On this week's Football Fridays In Georgia podcast, GPB Sports' Hannah Goodin and Jon Nelson talk with Charlton County Head Coach Russ Murray about his team's big Swamp War win over Clinch County and their perfect start as they head into the heart of their "Region of Doom" schedule. Jon also helps break down the latest on the contentious GHSA re-classification process plus a recap of the biggest matchups from week six.

Charlton Head Football Coach Russ Murray

Charlton County Head Football Coach Russ Murray speaks with GPB Sports

Credit: GPB Sports

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, gpb.org, your favorite pod catcher, large device, iPad, home computer, laptop, desktop, YouTube, a bunch of different ways to access us. It's another go round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. We're going to talk about our game of the week from last week. We're going to get you ready for our game of the week this week for Football Fridays in Georgia and all the other things that are going on here at GPB Sports. We're going to spend some time in South Georgia this week, once again catching up with some of the great rivalries and some of the great action going on down there. So, we're going to spend some time in South Georgia again this week. But now, Hannah, hi.

Hannah Goodin: Hey. I love when you list all of the social media stuff.

Jon Nelson: Well, I'm trying to process it as quickly as I can.

Hannah Goodin: We're up at Chestatee a few weeks ago and we were talking to their video audio group of high schoolers and Jon was talking about Twitter and telling them to follow him on Twitter. And they don't even know what Twitter is. They were just looking at him blankly.

Jon Nelson: Well, actually, they were also looking at me when I was talking about standard definition television, 4x3.

Hannah Goodin: I was telling them to send me an email and I was getting strange looks.

Jon Nelson: And it's like, do you know what? Have you read a newspaper recently? That paper thing that they throw on your front stoop, they're like, what?

Hannah Goodin: I mean, I felt old. I am 32 and I felt extremely old talking to these kids.

Jon Nelson: Well, I am more north of 32.

Hannah Goodin: And you're not a day over 35, Jon.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, yeah. I'm definitely buying your lunch next time out. Definitely the case.

Hannah Goodin: You bought it last week. It's my turn.

Jon Nelson: No, I'm trying to be chivalrous in that regard.

Hannah Goodin: How are you doing today? My allergies are raging.

Jon Nelson: Raging, no, you just did. Go ahead r a y j i n g raging. That's what your allergies are.

Hannah Goodin: I feel for all the seasonal allergy sufferers. I am. I am one. As soon as October hits.

Jon Nelson: Bang.

Hannah Goodin: It is done. Done.

Jon Nelson: All right. So well let's not talk about stuff that's been done. Let's talk about stuff that happened.

Hannah Goodin: Let's do it. We've got a lot to talk about today. Yeah, we do need to get right into it. Let's start by recapping our game of the week. It was No.7 Walton. They move to 3-1 on the year with a 31-19 win over No. 8 Roswell at Raider Valley. The Raiders led 24-3 at halftime. Then the Hornets battled back, closing the gap to 24-19 with eight minutes left. Walton quickly put a stop to that, though, with a nine play, 77-yard drive that ended on a Braylen Stokes five-yard touchdown run. Stokes rushed for 111 yards on twelve carries. The highlight of the game had to be the opening kickoff, though, Jon.

Jon Nelson: One of the highlights now.

Hannah Goodin: When Sutton Smith went 80 yards on the return for a touchdown, that set the tone for the whole game. He was the player of the first half. He was the player of the game. There was obviously lots of highlights, but that you love to see that that is so much fun.

Jon Nelson: When you're programing a game on TV, it's like that's what you want right out of the blocks. Let's give them something to look at. And so, you get the opening kickoff return for a score. 24-3 at one point, Robbie Roper, the talented quarterback for Roswell, was injured. K.J. Smith came in off the bench, did great work, took him a little while to get the full song. But then Robbie Roper came back in and I was talking to Chris Prewett on the sidelines for Roswell at one point and he said, “I told you we weren't going to give up,” because he said that in the halftime interview. And so, you know, they certainly did not drew it to within five and they had an opportunity to get it close, but then did not convert and goes back the other way for the game winning score to make it 31-19. But another great game on Football Fridays.

Hannah Goodin: Robbie Roper, one of those kids that is looking for a better offer. How do you think him powering through that after that injury and getting back in the game helps his stock?

Jon Nelson: Well, I think that what it does is it shows you how much of a leader he is. And so he's had a couple of offers. And one of them right now is a Morgan state, which I find very, very interesting that the MEAC is looking at Robbie Roper. And I think that by the end of the year, coming into last week, he was the number two passer in the state when it came to yards. And I think single A private was the one that had more than Robbie Roper did. But I think that once again, it talks about leadership and how he doesn't want to sit there and, you know, in a situation where his team is trailing, he's going to come back in. He's got he's got that want to. And so, I think that that's going to go a little bit. That's going to go a long way for him. But once again, I think that when you look at what Chris Prewett was doing, bringing in K.J Smith, I think that, you know, they were finding things in that Walton defense that were gashing Walton at points. And I thought that it was it was very, very stout knowledge that we saw from a Sophomore trying to see what the defense was going to give him, taking full advantage of that, and orchestrating the comeback to get them that close.

Hannah Goodin: What was what was the injury?

Jon Nelson: It was he was pressured and he landed on his non-throwing shoulder. And it was, you know, when you have these large defensive linemen coming in, you're trying to evade them. He landed. On that artificial surface, on his non-throwing shoulder. And so, it was getting treatment and it was getting wrapped and a bunch of different things, and they were trying to figure out mobility and what he could and couldn't do. But now it was it ended up just being a I guess, a pain management thing and the load management thing for him. And you end up and you see what he can do. He came in late second quarter, was out for most of the second quarter, came in for that last drive. And you saw what he could do. He could tuck and run and he could still make those throws. But now it was a great effort by Roswell, very, very tight game in a rivalry game on GPB.

Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, week six is in the books. I normally pick a top five to go through here, but I could not.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: So, I've got 10.

Jon Nelson: All right. So, how are you want to play this.

Hannah Goodin: So, I'm just going to I'm just going to power through these. OK, and if you want to talk about one, you say stop, OK? And you're probably going to say, I'm going to go ahead and call stop for you on the first one.

Jon Nelson: Sure.

Hannah Goodin: OK, Winnersville Classic Lowndes 21, Valdosta 0. 

Jon Nelson: Fifth straight win for Lowndes in this. And Chase Belcher, according to our friends at the Georgia High School Football Daily, rushed for almost 102 scores to Jacurri Brown was held was held close for the struggling a little 9-26 and in the game. And so, it was at the Concrete Palace. But once again, Jamey DuBose, known for his defense there as well. And so sometimes that's what's going to carry you through and you get the Duke 21-0.

Hannah Goodin: It was the third straight time they've shut out Valdosta while playing it. Lowndes Martin Stadium. Is there some home field, magic?

Jon Nelson: Well, at the Concrete Palace, there's always magic and it's the same at Bazemore Hyder. But I think that right now it's just, you know when you're a 7A school and you're in one 7A and you have the athletes in the depth that you have, it's going to be a bit of an uphill climb for a team like a Valdosta and that kind of a situation. But now it's a Concrete Palace is always one of those places it's tough to play.

Hannah Goodin: All right. The number one team in 5A, Warner Robins, played the number one team in 6A Lee County. This was a game. Well, my number two game of the week, this was a game I had my eye on all night. Warner Robins continued to pump their chest, though, beat Lee County 56-30.

Jon Nelson: And I think that you won't get a whole lot of argument for the best team regardless of classification. I think it's Collins Hill and Warner Robins. I think that's what folks are looking at for your 1 and you're 1A or you're 1A and 1B when you are what Marquis Westbrook is doing and you're putting up these kind of numbers against one of the top ranked teams in another classification, the one above you. I think that what this also does is if you're Dean Fabrízio and Lee County, it's a learning, it's a learning experience for you. It's like, ok, we know we're going to be going up against very talented teams in the playoffs. A lot of folks anticipate we're going to be playing in the last game of the year. Again, what do we learn from an experience like this? And so, I think that when Warner Robins continues what they're doing and putting up the numbers that are staggering at points so far this season, I think more than anything, it's what Warner Robins anticipates in any game during any week. But for Lee County, it's a learning experience going forward.

Hannah Goodin: They've put up 48 on Valdosta, 50 on Archer, 49 on Northside, 49 on Houston County and 56 on Lee. They've got Camden County next. That's really impressive.

Jon Nelson: Well, in Camden County, remember, they were going up against Coffee last week. And so, it was another test for Camden County because once again, in one 7A you're having to come up with seven non region games. Coffee beats Camden by the score of 10-7 in a game that, you know, with Robby Pruitt and Jeff Herron, it is going to be very, very defensive. And you're going to want to try to take the air out of the football if you're one side or the other. Great game down there in South Georgia last week between those two. How does Camden County respond going into that environment this upcoming week? It's going to be a tough one.

Hannah Goodin: In the region of doom, which is region 2 Single A public Irwin county defeated Brooks County, 21-30.

Jon Nelson: Stop.

Hannah Goodin: OK, we're 0-3.

Jon Nelson: No, you're 3-3 in stops. But I mean, but once again, you're talking about the region of doom there. You're talking about you're talking about Irwin. You're talking about Clinch. You're talking about Brooks. You're talking about all of these heavyweights that are down there. And you're fifth or sixth team. If you were allowed five or six teams, like in the old days of the power rankings, you traditionally have five teams coming out of this region. Going into the playoffs wouldn't surprise me if the team that finished fifth could make a deep run in the single A public playoffs if given that opportunity. But when you have number one versus number two in your region, number one versus number two in your rankings, going at it in your first week of region play, this sets the early marker now for Irwin, for the division, for the for the region crown. And it's going to have Brooks County chasing now with head coach Maurice Freeman. And by the way, the hammer did make in Ocilla by the way.

Hannah Goodin: I saw they planted it? At pregame warmups?

Jon Nelson: Oh, yeah, right there at the 48-yard line on their side of the field, thanks to Steve Carter for sending the photo. But yeah, Maurice Freeman brings the hammer literally and figurative every single week, planted the hammer right there at the forty-eight-yard line on his side of the field to remind folks that Brooks County was there.

Hannah Goodin: Wow. Didn't work this time. Hey, I got your book, by the way, in the mail. Yeah, I'm excited to read it.

Jon Nelson: OK, you know, I could have sent you the manuscript.

Hannah Goodin: No, no, no. I wanted to support you and order it.

Jon Nelson: Ok.

Hannah Goodin: All right. Moving along in 2A Bleckley County defeated Dodge County, 21-19.

Jon Nelson: That was a big win for the Royals, big one for the royals there with two top ranked top 10 ranked teams in the class. I don't anticipate dropping Dodge all that much.

Hannah Goodin: Collins Hill still remains undefeated at 6-0, with a 34 to nothing win over East Coweta. I think we're going to probably hit stop on this one at Markham field. Mill Creek gets its first ever win over Grayson. 28-14 on the road. How big of a win was that?

Jon Nelson: That was big at Markham at Mill Creek. They led 21-0 at the half and they get North Gwinnett coming up this week. But once again, that those non region games that will challenge you good work by Coach Lovelady and Mill Creek, they're getting ready for region play.

Hannah Goodin: Why do I have Markham on the road?

Jon Nelson: I don't know.

Hannah Goodin: I don’t know. Home game.

Jon Nelson: It's on the road for us from here. Markham at home at Mill Creek is a big win for them at home. Yep.

Hannah Goodin: Then in Region 8, 4A Jefferson blanked Flowery Branch 21-0 and some tough non region battles to round out my ten team ten game scoreboard here. Coffee defeated Camden County 10-7. Oh, a wild one, Ware County.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: Beat Benedictine 49-42.

Jon Nelson: Crazy.

Hannah Goodin: Are where we are we hitting stop?

Jon Nelson: Crazy, just how crazy this is. And they'll call it the miracle at Memorial I think is how our friends at ESPN Coastal phrased it with the touchdown pass. That was a deflection that ended up in the hands of the receiver that scored the game winning score. And so, you will see this play. You will see the miracle at Memorial on Countdown to Kickoff on Thursday this week. It is our play of the week. And our in our kicker involves a kicker.

Hannah Goodin: Ooh, well, you'll have to send me those videos. I haven't seen them yet. No. Well, no, I've seen the miracle. Yeah. I haven't seen the kicker yet. Yeah. And finally, the defending 3A champs go four and one on the season with a 17-0 win over Fitzgerald. That's Pierce County. Pull in and out.

Jon Nelson: But once again, you know, you're talking I mean, you got to catch up with Ryan Herring after our game in the post-game show and you got the chance to catch up with him. What did he say for those that may have missed it? What did he say about the win going up against a very tough Fitzgerald side?

Hannah Goodin: Oh, he was hilarious. He was going on and on about the penalties. Did you not hear what he was saying?

Jon Nelson: I heard a little bit of it, but I just wanted you to relate because you got you were the one that got to talk to him. See, all I get to do is listen during the postgame show and you're talking to coaches. I'm just sitting there and I'm listening the whole time.

Hannah Goodin: Hey, we talked to so many coaches on that show and there's a lot going on behind the scenes. It all it all gets a little convoluted. Yeah, but he was stoked.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. I mean, Ryan Herring to get a win like that up against one of the top teams in 2A and really the in 2A you're looking at four teams that pretty much could be one, two, three or four during any given week. And literally you could sit there, you could take for those of you who watch this on YouTube, you could take four pieces of paper, one, two, three, four, put four names on them, put them in a hat. And pull those names out of the hat, any different order they each could have a claim to being the top ranked team in double Fitzgerald, definitely one of those. And a big marker in 3A for Pierce County as defending champs.

Hannah Goodin: All right. One more topic I want to touch on before we get to our guest this week, and that is realignment. Another big meeting this week, a plan that's being reintroduced, Jon. Kind of take us through that.

Jon Nelson: It has to do with multipliers. And it's something that we've seen in the past with private schools and now the notion with private schools and city schools and in the past, the way that it would work in determining enrollment figures and that's how our classifications are set up here in the state of Georgia, have to do with enrollment figures. A private school has a set amount, but what would be done in the past is for every student in a private school, they would count X amount times more like a student and a half more or two students worth of enrollment figures. So, let's just say if there was a private school that had an enrollment of 300, they could either be looked at as having an actual enrollment for competition purposes of either 450 or if it was one and a half or 600 if it was a two-time multiplier. And so that multiplier looks like it might be a part of the discussion. Now, in figuring out enrollment figures with private schools, does it get weighted depending on the sport and the successes? That's another aspect in all of this. But look for the discussion when it comes to multipliers, how large a multiplier it could be and how much that could impact where a particular school could go. How many classes do they jump up? Do they jump up one classification or two when it comes to their competition next time around? So, we'll keep an eye on that going forward.

Hannah Goodin: OK, what about the controversial private schools’ own championship?

Jon Nelson: I think that pretty much got wiped off the board with the discussion of the multipliers right now. I think that and if you look at it from the private school perspective, it's like you're taking these nine schools and moving them over here to create their own championship. And so that's that would be it's like you're just kind of taking them over. You're putting them in their own bucket, and then they can kind of, you know, have competitions among themselves, you pulling them away from the other 400 members of the Georgia High School Association. And those and some of the folks associated with those nine programs are like, we love the GHSA. We love, you know, being a part of the GHSA. We don't want to separate. And so, I think that's why the discussion of the multipliers is back in. And just it'll be interesting to see what the number is and how it impacts it. And is it just in certain sports where you're impacted by that multiplier and in other sports you're not? Or is it something across the board that'll be interesting as we have it going forward?

Hannah Goodin: All right. Final takeaways from week six around the state.

Jon Nelson: We had, what, a lot of a lot of upsets. I mean, Rome knocking off Carrollton. You had a win, I mean, 45-27 for Rome. And, you know, we've talked about Rome in the past with John Reid. By the time they get into region play, they'll be ready for region play. And this was that first marker for Rome that we're talking about. And, you know, you have a lot of these twenty and beyond number differences when it comes to margin of victory. We had a lot of minus 20s that were getting upsets this past week. I want to say it was more than 20 schools that were twenty-point underdogs or more ended up getting wins this past week. So, you've got that you had Collins Hill putting up yet another marker against a tough East Coweta team in 7A. You have what we saw from Mill Creek, what we saw from a lot of the non-region play. We saw region play finally kicking in in some spots. So, we're really getting into the heart of the schedule now here in this middle third as you're getting ready for that stretch run in October to get you ready for the playoffs. First week in November.

Hannah Goodin: Region play? You know, one school that is powering through region play.

Jon Nelson: Who's powering through region play?

Hannah Goodin: Their schedule is insane. We talk about it. That's Charlton County head coach Russ Murray, a part of the region of Doom region to single A public enough of us. Let's talk to him. All right, Coach Murray, you go 5-0 on the year after a big overtime win in the swamp war vs. Clinch, final score, 35-34. Tell me about the game and what was the difference?

Coach Russ Murray: Oh, well, you know, it's most exciting Swamp War I've ever been a part of. I think that was the 61st we met and Coach Tison was talking. I think that was the first and only time we've ever went into overtime, certainly excited about it. You know, our kids played hard and their kids did, too. You know that proud program they have. And it was just about all the way down to the end, you know, and I'm happy the way it turned out, for sure.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. For someone who has never been to Swamp War. I mean, this is this is Clinch. This is Charlton. This is Homerville and this is Folkston. What does Swamp War mean to Southeast Georgia?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, I don't know what it means to the rest of the state, but to the rest of Southeast Georgia. But the region 2A that used to be the whoever won that game pretty much was going to win the region. And it was all it always had, you know, more than just the game online, you know, because it was playoff seedings and things like that. And it just, you know, and it's been that way for years. And for as a small, small school atmosphere, I can't think of a better, better place to small high schools getting together to play. You know, the stadium is packed out. And, you know, they come from the other side of the swamp and we come from this side of the swamp. So, you know, we'll be over there and they come over here every year. It's a packed house.

Hannah Goodin: You know, it's a good rivalry when it's now tied at 30-30-1.

Jon Nelson: Well and but and that's the thing. It's like and don't you guys disagree on how many times folks have won and stuff like that?

Coach Russ Murray: Yeah, there's a disagreement on that. It's kind of like the Florida Georgia thing. There is a disagreement there. And I wish I had had mine in front of me, but I don't I know it's been tight, you know, and it's been you know, there's they've had years where they made runs on us and we've had some years where we made some runs on them. We just in fact, we're just getting over a seven-year run, you know, the last two years that they had. So, it's been back and forth this close. You know, we disagree on it, but I know it's close one or two. You know, it was close

Jon Nelson: For you this year, I mean, last year you had a lot of freshmen that were getting reps. And by the end of the season, they're obviously they're not freshmen in the sense of being on the field. Now, those younger players are a year older in the sense of understanding what you're looking for when it comes to your system. What's it like having that continuity and seeing where it is right now with you guys at 5-0?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, you know, it actually started two years ago. My juniors, they started as freshmen. And we've been doing this for grinding here for the third year now. And they know what's going on as far as practice. Practice runs so much more smooth than it has in the past. And you were able to do more things with them. They understand the things that are going on. And, you know, it's been a whole it's been real. It's been real smooth as far as when you could go back to two years ago. It's just been a process for two years now, going into our third year. And, you know, we're headed in the right direction. We still got to go a ways to go, but we're headed in the right direction for sure.

Hannah Goodin: You had a big-time playmaker on the field Friday, Jaylen Lilley rushed for 242 yards on 37 carries, scored five touchdowns, made eight tackles. What didn't he do, Coach?

Coach Russ Murray: I tell you what, that is. You know, I tell people about him, you know, had those great teams in the 90s and the early 2000s. He's an old school dawg. D-A-W-G. He is I mean; he gets after and, you know, he gets after it in the classroom and he is a well-mannered kid outside of the classroom. He's got it all put together. But, yeah, he's been our leader. He's tooted us over on his back the last two weeks and especially Friday night. He was just, you know, he was just playing like a man possessed and he wouldn't have it any other way. And I'm so proud of the way he played and the way he took the team upon his back, for sure.

Jon Nelson: So then, let me ask you this. As a part of our Recruiting 2021 show, we have the segment that we call make that kid an offer where what we like to do is for whatever reason, if there's a student athlete that's not getting the looks, not getting all the better offers, not getting offers at all, not getting looks. But he's the complete package on the field, off the field, community grades, test scores, all of that stuff. Would Jaylen qualify and who else would qualify, do you think?

Jon Nelson: Jaylen definitely would qualify. There's a lot of a lot of schools they need to get on his train because he's already taking college classes right now. And so, he you know, he plays like a beast on the field. And he's certainly one that they need to get to get on. And I have another defensive tackle whose kind of vertically challenged a little bit. He's about 5'10''. But he's a great defensive lineman. He’s been all region defensive linemen the last two years. And in our region, that says a lot. And yeah, they certainly need to get a hold of those two for sure.

Hannah Goodin: Before we look ahead at what's to come on your schedule in region play, you had somebody fun in town this weekend, Champ Bailey back in town. So, it's Champ Bailey Field at the Swamp. What was he doing around town?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, he had he was doing some sort of state health benefit plan with the covid awareness kickoff that they had run. The director of the state health benefit plan was here. And they had a you know, I guess whatever made a panel to help the community answer questions. And they were given covid shots and he had a family fun day, your face painting and hamburgers and hot dogs and ice cream thing. And they were given goodies out because I think it gave some bikes away and things like that. And, you know, it was good for our kids to see and we don't get to see him much because he stays up there with y'all in Atlanta and they're real excited when he comes to town and they get to see him. And I think that was the first time well, as a group of players for him since he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, when he had they had a high school production about two, two years ago with the Hall of Fame came down and they did their thing at the school and actually put a bust in the school with stuff like that. And they're always excited to see him for sure. And I think he's excited to see the kids because he was just like them at one time, you know.

Jon Nelson: When I mentioned the Bailey years and all the Baileys that went through in Coach McWhorter and everything that he meant to the program because he was the only guy that applied to the job when it was available, when he first came down. And all of that history when I mentioned Rich McWhorter, what does he mean to you and everybody down there at Charlton County?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, to me personally, you know, I worked with him for 24 years, you know, I became the coach that I am, you know, primarily because of him, because, you know, I took all the great stuff that he had that I liked and I use and he taught me how to work hard and try to be organized. And I owe him a lot. And this community owes him a lot, for sure. I mean, the you know, you can look at the record books. I'm sitting here in a weight room now and I'm looking at the state championships and region championships we've got posted on our wall. And, you know, he played a huge part, if not the all the part that went in. And, of course, he's going to tell you different. You know, I know that, too, with the kids we had, but we made a lot of the kids, you know, in the players. And it was his style that that that that we were able to do that with.

Hannah Goodin: I forgot to ask you where you were calling in from, you told us before we got started, you're calling in from the weight room because no one's in there. What's that like?

Coach Russ Murray: It's been used this year. We have we have our football players primarily come in either the first block or the last block. Most of them come in the last block. And this is our third block. We have four blocks. And it's kind of like the lunch block where all the kids eat lunch. So, we kind of the weight room isn't open this up this block. So, it'd be well used. Don't worry, we kind of sanitize it, clean it up, get all the sweat out of our first block, you know, get ready for thought to get sweaty again.

Jon Nelson: When you're diving into region play finally and you're in what we call one of the regions of doom here in the state of Georgia region, to single out to me is traditionally one of the toughest places to be in the state of Georgia before we dive into the actual teams in your schedule and all that kind of stuff. When it comes to this region of doom, what is it like in region 2A life? For someone who's never seen action in 2A?

Coach Russ Murray: I tell you, from top to bottom it is it's competitive, you know? You know, I wish we could just, you know, could have made it in and in the top four. Maybe we could win a game outside of our region. You know, last year, Turner was our fourth ranked team and they got in and they lost to Metter, who was number one all the way till they played against Irwin in the semifinals. And they lost to them by a point. And, you know, that just tells you if our fourth-place team is going to get the number one overall team, how competitive it is. And this is tooth and nail every Friday night, you know, we went into this game Friday against Clinch and I thought, you know, we were better. We had people return and stuff. But I tell you what, they outplayed us and we were lucky enough to pull it off at the end. And that upset at Turner last week. And I didn't think that was going to happen. And you don't ever know what's going to happen in Irwin, who lost on of their state championship. You figured Brooks was going to beat them last week, but Irwin pulled it out. You know, it's just you've got to be on your game one hundred percent every Friday night in this region for sure.

Hannah Goodin: Well, that's who you have next, Turner County. Region game on the road. What are your expectations for that one, coach?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, I know it's going to be a tough game because Ashburn is not a great place for us to go play. Those guys, you know, they used to be the Rebels and they're the Titans. And they know that name fits them because they play well up there. They play like a bunch of Titans. Athletically, my gosh, they're Brook County-ish I mean, they're that athletic from top to bottom. They don't have a lot of players, but you can't play but eleven at a time. And those eleven they put on the field; they're going to be something else now for sure.

Jon Nelson: When you look at you mentioned this region in a broad sense, but you're looking at Turner, you're looking at yourselves, you're looking at you know, you're looking at what Clinch’s done. You're looking at Brooks, you're looking at Irwin. I mean, this is a region of true heavyweights. And all you guys do is seemingly beat up on each other. And it's almost a war of attrition before the top four of you get into the playoffs.

Coach Russ Murray: It has been like that in years past. I know we've had we've had kids hurt throughout the region and didn't make, couldn't play in the playoffs, because they were hurt. And I'm sure that some of the other teams have felt that, too. We just try to get through it. But, you know, you got to win them if necessary, to win them or you don't make the playoffs. So, you don't get the, you know, playoff seeding. So, you have to do it. You know what I mean? You can't hold players back for sure.

Hannah Goodin: I mean, it's that order, Turner, Brooks, Irwin, Lanier and Atkinson, all region in a row. How do you prepare for a stretch like that?

Coach Russ Murray: Well, it's kind of like what we been doing for three years since I've been here. We just we just focus on the day, you know, we try to win the day. And if we win today, we've got a chance to win tomorrow. And, you know, tomorrow turns into today and, you know, so on and so forth. If we win today. We try to win the weeks. We're trying to win a month. We try to win a year, you know, and we just have to focus on each day at a time. We don't try to get ahead of ourselves. And, you know, we just look about what we have on today to try to get to tomorrow for sure.

Jon Nelson: Russ Murray, the head coach of the Charlton County Indians down there in Folkston, ranked top ten for the first time in a long time, ranked top six in a lot of polls here as he gets diving into region play down there in region to single A one of the regions of doom in single a public coach. Thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Go grab some lunch, get out of that weight room and we'll be keeping an eye on things down there in South Georgia.

Coach Russ Murray: Ok, thanks for having me. Win today, guys!

Jon Nelson: Good stuff, it's always great to catch up with folks down there in South Georgia, in the region of doom. And, you know, we got to talk a little bit about what it's been like for Russ Murray, who's been there for over 25 years, either as a head coach or as an assistant coach down there at Charlton County. Charlton County in the top 10, in the top six, and a lot of polls around the state. And they are making a charge this year.

Hannah Goodin: You said their stadium, the swamp, is like a stone's throw from Florida, right?

Jon Nelson: Literally, you go off campus. So, for those watching on YouTube, some I'm going to do a little construction of geography here. So, if this is the campus for the high school, Charlton County High School, if this if this piece of paper that I have here on the desk is there high school, literally, there's a I think it's a US1. I think U.S. one goes right past the school. You go past the school, you go into downtown, you go through downtown. You're in the state of Florida.

Hannah Goodin: Wow.

Jon Nelson: Literally. That's it. Wow. That is about as south as south can be. And I think they're even further south, closer to the state of Florida than Camden County is in Kingsland. I mean, Camden is there like right there. I mean, like if you draw a straight line there, right there with each other. But obviously I think Charlton County is a little closer to the state of Florida and the Folkston a little closer to the state of Florida than Camden County is. But yeah, that is south of South Georgia gets...

Hannah Goodin: Very, well, I'm glad that we got him on. Thanks for getting him on, Jon. He was fun to talk to.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, it's always good to catch up with folks down there in the regions that you don't get the chance to see games from a great deal. And you can kind of catch up with folks and let everybody know what's going on.

Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, into the podcast.

Jon Nelson: Speaking of letting folks know what's going on this week.

Hannah Goodin: We are turning the page, week seven baby. For this week's Football Friday in Georgia game of the week, we will travel to Grisham Stadium. It's a region six- 6A showdown between number three, Carrollton, and South Paulding. Carrollton is 4-1. 1-1 in region play coming off that 45-27 loss to Rome that we talked about earlier in the show. The Trojans are led by quarterback MJ Morris, who's committed to NC State. He'll be fun to watch. South Paulding is also 4-1, but undefeated in region play at 2-0, the Spartans rolled past Dalton, 55-48 last week. The two teams played for the first time in 2020. Carrollton won 41-21. Kickoff is, of course, at for 7:30 p.m. And Jon, my big question in this one will be how will Carrollton respond?

Russ Murray: And that is the question. That is the question. You know, South Paulding beat Rome 34-32 the week before. So, then Rome beats Carrollton by 18 last week. And so, your kind of getting into it to region play here. This is a big region game because the winner here inside track to, you know, if not the two, possibly the region championship here and getting that one seed, you're always looking for those home games and it will be great for us to be out there at Grisham's Stadium. It's been renovated the last handful of years. They're renovating the field house in the south and endzone there. But Carrollton, a great community for high school football here in the state. And it'll be good to see everybody. Joey King coming back and being a part of high school football here in the state of Georgia from his time in college and before that up in Cartersville. So, it's going to be a fun night and a very important region game with those two schools.

Hannah Goodin: For the first time in five seasons with GPB. I will be missing Friday. Did you know this, Jon?

Jon Nelson: No, I did not know this.

Hannah Goodin: It'll be Niki. Niki Noto Palmer behind the desk in the studio. She's amazing.

Jon Nelson: Yes.

Hannah Goodin: She always does sideline reporting for the championship. I you know, you never want to plan a wedding in the fall, but when you're the matron of honor in the wedding, you can't really skip it. I have skipped countless weddings for football, but when you're when you're...

Jon Nelson: Could you have not impressed upon these people, that football season in the South is a bad time of the year for weddings, full disclosure.

Hannah Goodin: I's one of my best, best friends.

Jon Nelson: Full disclosure, yeah. When the boss and I got engaged, we were trying to figure out the best time of year to get married. And you know, how much of a football fan and how much of a college football fan Patty is. You've seen this you've seen this up close. Well, with Auburn. So, the first sentence out of both of our mouths was, this is not going to happen during football season. We are not going to get married during football season. So, we were engaged New Year's Day. And so, the question for us was, do we try to sprint, get it done by June, have the wedding in June, or do we just let it build and do it for a year and then have it a year later? And we ended up having the second week of January because football season was non-negotiable for me because of work. And she knew this and for her because of her fandom, for her alma mater. So, there was no way that it was going to happen during football season. You could not impress upon your friend?

Hannah Goodin: Not everyone has that same mentality. I actually have another one too. November, the first weekend in November. I'll also miss that game. And it just so happens that these are my two closest friends on the planet.

Jon Nelson: Yet they don't know... They don't care what football means.

Hannah Goodin:, my friend, friends, they don’t know what football is.

Jon Nelson: That was going that was going to be my next question. Do they know what football is?

Hannah Goodin: Well, the one this Friday. Yes. The wedding in November. She calls it sports ball.

Jon Nelson: Oh, ok. That explains parts. Yes, that explains it.

Hannah Goodin: Long story. Yes. Long story. Short story. Long.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: There you go. I will not be there Friday, unfortunately. I will miss everybody. But Niki will do a great job. In the meantime, do not forget to watch the Recruiting 2021 show. It will air at 7:00 o'clock before the broadcast. It also airs on demand, gpb.org/sports. We started putting my Zoom interviews out on, we were putting them in blog form, but we started putting the actual videos on social media, so you guys can't miss that. If you follow us at GPB Sports on social media, you'll be seeing all of those come through.

Jon Nelson: So, GPB Sports on social media?

Hannah Goodin: Yes, at @GPBsports.

Jon Nelson: So that's Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram.

Hannah Goodin: Yep. Nailed it.

Jon Nelson: CompuServe?

Hannah Goodin: Nope.

Jon Nelson: Netscape.

Hannah Goodin: Absolutely not.

Jon Nelson: Myspace.

Hannah Goodin: Nope.

Jon Nelson: 3-3, ok, just checking.

Hannah Goodin: Stone Ages. Countdown to Kickoff is also Thursday at noon on our GPB Sports Facebook live page. We had some new viewers last week, some more eyeballs. So, keep those coming. That's a really fun show. Would you have to do last week you had to you said you said the magic word. Yeah. And you had to?

Jon Nelson: I had to disappear off set and my cardboard cutout was my marker. And I had to basically do the entire show until I was allowed back into the set.

Hannah Goodin: My producer, Lori.

Jon Nelson: Off-stage, I was offstage doing my role and my cardboard cutout was taking my position next to Hannah. A lot of folks thought that there was more personality during the show when that was happening. So, keep that in mind.

Hannah Goodin: Well, maybe there was.

Jon Nelson: Probably.

Hannah Goodin: The word was Lassiter, you said.

Jon Nelson: I'm shocked.

Hannah Goodin: I have kept them off the rundown on purpose these past few shows.

Jon Nelson: But that's the thing for those of you that haven't had the chance to watch Countdown to Kickoffyet this year, the word can only be used once. So, she has to come up with a different word every single week. And you can't recycle a word and you cannot recycle the after effect. So, I can't you know, I can't be banished off set again this season.

Hannah Goodin: We will see about that.

Jon Nelson: I can't do more push-ups. I can't do push-ups as a punishment during an ad reader.

Hannah Goodin: And I make the rules. Who says?

Jon Nelson: Yeah, ok.

Hannah Goodin: All right, Jon.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, that's it for the podcast. Send us home.

Hannah Goodin: Oh, he is taking his head set off again.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. If you're going to say that there's no rules, I'm out the door.

Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, Jon is leaving. He has somewhere to be. So, it's just me here for the YouTubers. Hey, guys! Thanks so much for watching the Football Friday in Georgia podcast here at GPB. Do not forget to catch us at Grisham Stadium. It is a number three, Carrollton vs. South Paulding. Thank you so much for listening. And we will catch you next week. Bye, guys.