams have posted 12 seasons with 10 or more wins, have made the playoffs 20 out of those 21 seasons and compiled a record of 194-59. Several of Stephen’s coaches are familiar names to high school football fans. Charlie Greene, Rodney Walker, Jay Russell, and Charlie Winslette are among those who have led the Indian program. In their last meetings from 1970 through 1973 with the two teams split four games with Morgan winning 34-13 in 1973 and winning in 1970 28-7. Stephens County won the 1971 and 1972 contests by scores of 31-7 and 18-6. Stephens won their only state championship in 1958.
Game 8 vs the Hart County Bulldogs at Pete Herndon Stadium / Hartwell, Georgia 5th Region Game.
Morgan County leads the all time series 8-6
Although the Bulldogs lead the all time series, Hart has been a difficult opponent over their last few meetings. From 1996 through 1999 Hart County defeated Morgan four straight times. Prior to that Morgan had taken seven straight wins between 1959 and 1971. Hart County is presently coached by Joby Scroggs and their Bulldogs have continued consistently good play. The last three seasons have seen Hart go 9-4, 10-3, and 8-2-1. They lost to Sandy Creek last season in the first round of the playoffs. Historically Hart County has a record of 324-250-10 since 1954 but despite their proud history do no have a state championship to show for it.
Game 9 vs the Eastside Eagles at Bill Corry Stadium / Legion Field / Madison, Georgia. 6th Region Game.
Morgan County leads the all time series 2-0.
Eastside, coached by Rick Hurst seems to be on a mission. Picked by many to be the second best team in Region 8-AAA this season Eastside has show consistent improvement over the last three seasons going from 0-10 in 2005 to 5-5 in 2006 and 7-3 in 2007. The school fielded its first football team in 1996 and ran aground with back to back 0-10 seasons in 2004 and 2005. Prior to that they had made the playoffs only twice but seem to be poised to make a run to get back in the thick of things. The Eagles record since 1996 is an unimpressive 53-71-0 but don’t let that fool you. They are back in the hunt for region honors.
Game 10 vs the Oconee County Warriors at Warrior Stadium / Watkinsville, Georgia. 7th Region Game.
Morgan County leads the all time series 10-7-1.
Morgan County and Oconee County have a natural rivalry brewing with the Warriors just minutes down the road from Madison. Oconee has posted mediocre records of 5-6, 4-6, and 4-7 the past three years but are due for an awakening. The Warriors figure to be in the hunt for a playoff spot with a quarterback already committed to the University of Georgia and coached by Mitch Olson in his first year at the helm. Oconee has an overall record of 231-195-7 since 1968 and had a great run under Jeff Herron from 1997 to 1999. Over that span they went 8-4, 10-2 and capped it with a perfect 15-0 season in 1999 defeating Mt. Zion (Jonesboro) 17-7 for their first and only state championship.
Morgan and Oconee played each other fourteen straight years from 1978 through 1991 with the Warriors winning seven, Morgan winning six and a 0-0 tie in 1981. Morgan County took two straight from Oconee County in 1996 and 1997 by scores of 34-20 and 27-22.
Much of the research for this article came from the Georgia High School Football Historians Association web site. You can Google this name and look up historical information on any high school football team in the state. Some of the information on Morgan County is incomplete or incorrect but by and large it is a wealth of data and statistics for those who enjoy keeping up with different schools around the state.