Old Foe Oconee County Next on
By Alvin Richardson
Morgan County’s Bulldogs will play another team from Watkinsville this week when they face the Oconee County Warriors in the home opener at Bill Corry Stadium at Legion Field. This series couldn’t be much closer. In twenty five games dating back to 1968 the series is in a flat-footed tie. Each team has won twelve times with one tie, a 0-0 head-knocker back in 1981.
Oconee County, now playing a classification above Morgan in AAAA has opened their 2017 campaign by splitting a pair of games. They lost their first game 27-11 to Clarke Central of Class AAAAA and got back on the winning track this past week by blasting Class AAAAA Walnut Grove 31-6. By comparison Morgan is 2-0 on the season with wins over Class A Greene County 49-20 and Class AAAA North Oconee 28-13.
The Warriors are coming off a 7-4 campaign in 2016 in which they placed third in Region 8AAAA behind region champ Jefferson and second place Stephens County. They fell in the first round to Northwest Whitfield by a final score of 31-20 but come into this season with hopes of unseating Jefferson and regaining their region title that they won in 2015.
Oconee’s veteran head coach is the highly-respected and very successful Travis Noland. He led two football programs in North Carolina before moving to Stephens County in Toccoa, Georgia in 2005 and coached there nine years compiling a record of 73-30 (.695). Noland came to Oconee County in 2014 and has put together a record of 25-12 (.675) in three years plus two the two games this season. His squad captured the region championship in 2015 and parlayed that into a quarterfinal appearance.
In terms of streaks the Warriors come into this game having won the last three games versus Morgan County. The Bulldogs last bested Oconee in 2013 when the Dogs prevailed 41-29. Morgan won three in a row when the Dogs took contests in 1968, 1969 and 1978 (didn’t play each other for a decade). The longest winning streak in the series belongs to Oconee when they defeated the Bulldogs five straight times from 1984-88.