Football Fridays In Georgia: Newnan Football's Road To Recovery From Devastating Tornado
On this month's edition of The Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, Jon Nelson and Hannah Goodin have a powerful conversation with Newnan Head Coach Chip Walker on the extent of the devastation and long recovery process from the tornado that ravaged the school and community on March 26th.
Newnan High school was in the direct path of the tornado and suffered significant damage. All of the school's thirteen buildings were damaged. Though Walker said getting the team on the field for spring practice has been a "logistical nightmare," it has also been a welcome relief to the entire community.
Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for accessing us however you are doing so, large device or small: GPB.org, the GPB sports app, our YouTube channel, your favorite podcast or choice D: All of the above. It's another round of the podcast with me and Hannah. Hannah, you had some stuff that you wanted to talk about immediately off the top that had nothing to do with sports.
Hannah Goodin: It was Mother's Day week.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: And I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day.
Jon Nelson: Happy Mother's Day.
Hannah Goodin: ... to all of the women who are mothers...
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: ... Want to be mothers that are on the podcast...
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: ...That are listening to the podcast.
Jon Nelson: Them, too. So so what did you guys do for Mother's Day?
Hannah Goodin: Well, it was actually a really beautiful Mother's Day. So my husband, John, lost his dad a few months ago. So we were able to take his mom out onto the lake. They have a lake house up on Lanier, which I don't know if you saw it...
Jon Nelson: Lake Lanier is haunted.
Hannah Goodin: A boat exploded.
Jon Nelson: Yes, it did. In — Lake Lanier is haunted. I don't care what you say or what anybody thinks. Lake Lanier is haunted.
Hannah Goodin: I don't think — luckily, no one died. No, but there were six injuries. And devastating,
Jon Nelson: Lake Lanier is haunted. End of story.
Hannah Goodin: We were up on like the north end.
Jon Nelson: So you're still in the lake? It's still haunted. And it doesn't matter if you're in the north, the south, the east or the west or in the middle: Lake Lanier is haunted. End of story.
Hannah Goodin: Well, we made it back to the dock.
Jon Nelson: Which is a plus, otherwise you wouldn't be here talking to me.
Hannah Goodin: So it was a beautiful Mother's Day. What did you guys do? You said you had some some drama with two separate families.
Jon Nelson: Weill, just, it's just in two separate time zones. And so the drama really had to do with my mother because what we got my mom was, you know, how like you can get like the strawberries or the cookies or the popcorn or whatever. So we got her this big batch of cookies that she and my half-brother, they can have there at the house. So you order it via FedEx. OK, so here's what happens. You order it via FedEx. And this is not the first time that we've done it with this particular outfit, because what they do, they're the one who's in charge of not just the cookies, but the popcorn and the fruit and all the, you know, like the edible arrangements and things like that. They're in charge of all of this. It is an umbrella company, so they know where we're shipping this. The address has not changed the multiple times that we've shipped it to where my mom lives. So we think — they tell us initially, "OK, it's going to get there Friday" and we're like, "OK, great, it's going to get there in time." My wife, a.k.a. the Boss, gets an email on Friday saying that the address is changed. It was an improper address. So FedEx shipped the cookies back to Ohio to regroup. And we're like, no, this is the same address.
Hannah Goodin: It's the thought that counts.
Jon Nelson: It's the same address that counts! Because we've sent at least a half a dozen times — we've sent something to my mother to this address. Federal Express apparently decided that, no, it was a different address and we're sending it back to Ohio and we're going to start the process all over again. Then they send us an email yesterday saying it's going to get there Tuesday.
Hannah Goodin: Better late than never.
Jon Nelson: It got there Saturday.
Hannah Goodin: The mail is wild.
Jon Nelson: This is what I'm saying,
Hannah Goodin: Is that Sandy I heard?
Jon Nelson: Yeah. She she was trying to chime in there. And there's a for those that aren't, you know, privy to the fourth wall that we're trying to open up here on the show, the — our Jean-Luc Picard, Sandy Malcolm, who is operating everything; she's the conductor of this orchestra — she's like, she's hitting a button and she wants to say something.
Hannah Goodin: Yes, happy Mother's Day, Sandy.
Happy Mother's Day. Yeah. So, yes. And so, you know, we're trying to figure out ways that Sandy can be involved in the show and the Jesse can be involved in the show so they can, you know, sit there and yell at me and you can actually hear it instead of me looking at through glass. But so, yeah. So bottom line was we they overnighted it, they had it wrong. It goes back to Ohio. They think it's going to be there Tuesday. It got there Saturday. Wow. And so that was just my mother. That was just half of this.
Hannah Goodin: Do we need to hear the rest of the story.
Jon Nelson: No, the rest of it was great. No, it's like we want to go see The Boss's mom. And it was in a town that's about 20 miles north of Dothan. So we went to go hang out with her for a couple of days. And that was — that was — that was fine. It just the — the overnight company adventures that were with my mother was the largest issue that we had here.
Hannah Goodin: Well, it sounds like you had a good day, though, overall.
Jon Nelson: Everything got to where it was supposed to. That's what matters. Toward the end of this week — as I turn the steering wheel hard right to get us into the actual sports that we're supposed to be talking about.
Hannah Goodin: I know, right?
A lot of championships are coming up here in the spring sports. Soccer's coming up just around the corner. Baseball's coming up just around the corner. I think tennis is coming up, too, just around the corner. So for all of the moms and all of the families and all the kids...
Hannah Goodin: All that you do. Oh!
JON For everything that you guys do, to make sure that your students and your student athletes in the most difficult school year possible have gotten to where you need to do what you can and get to these championship games, it will be great to see some some folks around the state at the four sites for soccer, Lake Point for baseball and all the others that are coming up too. But we got a lot of championships coming up around the corner. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Sandy's, like, track and field, Olympic sports.
Hannah Goodin: Come on.
Jon Nelson: No, no, no, no. The reason that the reason that Sandy said track and field in my ears because she is an actively cheering mother in track and field on the state level. Because her — can we can we go ahead and say the city school district? Decatur, the city schools of Decatur, is where Sandy Malcolm and the Malcolm clan are, and they're having to — they're following track and field and continue to qualify and go to the next stages and all this kind of stuff. So Sandy is a student-athlete mom that's involved in track and field.
Hannah Goodin: Well, thank you for all you do, Sandy, and all the moms out there.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: Let's talk some football. We got an awesome show. Best guest of the year, I think, on the podcast. We have Newnan head coach Chip Walker on to talk about the hurricane devastation there in Coweta County — I mean, tornado devastation there in Coweta County. I'm thinking "hurricane" because it's a hurricane in Atlanta today because the weather is awful. But he is on to talk about the rebuild process and the rally of the community. And the way that he spells it out is truly amazing. And so I'm excited for you guys to hear that story coming up. But first we have to give you a Rush Propst update, because our entire podcast last month was on Propst, right? The latest news was that the GHSA denied Valdosta's appeal and Propst's contract was not renewed by the Valdosta Board of Education 5 to 3. There's also a new interim head coach, Jon, acting. John, give us spill the tea.
Jon Nelson: Well, we're right now where we are. Valdosta is in spring practice. Shelton Felton is the acting head coach and their spring game is in Gray against Jones County this Saturday. As we're talking now, the 15th, I think, if my math is correct, whatever this upcoming Saturday is: the 15th, Saturday night in Gray against Jones County. So that's where we are right now with with the coaching situation. The city Board of Education is looking at their possible options going forward. So right now, they're still trying to figure out if there are any next steps that they can take as a city school district.
Hannah Goodin: You will be in Gray for that spring game. How do you feel about...
Jon Nelson: She's made the assignment? I guess I'm going.
Hannah Goodin: You know what? I make assignments around here. And Jon, you're going better you than me. How do you feel about Shelton Felton?
Jon Nelson: I mean, Shelton did really great work at Crisp and got them deep into the playoffs. So he knows what Georgia high school football is and what it means, especially down in south Georgia. So obviously, it'll be a difficult — it's a difficult situation for him as an assistant, but he's been a head coach before and so he knows what it is and he knows what high school football means to Valdosta. So it's an interesting dynamic. And I want to see how it ends on Saturday night in Gray against the Greyhounds of Jones County.
Hannah Goodin: So are we waiting on any more Propst news? Is there anything else?
Jon Nelson: You know, it wouldn't surprise me if there's some right now. I think that you have the — every side trying to figure out if there's any other recourse in any other angle. So when that news pops up, obviously we'll let you know. But I think a lot of folks are just putting our thinking caps on right now, trying to figure out what's next.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, all the other coaches seem to be in place, so there's no coaching carousel update from us. But spring practice is officially underway across the state. And, Jon, what's the latest?
Jon Nelson: People are playing games, and that's good.
Hannah Goodin: Isn't that amazing?
Jon Nelson: People are practicing. People are playing games. And we're going to catch up with Chip Walker here in just a second. He's going to let us know about his spring game. And that was something that we didn't know about and were wondering and he let us know about that, too.
Hannah Goodin: All right, time for our guest and a topic I've been wanting to talk about since March, but certainly we wanted to wait for the right time and now is the time. We've had really bad weather in Atlanta recently, including today and all across Georgia this year. But on March 26, a catastrophic storm yielding a mile-wide EF-4 tornado, which has winds of up to 170 miles per hour, came ripping through Newnan, Georgia, damaging over 1,700 homes and two schools. And ground zero was Newnan High School. We have head football coach Chip Walker on the line to talk about what happened from his perspective and how the events of that harrowing day affected the football program in the community. First, Chip, thanks for joining us today. How are you doing?
Coach Chip Walker: I'm doing good. I got chills just now, you talking about that. It brings back some memories of that night. And, you know, it was definitely a devastating night for our community. And, you know, something that that has shown the strength of our community since then. And, you know, we're — we're just trying to recover from that still.
Hannah Goodin: Well, we want to get your story. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared it a state of emergency that night. President Biden declared it a disaster area. We don't want you to rehash the entire thing, but give us an insight of what happened in Coweta County. When did you find out how serious this storm was?
Coach Chip Walker: You know, we were actually at the house, you know, kind of laying in bed and all of a sudden the phone starts going off. And luckily for us, you know, in the community, those things occur now. But I know at my house I live about five miles from the school. So my house, my family, you know, got in the — got in the bathtub. And we have a group chat among the coaches. And, you know, kind of all of a sudden it starts going off and, you know, we're texting each other trying to figure out what's going on. And there's one coach that's in it that left us that was — he lives up in Rockmart. And he — he was actually able to — we lost power, everybody lost power, lost a lot of lights. And so he was actually able to kind of update us through the group chat and actually a FaceTime once we all, you know, got past it and they kind of tell us, you know, sitting right on top of school, it's here, it's there. And so and then, you know, so at that point in time, just trying to figure out, you know, what had happened. I got the phone call. Probably that was about midnight — I probably got the phone call about an hour and a half later where our athletic director had been to the school. He basically tells me, you know, your office is gone. And —and so, you know, I can't sit there for a little bit. And I look at my wife and I tell her, I said, you know, "I can't sit here and not know what's going on." So about 2, 2:30 in the morning and I get up ride up to school and I'm up there with our athletic director and the chief of police — or our assistant chief of police, Mark Cooper. And, you know, we're walking through the campus and seeing all the damage and and knowing there's a lot of damage, but not knowing how much damage. And, you know, then the next morning you get up there and it looks like a war zone. It really does. I mean, you go all around the school, all through the neighborhoods. And it's — I mean, it's like, you know, a war zone, like bombs had been set off and that's how devastating it was.
Jon Nelson: And at the same time, Chip, you're having to keep track of all your players and all the families that are associated with the program. What was that process like knowing that the town was as devastated as it was with this tornado?
Coach Chip Walker: Well, one thing that we're very fortunate enough is, is we got an outstanding group of coaches in the high school. And so that was kind of one of the things that we immediately did was, you know, everybody get in touch with your guys and get our coaches started texting and phoning and getting in touch with with all of their position players and trying to find out, you know, make sure everybody's OK, make sure everybody is safe and then kind of just go from there. We — we did have about three guys who who basically lost everything. And, you know, so we're still in the process of of helping them do, you know, everything that we can we can do to to help them get back on their feet. But it was a, you know, it was a process that's really not stopped since March 26.
Hannah Goodin: I know so many families had to rebuild. But when it comes to the football program, what has the rebuild process looked like and how has the community been involved?
Coach Chip Walker: Well, first of all, our community is just unbelievable. If you — if you had been there, like, that two or three following days right after it happened, you would have seen our community up and our players, just people from other communities from around this area, but — up there moving, moving logs and cutting limbs and moving debris and handing out food and making food, just doing all these different things. So our community has been unbelievable in the entire process and again it's shown the strength of the Newnan community in particular and the Coweta County community as a whole, because we got — definitely gotten support from all around the county and neighboring counties as well. So, I mean, it's definitely that, you know, from a —from a football perspective, I don't know, maybe if you can imagine rebuilding a football program in about two weeks and trying to get everything that you can get back — back as quickly as you can.
Jon Nelson: There's no playbook for that, Chip.
Coach Chip Walker: No, there wasn't. And I mean, it was you know, we had a lot of help. Again, our assistants, our coaching staff is unbelievable. They did a great job with it. But also, you know, other schools throughout I mean, throughout the state of Georgia that helped, you know, obviously the first and foremost, the most immediate thing that, as a football program, we had to do was we had to get a weight room. And, you know, we wanted to get our guys, you know, back together as quickly as we could after everything was safe and and do that. So in doing that, we got you know, we got help from LaGrange and Mary Persons and North Cobb and Paulding County. You know, all those people, you know, lent us equipment so that we're able to — and I'm sure I probably missed somebody in that — but, you know, to get some equipment that they were not using and get it in there and and get our guys back together, that was kind of the first thing. And then, you know, the next thing was really and truly — you know, once that happened, you know, we missed the week of school prior to spring break and then had spring break, so we had about two weeks off in order to get that part done. And then from there is, you know, we wanted to have spring practice. We wanted to get our guys back to normal. We wanted to get them back together all the time. And and so our next goal was to get basically everything done in about, I guess, maybe a month or so so that we could start spring practice last Wednesday, which is what we did.
Jon Nelson: How is everyone and where is the rebuild of the school and everything right now, because as much as March 26th was six weeks ago, it's yesterday in a lot of different fronts, especially with everyone there in Newnan. How is the school, how is — and I'm talking in a physical sense because I know that you've got to still have academics. You've still got to try to get ready for next school year. How is the school physically right now with all the rebuild that you've been a part of right now?
Coach Chip Walker: Well, we have — in our school — it's funny we're having this conversation, because a little bit before lunch, I was up in our gym talking with the guy who is in charge of, you know, kind of the reconstruction of parts of the school. And his first statement was, "I've never been a part of a high school that had 13 buildings." And, you know, we talk about a rebuild of that. So we have 13 buildings on campus, which is unique to itself. And all 13 of those buildings sustained some type of damage. My best understanding that I can come up with right now is our ninth grade building, which is one of our biggest buildings and probably our newest building, probably sustained the least amount of damage and is in pretty good shape to be able to be ready to go in August. We have a couple other buildings that they feel pretty good about getting the roof back on and and going from there. So, you know, if you made me guess right now, I'm guessing probably in three or four of the 13 buildings may be operational by August. Obviously, none of them are operational now. We're doing our learning where the majority of our learning is remote. If we have people who have needs, they can come to a central location and get some help. But everything else is pretty much remote learning. Now, going forward, there still is not word on how many of those buildings are going to be safe, how many of those buildings are going to come down and what's going to happen. Obviously, you know, if anybody's seen pictures, one of the most heavily hit was the field house, which holds our offices and our equipment and our weight room. And it was pretty much destroyed. So it's a... It's a, it's a day-by-day process of just trying to figure out kind of what's going on and what's the next step.
Jon Nelson: So then how's Drake? If, if — I know that you're practicing on the field and you're having to work at the field house, how is Drake right now? The stadium.
Coach Chip Walker: The stadium itself obviously had probably the least amount of damage of everything on the campus. You know, it didn't do anything to the surface. It did a little damage to the roof of the press box. It ripped the top of the elevator shaft of the press box on. So now it did knock one of our light poles onto our baseball field. So obviously that light pole's gone and then the light poles on the visitors side, pretty — it's pretty unique — were basically, you know, you look at the light poles, you go about halfway up and things just basically turned. Like you've just taken your hands and turned in the metal a little bit. And so all those light poles had to come down. So they're obviously no light poles currently, but the field itself is fine and we're able to be housed right now. We're kind of housed in some baseball locker rooms and some softball locker rooms, and we're able to get out on the field and actually practice, which has been a blessing for us and for our young men and I think for our community. We had a huge crowd the first day when we practiced.
Hannah Goodin: Yep, spring practice is underway and Coach Walker, this is certainly going to be a season of overcoming adversity and something that your players are going to be fighting for all year long. How has spring practice been? What's the atmosphere and the attitude and how's everything going?
Coach Chip Walker: Well, I can tell you, I was talking to my wife, you know, leading up to the first day of spring on that Wednesday. And I'm telling her "Aw, this is going to be a disaster, this is going to be a disaster. We're having to —" and just kind of give you a little bit of example, we're having to house all the new equipment, all-new cloth, all-new — everything that you can think of, we basically got brand new and we're having to house it in one location. So were housing it in one part of town; we're actually lifting weights in another part of town. And then we're going to practice at the school. And so we're having to set up times where they show up to the to the place where we're housing our equipment and just fiddle, put it in the bag and then we're transporting it to the school. And I mean, it's you know, I told somebody I looked around and said "It's almost like a youth league deal, you know, when you show up to the youth league park and get you get your equipment and then, you know, go off to practice, I thought, you know, but it was a logistic nightmare. And as I told you already in this conversation, our coaching staff did an unbelievable job. You know, we were told the kids were going to be on the field at 4:00 in staff meetings, which are also in a different part of town.
Jon Nelson: What part of town are you not doing anything right now, Chip?
Coach Chip Walker: We got the whole link covered, I promise you. And in staff meetings, we were all like, we'll be lucky, you know, if we get on the field at 4:30 that be. And at about 3:55 last Wednesday afternoon, there was almost 100 kids just standing in the endzone waiting for me to give them the go ahead to take the field. And from there, as I told them in the practice, it was the best first day of spring that we've had since I've been at Newnan. And huge, you know, our young men that did an excellent job of staying focused and understanding everything was going on. And our coaching staff did a great job. And, you know, I was, when we got done, I was super excited. I was like, it's a miracle that it all got off and and went as good as it did. And for them to have such good practice was great. And then the next day was just as good. And, you know, so we're, we're prepared, you know, we're going to practice four times this week and four times next week. And then we had some other good news at the end of the week: We got permission to play the spring game in Drake Stadium so it will be it will be May the 21st at 5:30 obviously, due to the lights. And we'll play Troop in that game. So we are super excited about that, too. I told I told Tanner down there at Troop, "I said I got no idea where locker rooms will be or where anybody will be, but we'll play, we'll be on the field at 5:30 and we'll play."
Jon Nelson: When you look at everything that's gone on in the last six weeks to where we are, as we're all talking here, I think it speaks a lot to unity. And I'm not just talking about in a football sense, I'm talking about in the sense of community and not even just geographically where in the conversation that we're having here, you've talked about the city, you've talked about the county, and you've also talked about the community that is coaches because you're talking about LaGrange helping you out. You're talking about Brian Nelson at Mary Persons helping out, Shane Queen at North Cobb helping out. And I think that when we all can look at a situation and know that somebody needs help, there are folks that are going to just dive in immediately and help in a situation like this. And you're getting a lot of different help from a lot of different places, a lot of different coaches and a lot of different parts of the state. And I think that that's one of the really cool aspects of all of this. It's like folks are dropping what they're doing and blowing up your phone and texting the daylights out of you and wondering how they can help. And I think that that's one of the great aspects of all of this in the last six weeks.
Coach Chip Walker: And literally, you know, couldn't say it any better. And it just speaks to the — I mean I can't I can't tell you how many how many text messages and phone calls I got from high school coaches and college coaches around the state. But obviously, the high school coaches with, you know, "What can we do to help? What can we do to help?" And you, you know, you go back to Mary Persons, who is on our schedule for next year. You know, we play them next year and Brian, you know, had had no issues of helping us do whatever we can. And, you know, his strength and conditioning coach Dan Burdette, who's a longtime friend of — I mean, I just — I mean, these people around this state, high school football is big — and I'm not telling you anything that you don't know — It's a big deal in Georgia, but it's also a big family. And, you know, we appreciate all of that as well.
Hannah Goodin: I know you've got a certain last game of the regular season circled on your calendar. What are you most looking —
Coach Chip Walker: I already had that one circled.
Hannah Goodin: What are you most looking forward to this season? And — and how happy are you with your schedule?
Coach Chip Walker: Oh, well, you know, our schedule is — is really good. I feel like it's you know, it's pretty challenging in terms of opening with Starrs Mill, who's, I don't know, won about five or six region championships in a row. And then you got Carrolton with Joey coming back, which is huge excitement for that one. That's a traditional power and a traditional rival. And then you got Sandy Creek. I mean, I think we all know why that one's going to be big.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I've heard I've heard that Sandy Creek history there might have something to do with the Walker clan.
Coach Chip Walker: Yeah. So and then Mary Persons, which is where I started, you know, Coach Pitts had just passed away, he gave me my first job, he coached my dad there — that's, that's a special deal. And you get down to the region play: McEachern and Franklin Stephens. I mean, what a great job he's done. Pebblebrook: Coach Hood has got that program on the rise. And then you know you end with that big one at the end that's always huge in this community. And for it to be at Drake this year is going to be huge. And, you know, it's — as we have talked about in staff meetings, you know, nothing's going to come easy to this football team this year. I mean, if you're just talking about, you know, from where we're going to lift weights every day to where we're going to dress every day, to where we're going to be as a coaching staff on Sunday to where are we going to watch film with our kids during the day? You know, all those things and none of those things are gonna come easy because of what we've been through in the last six weeks. But I also know that all of that's going to get done because of what we've been through in the last six weeks. And so, you know, it's — it's gonna be a — it's going to be a challenging year. It's going to be an exciting year. We feel really good about football team. It's, you know, it's a — Newnan is a special place and a great place, and I look forward to seeing how this thing plays out. There ain't no doubt about it.
Jon Nelson: Well, Chip, thanks for hanging out with us and thanks for letting everybody know what's going on down there in Newnan. Obviously, it's a story that we don't want to let go of because of its importance not just to high school football, but to everyone there in Newnan and Coweta County and every house and home that follows high school football here in the state of Georgia. Thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Be safe. We'll be catching up again soon. We're not going to let go of this. We're going to keep an eye on things. And thanks for letting everybody in on what's going on down there.
Coach Chip Walker: Well, I appreciate it. That's one of the things we said. What happened was, you know, when it rolled in here, there's probably more help than we could have ever imagined. But six weeks or 10 weeks or 12 weeks or 14 weeks down the road, we're still going to need help, because when you ride through town there are still blue tarps all over houses, you know, things are still broke. So we're still in the process of needing a bunch of help. We appreciate it.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Thank you so much, coach.
Coach Chip Walker: Thank y'all.
Hannah Goodin: Amazing interview with Coach Walker. It was just really incredible to hear about the devastation and the rebuild and the community. I'm actually going to write an article about this. I'm going to use his interview, and I'm going to talk to athletic director Randy Robbins and some community members and really get the full story, a full perspective on — on what happened and how it's affected them so much.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, the following morning, knowing that I was up late watching —that's the reports out of Newnan — as well, I tuned in to the Weather Channel, no lie. And Coach Robbins was on with the reporter that was there on site. And it was — he was taking him through all the devastation that was there. And it was — it was — it just blew you away, pardon the pun, but the impact that a tornado can have when it just literally goes right through a campus like that — and Chip mentioned all of the buildings that were just impacted by something like this, all 13 buildings impacted on campus. And the school in and of itself, if you've never been there, the school is on a hill — it's on a hill, and the stadium is down in a bit of a valley as the tornado is approaching. It's the first thing that the tornado hits. But then you have the school that's basically sitting on top of a hill. And so when the tornado comes through, it hits everything squarely. And all of the homes that were around the high school were hit hard as well. But watching that coverage the following morning on the Weather Channel, for me, it really was, you know, it reminds you who really is in charge and when when Mother Nature decides that she's just going to take a path, that's the path she's going to take. And I give an incredible amount of credit to everyone attached to not just the high school, but everyone in Coweta County and in Newton who has helped everyone who's been affected. It's just been some tremendous work by everyone down there.
Hannah Goodin: And we obviously knew it was bad, but the way Coach Walker painted that picture: It's just truly going to be —
Jon Nelson: It wakes you up.
Hannah Goodin: It wakes you up, and it's going to be a good story to cover this fall and we're definitely going to keep up with it.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, and that is not, you know, obviously he mentioned the East Coweta game. But, you know, Mary Persons with the history that the Walker family has with Coach Pitts, who recently passed — Dan Pitts is a legend in Georgia high school football — it's going to be it's going to be a great story to let everyone know what's going on. Not just for the sense of, you know, following a football team, but you're following a town, you're following a community, you're following a fan base after something that's happened like this and that, we can be a small part of that in helping tell the story and letting everybody know that it's going to be a long road back. But they're really taking some great steps here in the first six weeks.
Hannah Goodin: Well, we are getting so close to football season — three, four months out from our first game.
Jon Nelson: Well, yeah, four I think,
Hannah Goodin: Yeah, right after Labor Day.
Jon Nelson: You're having me do math on this show. No one said there was going to be math.
Hannah Goodin: We'll have all of our shows coming back. Recruiting 2020, guys, was just nominated for an Emmy. That is so exciting. The show will be coming back. It will obviously be called Recruiting 2021.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: So we will look for that —
Jon Nelson: If your calendar says a different year instead of it being Recruiting 2020
Hannah Goodin: some people's calendars probably say 2020 —
Jon Nelson: Mine in the office up on the second floor, mine still says 2020, I guarantee it.
Hannah Goodin: The rats are having a great time with all the snacks that you have in the left over in the drawers.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, you're not kidding. Before we go, did you hear about this story in Alabama during the high school softball playoffs? OK, Sandy's shaking her head, No. Jesse's looking at me like he has no idea what I'm talking about and like I have three heads.
Hannah Goodin: And that's the way I look at you 99% of the time.
Jon Nelson: Yes. So it's Jess is cutting in right in. Final score of the game is 45-44.
Hannah Goodin: What? No! A basketball game you mean.
Jon Nelson: 45-44.
Hannah Goodin: A softball game?
Jon Nelson: Softball game. Yeah. Two Montgomery Area Schools. And the head coach for one of the teams went up to the umpire. And from what I understand, these two teams were just absolutely gassed and their pitchers were really tired. And there wasn't a whole lot of depth left on the pitching staffs going into this game.
Hannah Goodin: Well, no.
Jon Nelson: And so the coach for one of the teams goes up to the home plate umpire and he's like, OK, you might want to widen the strike zone just a little bit because, you know, things, you know, it might take a while for this one. The game was almost run-ruled in the third inning. It's 15 runs, I think is the margin. And it was 20 to seven. One of the teams was leading by 13 going into the third inning, and they were that close to getting run-ruled. So what happens? The team that was down by 13 had a 12-run inning. So it was 20 to 19 and they had to keep going. So you have 45-44. And it set, I think, three separate state records for walks, RBI and total runs scored. I think it was like fifth or sixth in the history of National Federation stuff for runs scored at 89, I think the highest with 95. Five-and-a-half-hours, Sandy; it was a five-and-a-half-hour softball game.
Hannah Goodin: Talk about moms; moms in the crowd for five-and-a–half hours.
Jon Nelson: Both teams ran out of drinks. One of the teams ran out of water, and so one of the coaches moms went to one of their cars, one of the coaches' cars, and they had like extra pallets of water that they took from the coach's car, took it to the dugout. The other team ran out of Gatorade. One of the moms got in her car, went to the store, got more Gatorade, came back and the game was still going. Front page of the Montgomery Advertiser sports section. If you guys haven't seen it, I'm sure it's made the national rounds, 89 runs scored in this game, 45-44.
Hannah Goodin: That had to be a national record, not just a state...
Jon Nelson: It was close. I think 95 is the national record terms like top five or sixth all time. But yeah, Montgomery Advertiser, for those that want to read up on it, that was that's the news of the week.
Hannah Goodin: Can't believe I'm about to say this, but: Great story, Jon! Thank you for sharing.
Jon Nelson: Story Time With Nelson, actually got one in here. But — but no, to — back to your original point on Recruiting 2020 got nominated for an Emmy. Great work by everybody here at GPB. Also nominated was the Lee County-Buford Championship Game for a live sporting event. Amazing call. Nominated as well. So, two Southeast Emmy nominations for GPB Sports heading into the Emmys. And that is June the 19th is when we will come up with our final answer on those.
Hannah Goodin: Yep, and that's back-to-back years. So I'm really proud about that. That's it for me, Jon. That's all I got.
Jon Nelson: That's it for me, Hannah. That's all I got.
Hannah Goodin: The rundown says end.
Jon Nelson: The rundown says end so I guess that means it's time to go. So for Jess, for Sandy, for Hannah. I'm just Jon. Access us however you do. So don't forget to like, friend, be a part of the conversation on all of our social media platforms. That means Facebook. That means Twitter. What are you on Twitter?
Hannah Goodin: @HannahCGoodin
Jon Nelson: I'm @OSGNelson, @GPB Sports, YouTube, Instagram and all the other and — all the other social media platforms. So like, friend, be a part of the conversation. That way, whoever is going to transcribe this is just going to —
Hannah Goodin: Love us.
Jon Nelson: And they're going to love me, I can tell you that right now. So for all of us here at GPB, thanks for hanging out with us. Play safe, everybody. Enjoy the game.