The only other time that Madison County won a game like last Friday was 1982 when they beat Norcross in a region playoff, but they lost three other chances to put something other than a zero to the left of the dash when we’re talking about their postseason.
“It was an awesome experience,” Smith says. “We’ve been playing football for 63 years. It was a great experience for our kids. They were extremely excited. I never looked in to the stands to see how many people came to watch us play, but I definitely spoke to a lot of people after the game on the field.”
In his eighth year as a head coach, coaching for 22 at home so far, Smith gets to experience something that very few get the chance to where they work.
“It’s a tremendous feeling. I’ve been here since I graduated college. I’ve been through the highs and lows. Our facilities are really good now and it’s the icing on the cake to win a playoff game. To be able to do it with my son -- who’s a senior -- they’re a special, special class. Ever since they entered middle school to now, you had a feeling this team could etch their name in school history in a community that’s endured a lot of hard times.
“We have great kids,” Smith says with pride. “We have a great school system and football can be tough, and our youth programs are real successful. It’s a great place to be and to live, and we now have a 94-percent graduation rate. We’ve come a long way there. Our athletics on the whole have gotten better and football has been getting better since I’ve been here.
“When I played here, we were a Class AAA school. We were, kind of, the same way we are now. There are good years and bad. But we had average facilities when I was here growing up. We were behind everyone. But the School Board and Superintendents -- past and present (both alumni) -- are athletic-minded people. Everything we’ve asked for, we’ve gotten -- a turf field, a new fieldhouse, a new weight room… Anything we’ve asked, even a new film room. You can get all the kids involved now. Whatever we need, they all go above and beyond to get those materials to succeed. I’m really fortunate to say we have a board and administration to do this so we can all go forward.”