Football Fridays in Georgia: Why 'The Game' down in Warner Robins is such a big deal
On this week's Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, Jon and Hannah talk with Northside (WR) Coach Chad Alligood and Warner Robins Coach Marquis Westbrook about "The Game" this week and why it's so special. They also break down last week's big matchups.
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 or through all of our different social media platforms. Apparently, we're now on the Tik-Tok.
Hannah Goodin: Oh yeah, we are.
Jon Nelson: And we have to tell everybody about that new version of everything on social media. So Jon here, Hannah there. And this one is a fun one.
Hannah Goodin: This one is a fun one.
Jon Nelson: Not that they're all not fun for like a triple negative, which would drive my mother the English major crazy.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah, but this is a good podcast.
Jon Nelson: And we have new friends.
Hannah Goodin: We do. If you're watching the video version, we have Crisp County who was our game of the week last week. We're about to recap that one. That is true. Blue helmet, gold or yellow paw? (looking at helmets on table)
Jon Nelson: I'll go, let's go gold.
Hannah Goodin: Let's go. Gold paw.
Jon Nelson: Let's go gold.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: And then-.
Hannah Goodin: You describe the other one.
Jon Nelson: Our friends from Wheeler County in Alamo right here, thanks to the fans.
Hannah Goodin: It looks just like the Georgia Bulldogs.
Jon Nelson: But, you notice the difference.
Hannah Goodin There is a W.
Jon Nelson: Correct.
Hannah Goodin: But it's the same logo but a W.
Jon Nelson: It's a W right there at the at the sternum. Right there at the base of it.
Hannah Goodin: Spike red collar.
Jon Nelson Yeah, at the base of the dog collar. Wheeler County. The Wheeler County Bulldogs. Our friends in Alamo.
Hannah Goodin: Red, black and white.
Jon Nelson: Coach Smith and and the boss, Brook Smith. The coach's wife come through. Thomas Smith. Brooke Smith came through with some stuff here. Great to add Wheeler County to the stacks. And so what we would like-.
Hannah Goodin: I think you should hit it a few more times in case people can't hear.
Jon Nelson: There. I'll hit. I'll hit, I'll hit Crisp, and then I'll hit. Oh, hey there. I've hit them both a couple times. But once again, if you would like to show off your school to the rest of the state, you can send it to us. You can reach out to us on social media. You reach out to Hannah on Twitter, on email, reach out to me, on Twitter, on email, and we'll show it off here on the podcast. We'll show it off on Countdown to Kick off. And we will once again, we want to show the state off to the rest of the state and show how much love there is for your community. So, reach out to us however you want and maybe we'll add yours, your and your helmet to the stacks. No. Maybe we will add your helmet to the stack so you can add your at one helmet or add two. How about that?
Hannah Goodin: All right. It's rivalry week here at GPB. And we've got Northside head coach Chad Alligood. Warner Robins head coach Marquis Westbrook. They are going head-to-head. It's our GPB stream game of the week. We are talking to both of them and my scoreboard is revenge game. So that's all coming up. But let's take a quick look back. Speaking of Crisp County, at week one, it was AAA Cougars versus 7A Westlake at the Lion's den. Westlake was too much for the 3A team. They won it 47 to 7. Offensively for the Lions quarterback, RJ Johnson was 15 of 20, passing for 253 yards and three scores. His top targets were Jabari Jones and Ahmad Butler. Running back Jai'Den Thomas was amazing. 100 yards from scrimmage, three touchdowns. Defensively, Jon, John Betts had four sacks. And, on special teams, cornerback Avieon Terrell, talked a lot about him. He had four punt returns for 184 yards, one a 65-yard touchdown, and it was our play of the first half. Crisp, on the other hand, was held without a first down and wound up at -65 yards rushing.
Jon Nelson: Dominant performance on the lines of scrimmage by Westlake in that one. And they just have- they are tall. And they're tall. They're thick. They're large. They take up a lot of space. Four quarterback sacks in the first quarter of Crisp. It was a long night for Crisp, but once again, Crisp is always going to be a school that wants to challenge themselves here in season number one. And you learn from games like this against Westlake and you carry it forward. And so, the lessons going back to Cordele in a very, very tough game for them going up against Westlake on Football Fridays In Georgia.
Hannah Goodin: The first thing I noticed at the beginning of the game was how much bigger Westlake was.
Jon Nelson: Size, no doubt.
Hannah Goodin: Than Crisp County.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And, and also in our stream game last week, it was another dominant performance, Cedartown over Callaway. And the margin I think was a bit of a surprise. But Cedartown really put the hammer down. I know that's Brooks County, but at the same time, Cedartown at home against Callaway, big result there as well for the Bulldogs and it was great to have Globetrotter-
Hannah Goodin: They have the same score?
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Same score from our broadcast game to the stream game 47 - 7.
Jon Nelson: How's that for synergy.
Hannah Goodin: Hey.
Nelson: Yeah, Globetrotter Greg was in Cedartown for Cedartown in Callaway and we get to send him to Middle Georgia this week for Warner Robins and Northside. All I'm going to say is Globetrotter Greg, get there early.
Hannah Goodin: Yes,.
Jon Nelson: Early.
Hannah Goodin: If he can even find a parking spot.
Jon Nelson: That's what I'm saying. Get there early. Like leave tomorrow, leave tomorrow. Get there early.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. It's going to be it's going to be a good rivalry match up. That's coming up. All right. Let's take a look at our scoreboard, the top five scores we were following on Friday and minor revenge game. Sure. So let's start by going from Savannah to Miami for a border war defending for a state champion, Benedictine. And was looking for revenge over Columbus. The Cadets bit off a bit more than they could chew. Jon, Christopher Columbus, 41 to 15.
Jon Nelson: It was tied at seven. Luke Kromenhoek threw a touchdown pass for Benedictine. But then from there it was all Christopher Columbus winning 41-15. Christopher Columbus won in Savannah last year, and it was a chance for Danny Britton and the Cadets, to try to to even out that two game series. But Christopher Columbus gets the Duke and Benedictine lost last year, 42-27. But then they once again responded, won a state title. So, we'll see what happens here. So maybe there's synergy there if you're a fan of the Benedictine and the Cadets.
Hannah Goodin: South Paulding was looking to avenge two losses in a row to Carrollton. It was a close one. Trojans won at 28-21.
Jon Nelson: “Juju” Lewis, one of the most talented freshmen that we have here in the state of Georgia on the day 17 of 29 for 220 and four. Big win for Joey King out of the blocks in Carrollton. South Paulding once again kept at bay, seven points there. But, Carrollton got the Duke.
Hannah Goodin: Walton knocked Brookwood out of the 7A playoffs last year, beat them again, 34-20.
Jon Nelson: And we got to catch up with Daniel Brunner on the postgame show. It was good to hear what he thought about Brookwood. They were down 14 - 7 at one point, then they came back to put 34 on the board. So big win for Walton there. And we'll be talking about Brookwood a little bit here on the show, too.
Hannah Goodin: We sure will. In Middle Georgia, Northside and Peach had a record of two and two over the past four years, but Northside won the tiebreaker, 35 - 7 on Friday.
Jon Nelson: And we'll catch up with head coach Chad Alligood to get his perspective on the game against Peach. What you love, what you've learned for the first couple of games and getting you ready for this big rivalry game coming up here this weekend.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah, he really breaks down both sides of the ball. And last year, Washington County rallied back from a big fourth quarter deficit against Swainsboro to win it. The Tigers did not let that happen again. 42 to nothing.
Jon Nelson: All Swainsboro in this one. Robert Edwards in his first season as head coach there in Sandersville at the House of Pain and obviously non region schedule. You want to sit there and try to figure out where you are as a team with all graduations and new philosophies and things like that. So once again, we talk about lessons that you learn in losses in the non-region schedule. Do you want that to get you ready for region two because that's once again that's where you make your hay region play. So we'll see how everything continues for Waco and the Golden Hawks.
Hannah Goodin: What did I leave off, Jon? What upsets did you see this Friday?
Jon Nelson: Well, I mean, upsets. I mean, I'm not I don't want to I'm not going to talk. I'll talk other things. We've got upsets plus other stuff on the board. Lee County put up a big number against Hapeville Charter. That one was 37-0. Rome puts up a big number as well. They won 49-0. That one was over early. Gainesville is now 2- 0. Marist, we caught up with.
Hannah Goodin: Yes.
Jon Nelson: Head Coach Allen Chadwick. Hannah Goodin: Coach Chadwick call into the post game. You guys you if you do not watch the postgame you have to.
Jon Nelson: Yes, you have to.
Hannah Goodin: The beginning of the show started with Coach Chadwick's nose and his just his nose and his chin. And you could see the sweat dripping off of his face. That's how he was holding his phone, calling into the postgame show.
Jon Nelson: Wow okay.
Hannah Goodin: He was literally had just finished the game walking off the field. It's my favorite part of the show. Yes. Finished the game, walking on the field. And he was holding his phone so close to his face that you could see this five o'clock shadow. Well, at that point it was 11 p.m. shadow.
Jon Nelson: 11 p.m. Eastern Shadow.
Hannah Goodin: And the sweat dripping off of his face, it was hilarious.
Jon Nelson: Well, that and you've got to Bainbridge knocking off Coffee what a lot of folks in South Georgia thought was going to be the game of the week in South Georgia. Bainbridge beats Coffee by the score of 24-21. So, there's that when you've got you know, a lot of folks thought that Cedartown in Callaway, with the margin of victory being 40 points was a big one. You've got Lumpkin County, 2-0 under Heath Webb, the former coach at Gainesville. You've got to Our Mercy doing well, ACE Charter under Keith Hatcher's 2 and 0 after their win over GMC Prep, who is 0 and 2 out of the blocks after their loss to Wheeler County and then they lose two to ACE charter Druid Hills ends a 12-game losing streak with a 21-20 win over McNair. So congratulations to the Red Devils.
Hannah Goodin: Congratulations Guys.
Jon Nelson: Well done by the Red Devils getting a win there. Gilmer under Paul Standard 2 and 0 for the first time since 2014 and Portal had a 17-game losing streak snapped at the York Russell Classic. They beat Twiggs County. So Portal is back on the winning side of the ledger to Colquitt County.
Hannah Goodin: Their game got called early due to weather. They won 29-0 over Stockbridge.
Jon Nelson: That is true.
Hannah Goodin: And Sean Calhoun, MVP of the Week, not only was our guest on the podcast, but also called into the postgame show and broke down the whole game for us.
Jon Nelson: That was good stuff. And once again, you can go to your favorite podcast, your catch up with all of our past episodes, go to the YouTube channel here at GPB Sports and see the video version. But yeah, Sean Calhoun was across all the all the platforms.
Hannah Goodin: All GPB platforms there was.
Jon Nelson: Sean Calhoun, Colquitt, all the-.
Hannah Goodin: Might as well put him on the TikTok.
Jon Nelson: Well Hey, maybe. Maybe they'll know how to do the TikToks down in Moultrie.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, I'm sure they do.
Jon Nelson: And get Sean to be a part of things. But no, it was great to catch up with Sean all week long in a bunch of different ways here at GPB. And, I guess we're going to be doing the same thing with the red school and the blue school around Georgia 247 this week.
Hannah Goodin: Yes, we are. So our Football Fridays in Georgia game of the week is Brookwood at Collins Hill. We're going to preview that one at the end of the show. But first, our second screen experience.
Jon Nelson: Second screen experience.
Hannah Goodin: Our web game. Our streaming game is North Side versus Warner Robins. We get to catch up with both head coaches to talk about this huge matchup. Let's start with head coach Chad Alligood.
Jon Nelson: Chad, we know it's a busy week and thanks for hanging out with us. Let's go backward before we go forward here a little bit, some of your takeaways from the win on the on the previous week.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): How hard we played. We stressed all week long, you know, if we just play hard, good things will happen. And I thought our effort was tremendous. And on offense, we took care of the ball and on defense we didn't give up the big play. And so, you know, you do those three things, good things will happen.
Hannah Goodin: It was a big win. Peach County, 35 to 7. Offensively, you had 468 total yards. Quarterback Damien Dee passed for 217 yards, a couple scores by Michael McClendon and E.J. Riley. That was offensively. Then defensively you held Peach to just 61 yards rushing Jamari Shine's two tackles defensive TD cornerback. Tucker one interception. Mikell Roberts five tackles, one tackles for loss. A huge game on both sides of the ball. Break it down for me.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): It was, you know, our game plan going into Peach was to not let them run the ball to Mikell, make them put it in the air. And, I felt like defensively we were able to do that in our DB's. You know, we had two picks, we should have had a couple more, we dropped some easier ones. And so defensively it kind of played right into our hands. And then offensively, I'm glad people finally got to see our quarterback, Damien Dee. What I get to see every day at practice, he is a true dual threat guy and he went out there and made some plays in the passing game and had some huge run for us, and so we went out there and the Northside formula worked. And, we got to continue to do that.
Jon Nelson: So then let me ask you this. When it comes to our Recruiting 2022 show, we always had the segment at the end about Make that Kid an Offer with Matt-.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, are we nominating Damien?
Jon Nelson: That's why I'm asking, are we are we nominating and saying, Make that Kid An Offer or make that kid a better offer?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Make Damien an offer.
Hannah Goodin: Yes.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): He is a true leader, great grades, does a great job and running in throwing the football. And he's just an all-around great quarterback and fits what we do so make that kid an offer.
Jon Nelson: There you go.
Hannah Goodin: I'm looking it up. Does he have any offers?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): No, he does not.
Jon Nelson: See, this is this is why we have these kinds of things.
Hannah Goodin: Alright, we are going to let him know.
Jon Nelson: Alright. So right now, with the the schedule and what you've been able to do so far, I guess grades your grades, your three phases on 1 to 10, where do you think you are right now?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): I think we're about a five in all three because I think there's so much room for improvement. You know, I think we showed a lot of improvement from week one, week two. But, you know, it'll never get to a ten. That's where we'll want it to be. But I think we still got a long way to go in all three phases. So I think we're all sitting at a five and all three of them.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, you got another big week to prepare for a rivalry matchup against Warner Robins on your home turf. What do we call in this rivalry?
Jon Nelson: Does it have an official name?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): It's a game. It's just the game.
Hannah Goodin: There's no special name.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): No, that's it. That's it. It's just a game is the one that everybody wants to come and watch. Everybody wishes they could be a part of, you know, Ocho or Perry could be playing at home and their fans are still going to come watch and Northside and Warner Robins play. That's just the way it is. That's the game around here. And, you know, I've been fortunate. I think this is number 19 for me. And it each time, you know, you get to this game, you know, you just feel that little sense of specialness because you are part of a game that's this big. It means so much to so many people.
Jon Nelson: So if this is 19, what do you remember about number one? Oh.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Number one, easy. 1999, we were ranked number one. And Warner Robins was ranked number two, it was the last game of the year we were playing for the region championship and Willie Reed takes the opening play for Warner Robins for score. They kick off to us and Chancy Stuckey takes the number one play for us and scores. And so we start over with about 11 minutes left to go in the game in the first quarter and we went on to win in the game. But, you know, I'll-I'll never forget not being from here. That was my first one driving up at 6:00 for warmups and the stadium was already full. And, you know, and so it's just a special game.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. Well, that was your first one and it sounds like a pretty memorable time. Is there another favorite moment from this game? Any.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Any time you beat Warner Robins. All of them are good.
Jon Nelson: See.
Hannah Goodin: Okay was there one that was the best one, though. The one that's the best.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Probably my first one as offensive coordinator in 2010. You know, coming to call the plays, I think we won 28 to nothing and-.
Hannah Goodin: Nice, love a blanking.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): You know, some and that or something like that. I know we scored 28 and won the game and I remember that one just because being the, you know, the shot goal on offense and being able to score some points and so that was sticks out when.
Jon Nelson: You when you go to the Mac for for a game like this and I'm going to invoke the name of a dear friend, Mike Davis.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Yes.
Jon Nelson: Mike was the longtime play by play voice of Northside, but he was also the fire marshal in the county at times. So, Mike was the most important guy there, and he's in the broadcast booth at the same time because he's the one who can determine how many folks can actually get in.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): I think Mike would cover his eyes and say, ‘I really don't see all these people,’ you know? But Mike was special to this program, specially this whole community. The press box at the MAC is named after him now. And Mike just meant a lot to a lot of people.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And so I've there have been 12,000 easy. I've heard that there were games in the past where it's 18,000 where you can't move and the tailgating is across the street, it's in the parking lot. So basically, you know, Chad, what you're saying is if you don't. Have your ticket now. Then you're in trouble.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Oh, yeah, you're in trouble, you know. It'll fill up quick in people to get there early to make sure they have a seat in both schools. Everybody's class reunion is built around this weekend, so there will be, you know, seven or eight class reunions going on on both sides of us and them on both sides of the stadium. It's you know, this is the game. Everybody wants to know when the weekend is a year out. So really, both schools planned all the class reunions around this game. And so you have a lot of alumni that come back and this is the only game they see. And so you just want to go out there and put on a show for them.
Hannah Goodin: Well if somehow you cannot get a ticket. We are streaming it on GPB, so that is exciting. Everyone can hang out with.
Jon Nelson: Hannah with the subtle plug.
Hannah Goodin: On the GPB Sports app or GPB.org/sports. Hey, I'm excited about streaming them we're going to do check-ins with your game all broadcast long.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): That'll be great. We're excited to have you all down here, you know, excited for the whole state to be able to see what this game was all about.
Jon Nelson: When you look at Warner Robins and with what Coach Westbrook have been able to accomplish the last handful of seasons, when you when you look on the south side of Georgia 247, what do you see with that program?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Right now, they're just playing with a bunch of confidence. You know, they're just you know, you've played in five straight state championship games. You know, the rosters have turned over, and they're still playing with confidence. And, you know, and somehow you've got to find a way to knock that confidence from them, very well coached. You know, in my mind, they have the best player in the state of Georgia on the D-line and burly. And so you've got to have a plan with him. And so, you know, we've got to find a way to match that confidence and, you know, and throw a blow early. And because they all play and, you know, they have owned the robbery the last five years. And, you know, when this thing goes in ebbs and flows. So we have to be ready to play just because of the confidence you're playing with.
Hannah Goodin: What are your keys to the game this Friday?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): The keys are going to be defensively. We cannot give up a big score. That's it. We have to make them drive the ball and offensively we have to hold on to the ball and drive it. You know, that's what we did at Peach. We had ten, 11, 12 play drives. We're eating clock and, you know, driving the ball and keeping the opponents obvious off the field. We have to be able to do that. Then, on top of those two, we have to be the best and special teams. If we'll do that, I think we'll be fine. But also to win this game, the game really didn't start till the first 3 minutes of the game are over. Pre-game speeches have worn off. The crowds worn off. All the excitement is worn off the pep rally. So the game is going to start about minute number nine of the first quarter. Everybody settles in and you just play the game from there on out. So it's really just weathering the storm of the first 3 minutes of a game like this to everybody get settled in.
Jon Nelson: So my last question for you is when you have someone like a Vic Burley, who last time I checked, is still a tall drink of water and one of the most imposing forces here in the state. Do you challenge him directly or is it, you know, working your way around someone that is that kind of a titanic force? Is it nose to nose? Is it double teaming? Is it trying to figure out how to work your way around him or do you try to to sit there and challenge him nose to nose? How do you go after a guy like that?
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): You better have a plan for when you better know where he's at and you better have a plan of attack because he can wreak havoc. And there's no sense in just sitting there beating your head against a wall, you know, there are times we will attack him, but you just have to have a plan. And I think if you go against a guy like Vic and you just say, Well, he's just like any other player, then you're going to be disappointed. You have to have a plan for him because he's that good and can disrupt you. And so we'll know where Vic's at I promise.
Hannah Goodin: And my last question for you. When it comes to a big game, we're just calling this “The Game.” It's not-.
Jon Nelson: Capital T, capital G.
Hannah Goodin: Just “The Game.”
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): There you go.
Hannah Goodin: When it comes to something like this, is there like a pre-game speech? Is there an extra hurrah? Like, what do you do to get the team fired up for the game? Like, this.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Will be the easiest week to get the guys up to practice and for the game you don't have to say much. This game means so much to everybody. They know the importance literally today will be the best Monday practice. We've had Tuesday usually the best Tuesday. Wednesday will be the best Wednesday just because of they know the importance and you know, just remember something Coach Nix used to always tell us coaches before, this game right here, you got to live with it rest of your life because you're going to see these people the rest of your life. You know, we played North Cobb in three weeks. We're never going to see the people from North Cobb again after we play. But you're going to see the people from Warner Robins every single day the rest of your life. So, you better take care of business in this one.
Jon Nelson: Now, I heard it in your voice and I heard it in Conrad Nix's voice. When you were-when you were saying that.
Hannah Goodin: I felt that. I felt I'm ready to go to practice, Coach. I'm ready.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Well, just speak to Coach Nix. He's been around the last couple of weeks, and he still loves his program. And believe me, he's probably going to call me every single day. He's going to be up here this week. He sent me a text Saturday. I mean, this game still getting fired up and he hadn't coached in 13 years. And so, that's how much this game means to a lot of people.
Jon Nelson: Well, Chad, thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast and pulling back the curtain from the the Northside of Georgia 247 for this game that's going to be at McConnell Talbert Stadium this week and looking forward to showing it off to the rest of the state with our second screen experience. Looking forward to seeing this game with the red school and the blue school there. And Warner Robins.
Chad Alligood, Head Coach Northside (Warner Robins): Thanks, Jon. Thanks, Hannah. Appreciate all y'all do for high school football.
Jon Nelson: One coach down, one to go. And I think we rescued the second coach from lunchroom duty. It's time to catch up with Warner Robins head coach Marquis Westbrook, who has been in the last game of the year for a lot of years running.
Hannah Goodin: Hey coach Westbrook calling in from the cafeteria on lunch duty. I'm just joking.
Jon Nelson: Avoiding lunch duty.
Hannah Goodin: Avoiding lunch duty. You had the week off after falling to Lee County, 26 to 10. The Trojans held your team to 80 yards rushing. How were they able to stop the run game? And what did you work on this off week?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, I just hats off to Coach Fabrizio and his head football team. And, they got a really good football team, and they got guys who play physical. And I just have to admit that they outplayed us. Then they got after us upfront a little bit. And, you know, we had some miscues and, you know, those first game jitters and got behind the six and couldn't recover a little bit. But our guys, you know, we kept our head up. We're going to keep grinding and to get better, we just got to make sure we don't have those same type of mistakes that we had in the first game and try to eliminate the mental mistakes and also just be a little bit more physical.
Jon Nelson: And so you go from first game jitters with a game against another heavyweight in Lee County to a different kind of game jitters. Now, the first this is, I guess, the question to the floor. Does the game have an official name attached to it.
Hannah Goodin: We are try to get to the bottom of it?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, people go back and forth about it, and it depends on what side you live off the Warner Robins Northside game. So, it's not an official like showdown classic or anything. That's that's that's what it is.
Hannah Goodin: Maybe, we need to come up with a name.
Jon Nelson: Well, I-.
Hannah Goodin: Jon has his own name.
Jon Nelson: I always call it "the Battle of Georgia 247" because-
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Oh, yeah.
Jon Nelson: 247 splits it, and it's like 247 North is the blue school and everything. South is you guys.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Yeah,.
Jon Nelson: But, Chad, who was on before you, basically just calls it "The Game," capital T, capital G.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: "The Game." That's it. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: So we may just go with that as the official title as "The Game" because of what it means to not just to to middle Georgia, but to high school football in general. So, are we going to settle on the game Capital T, capital G for this?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: That is it, man, because that's the game. I mean, we everybody who lives here and and and in Warner Robins and even around the county they know this is a game that, you know, that's going to be talked about the most and watched the most and, you know, attended hopefully the most. And ah, it's the one you, the seniors they live for. So "The Game" is it has a good ring to it. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: For those who don't know you guys share a stadium, but you will be the away team this year. Describe a game at the MAC for us.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Oh, man, it's. It's like no other. I tell the kids I'm jealous of them because I grew up in Cordele. You know, we have a smaller stadium and you know we can, you know, pack in 4000 on each side in that stadium stadium and ah, you know, split in half, you know, you got one side with blue and what's up red and you know, sometimes standing room only, sometimes in on the hills and everything. And it's just like electric. It's the type of atmosphere that you wish you had every week. But it's just, you know, everybody comes back for that, gets them all the kids who are in college and all the adults playing there and its an electric atmosphere.
Jon Nelson: So, then let me ask you this. You've been through "The Game" Capital T, capital G a couple of cycles. What was your first experience in the game?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Oh, my first one. Oh, boy. As a coach, I guess it wasn't a good one. You know, when we first got here, Warner Robins. Oh, I came along with our coach, Mike Chastain. And in ‘16. And we got throttled. man. I mean, we got thumped pretty bad over. There was a 55 degree game. They were really good. You know, they had Tobias Oliver at quarterback and big running backs and a huge offensive line. And we had, you know, just starting a new staff over here at Warner Robins and and they put it on usa pretty good. And that was my first taste as a coach of "The Game." And and, you know, I'll never forget it. It was it was, you know, we had a young team and, you know, a couple of seniors that played a couple of snaps the years before. But other than that, it was one of those games where it was a little bit over before it was well over.
Hannah Goodin: That was your first memory of it. What what's your favorite memory of of "The Game?"
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, you know what? I think it was that following year, that following year, where our kids, they started to believe, you know, that they could win because this is a rivalry that goes back to like early sixties, you know, going back and forth. And, you know, we had lost a few before that. And I think it was around, you know, mid first quarter, you know, the kids come up the sideline and I was coaching defense and they were like, man, we got these boys, you know, and they had a full confidence that they were going to win the game. And the last two didn't matter. The previous years didn't matter and those seniors that year, they took it upon themselves to say, we're not going out with a loss. And they continued fighting, and we grinded out a win that made that the year in 17'.
Jon Nelson: So then what has it been like the last, say, 1,800 days where Warner Robins has been dominant over Northside in this series? What are the conversations like when you get to to go out on a Saturday morning and, you know, go grab breakfast or brunch or something? What are the conversations like over these last handful of years where it's been the red school, over the blue school?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, you know, people do talk about it and, you know, it's a big thing. But we try our best not to be complacent because we know that all those days and all that stuff doesn't matter once that ball is snapped and once it is kicked off. That can that can end right there. If we're not careful, but people do talk about them in town. And, you know, people don't take it easy on us this year cause, you know. But, I know better than that. I know better than that. I remember 2016 distinctively so.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, yeah wishful thinking.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: It's going to be a fun atmosphere. Yes.
Hannah Goodin: Well, when it comes to this Friday, what are your keys to the game?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Oh, again, like I said, we're going to have to make sure we play smart, take care of the football, and make sure that we don't put ourselves in negative yard plays early on and early down. And we got to make sure we take advantage of turnovers. We got to play big on defense and off. And just like I say, cause turnovers.
Jon Nelson: So as you continue to, you know, go through this particular season, let me ask you this. How many coaches on the staff were at the Northside Peach Game scouting, or did you give yourselves a quote in quote, Friday off with an off week?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, we had a few of them. I will say that. We had a few there and some guys were at different places here in town. So we had a couple of guys over there was some guys, in small towns, some teams that we play here in town. So it's it's got to be exciting. And we've seen them on filming and we've seeing them in person. And I know they're going to give us a really good day.
Hannah Goodin: Even though it's been you guys have been more dominant. It's been a little lopsided in the recent years. What's this week like for your team? Do you have a pre-game ritual for this one? What are what is the atmosphere like around Warner Robins?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, what are you going to-I mean, over here in our camp. We're going to try to keep everything. You know, I don't want to do anything that's going to be, you know, to outgoing, you know, our team, they know that this will means a whole lot to us, you know, everybody in the household, uncles, and dad's and everything. So we really try to push that on the kids, you know. Oh, we got a spirit going on at the school. Of course, every time we play the game, it's always a spirit. We surrounded that and try to get the fanfare of it. But our kids, they get excited about it. But we keep preaching that, you know, the real show starts at 7:30pm, and we're going to try to make sure that we put on a good show.
Jon Nelson: How do you keep it from getting too overly emotional? Because I know there's the game plan and then getting ready for the game in and of itself. How do you try to keep the the the athletes and the coaches and everybody around it on as even a keel as possible, knowing that that's almost an impossibility in a week like this?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Well, I think our preparation that plays a whole bunch a whole you know, I would say our preparation, we're prepared for that. Those moments in the game where, you know, we don't get overwhelmed. You know, if we put ourselves in negative situations at practice, we put ourselves in those adverse situations. It won't be so unfamiliar. And then just leading up to the ballgame, we try to make sure that we tell our men It's a bulid up not at 5:30, and we get hyped up early on at our pep rally. We just got to make sure that right at 7:30, man, we got to focus all our energy on being together and being one right then. So we try to combat that with that mindset.
Hannah Goodin: My last question for you. You have one of the best players in the state on your defense. You're loaded on offense. Take a moment to brag on some of your playmakers.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Oh, man. Oh, the one you mentioned first, Vic Burley. He is a blessing. He is a true blessing. He's a physical specimen. But, he plays hard more, but more than more so now than ever. He's more vocal, he's coaching on the field and he makes our players very up front with him. And we have another kid who is also getting the looks of recruiting wise outside on the offensive side of the ball. Cam Flowers is a kid who is, you know, dynamic and scores for touchdowns for us. And we got a new quarterback named Chase Reese. Can't forget about Mr. Malcolm Brown in the backfield. He is electric and once he gets loose, it's hard to contain him. Oh, man, Elijah Antonio, he is a kid who defends a bunch of snaps for us on defense and he's electric, fast turn. I can just go on and on. Just name it all the guys. Oh. Well, whoo am I leaving out? I don't want to leave anybody out, but that's the core of our guys. And and even up front, I forgot about my big guys, you know, we got Nick Reeves who is playing a bunch of snaps last year and play this year up front. He's a part of those guy. They felt the lows for him on the offensive line and they're going to have their work cut out for them and as they go we'll, go. This is Friday.
Jon Nelson: All right. So you've been bragging on some of your players. Last question for you before you have to head the class and you turn into an academic pumpkin for us, you have to head back to class. On the end of the recruiting show Recruiting 2022 with Hannah, Matt and myself, we have the segment where we call Make that Kid an Offer. And you had a running back last season that, you know, going into the championship game really wasn't getting a whole lot of looks. And then things exploded after his performance at Georgia State. Is there a player for you right now this year off the top of your head where you would sit there and say, make that kid an offer or make that kid a better offer than what is currently on the table?
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: I would have to say Cam Flowers. He's a junior this year. He's got dynamic, playmaking ability, like I say, on the outside. He's he's a hard cover. And then he comes he can come over and play some defense for us. Also, he's he's one of those kids where you can put him on the field and he's going to produce. So he's the one that just, you know, pops in my head right now.
Jon Nelson: And we know that that list will continue to grow. Coach, thanks for hanging out with us too. To let everybody know the the south of 247 perspective for "The Game," capital T, Capital G Northside and Warner Robins this week. Thanks for hanging out with us on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast.
Marquis Westbrook, Head Coach Warner Robins: Yes, sir. I appreciate you having me on.
Hannah Goodin: How do we get that to stick for years and years to come? And it started here on the podcast, "The Game."
Jon Nelson: Harvard, Yale is the version in college football of Capital T, Capital G. Maybe. Maybe.
Hannah Goodin: Maybe.
Jon Nelson: You know, there are these things called T-shirts.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, let's make them. Who do I? Who do we? Sandy. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: Commander Sandy. Who do we discuss when it comes to?
Hannah Goodin: And then she's pointing to our boss, Gerke.
Sandy Malcolm: Conveniently. He's right here.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, hey, buddy. I see you in there.
Jon Nelson: Sports director.
Sandy Malcolm: He was just giving me a hard time about money. So. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: So that means we have money for t-shirts, then?
Jon Nelson: Marketing opportunities.
Hannah Goodin: Yes? Is that a nod? I think I see a nod.
Jon Nelson: That's a north south nod, I think. Looking forward to it. But yes, capital T, capital G, "The Game."
Hannah Goodin: Alright in t shirts. TBD.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: I can't see his facial expression, but-.
Jon Nelson: That's because he's behind the glass.
Hannah Goodin: Sure. It's a smile.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Game of the week, week two, Brookwood at Collins Hill. Jon, you will be on the sidelines. That is true. What are you looking for in this one?
Jon Nelson: Oh, this one's going to be fun. I mean, you have Collins Hills, the defending champ, and you've got, you know, they after they won their first game of the year, they were off. So they've had a week to prepare for Brookwood. Brookwood, we've mentioned what the Brookwood Broncos have had to had to deal with last week with Walton beating them. So, Coach Jones and the Broncos looking to rebound after the loss to Brookwood. Collins Hills had some time to kind of analyze and heal up a little bit. And I can guarantee you, much like the discussion that we were having with Coach Westbrook about now, did you did you send some coaches to kind of, you know, maybe, you know, look at look at the matchup. It wouldn't surprise me if you had some of the Collins Hill coaching staff keeping an eye on Walton and Brookwood. But yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Dylan Lonergan now. They had the the quarterback for Brookwood and see how Collins Hill responds to being a defending champ, knowing that everyone is going to want to knock them off of their perch here in 22.
Hannah Goodin: Should be a great game. Jon, looking forward to it.
Jon Nelson: Oh, of course, as you sit here, you're giggling and you're making me giggle now you're just looking forward to everything. You're just having fun.
Hannah Goodin: Week two, you know, it's tough because week zero is you're trying to get back into the football season, and it's just really whiplash with going from the summer, trying to get into the season and then week one-.
Jon Nelson: But, it's still summer, by the way.
Hannah Goodin: Well, yeah, yeah. But you know what I mean. Like, like like. Like school. Like school, somewhere like summer break.
Jon Nelson: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: And then you get to week zero and then week one, you're getting your groove. Well, this week we've got our groove. Week two got our groove setting in for the rest of the season and everything's going great.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, Recruiting 2022 is your lead off at 7:00 on GPB, GPB.org, and in the GPB Sports app with Matt, Hannah and myself. And then at 7:30 on the network it is Brookwood, Collins Hill. Then your second screen at GPB.org is "The Game" Capital T, Capital G, Northside, Warner Robins really looking forward to seeing how many folks are there at the MAC for this one? It is going to be everyone. Everyone's going to be their bottom line. Everyone in middle Georgia is just going to be at this game.
Hannah Goodin: Before we let you go, we're going to do our quick staff whip around, staff.
Jon Nelson: The staff whip around.
Hannah Goodin: Lassiter won beat Beeler six- did I say Beeler?
Jon Nelson: You said Beeler. Who did you play?
Hannah Goodin: Wheeler.
Jon Nelson: Wheeler.
Hannah Goodin: Beat, Beeler, Wheeler 16-10 to go 1-1 on the year Lakeside Jon?
Jon Nelson: All right. So but see, now I got conflicting information. You were wrong on the air.
Hannah Goodin: I was wrong?
Jon Nelson: You said that Lakeside Atlanta lost to Northview. They did not. They beat Northview 30 to 6. So, Morris Starr gets the Duke. We beat Northview.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, I didn't even give Coach Starr credit on the air. Yeah, I'm sorry, Coach Starr.
Jon Nelson: Yes. So, Decatur, Commander Sandy, the Decatur Bulldogs knocked off Wesleyan by the score of 30-28.
Sandy Malcolm: Yes, last, last minute field goal. So good win for them.
Jon Nelson: Excellent special teams. We like special teams wins. That's good stuff.
Sandy Malcolm: Lakeside 2-0, can we just pause for a moment?
Hannah Goodin: I think we need to take a moment, a moment of silence.
Sandy Malcolm: When was the last time they went 2-0?
Jon Nelson: That's a good question and it's been a while. So, kudos to Morris Star and the Lakeside Vikings for being two and O right now.
Sandy Malcolm Parkview also 2-0 now.
Jon Nelson Parkview. So what did Parkview do?
Hannah Goodin: Hey, that's Jake's school, right?
Jon Nelson: Parkview as I look through the-Parkview beat Shiloh 20 to 8.
Hannah Goodin: Nice.
Jon Nelson: So Parkview gets the win there.
Hannah Goodin Hey, Parkview is good this year.
Jon Nelson: Yes, and so.
Sandy Malcolm: The only loss of the week unfortunately Central Macon.
Hannah Goodin: James is Central Macon. Whoomph Whoomph.
Sandy Malcolm: Sorry James.
Jon Nelson: Alright so what happened with Central Macon? Who did Central Macon play?
Sandy Malcolm: Howard?
Jon Nelson: Oh, okay. So, it was a local. So Howard beat Central Macon 46-19, so the Chargers of Central Macon lose by 27 to Howard. So, it was a Macon area matchup with with those two.
Hannah Goodin: Hey, we've got a few more people in the control room this week though.
Jon Nelson: True, but.
Hannah Goodin: We've got intern Stephen.
Jon Nelson: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: Does he have an Atlanta school?
Jon Nelson: Does Stephen have a school?
Sandy Malcolm: Where did you go, Stephen? Centennial.
Jon Nelson: Centennial, the Knights.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: So we know they exist. So, lets take a look.
Hannah Goodin: They lost to Roswell. 35-14.
Jon Nelson: Okay, so, yeah, Centennial has been having hard times the last handful of years. Yes.
Hannah Goodin: And then Gerke, bossman.
Jon Nelson: Bossman is San Diego. So he would have to go to the CIF.
Sandy Malcolm: Actually Maryland. He he went to. Oh, daughter. His daughter went to Wheeler.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: Okay. So the Wheeler Wildcats.
Hannah Goodin: So, there's Wheeler.
Jon Nelson: So Wheeler Wildcats. What did the Wheeler Wildcats do? They-
Hannah Goodin: I've got it. Oh, well, obviously they lost to Lassiter.
Sandy Malcolm: Right.
Jon Nelson: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: Actually, Beeler is what we are calling them this week.
Jon Nelson: Yeah Beeler, so there we go. Alright.
Hannah Goodin: Alright, alright.
Sandy Malcolm: Alright.
Hannah Goodin: It's all fun and games.
Jon Nelson: Yes. So that we're going to keep that tally for all the all this season.
Hannah Goodin: So far, somehow you're winning. And you know what? I credit it to.
Jon Nelson: Your interview with Lakeside, DeKalb County Media Day.
Hannah Goodin: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Jon Nelson: I see how this works. Yes. But now, once again, before we go, we've you know, we mentioned the games that we're going to be having this week, and we're really looking forward to showing off middle Georgia with the game, "The Game" Capital T, capital G. But once again, thanks to Brooke Smith and Thomas Smith, the dynamic duo, Wheeler County, for for giving us the the Wheeler County helmet to add to the stacks and for everybody at Crisp for adding this. But before I go and I'm going to dip below the the the the line here.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, boy. Yeah. Jon reaches down into his rabbit bag.
Jon Nelson: Jon reaches down in to his bag.
Hannah Goodin: More swag.
Jon Nelson: More swag, more swag for Hannah. More swag for Hannah.
Hannah Goodin: I think you and I could both fit in this shirt together, Jon.
Jon Nelson: Courtesy of Wheeler County Football. So once again-
Hannah Goodin: You have to describe it for people who aren't watching it. Black Shirt.
Jon Nelson: It is the dress. It is the dress black Bulldog t-shirt.
Hannah Goodin: Says Wheeler County Football with the bulldog logo on the front.
Jon Nelson: On the back, they have their slogan.
Hannah Goodin: Have this "Practice like a champion." And then the practice is outline the act, A-C-T in practice is outlined.
Jon Nelson: So there you go.
Hannah Goodin: Act like a Champion.
Jon Nelson :So act slash practice like a champions.
Hannah Goodin: Cool.
Jon Nelson: So once again, Hannah continues-.
Hannah Goodin: Nice.Thanks Jon
Jon Nelson: To add to her-she gets to add to her stack.
Hannah Goodin: I need a drawer for all these shirts.
Jon Nelson: Well, we figured with everything that you know, that you're very, very active at home. You need all of the workout shirts that are humanly possible. But now, once again, thanks to to Brooks Smith and head coach Thomas Smith, that Wheeler County for a helmet and B for the next t shirt in Hannah's collection.
Hannah Goodin: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Countdown to Kick Off for more on Warner Robins Northside. Watch Countdown on the Kickoff Facebook Live noon Thursday. We'll see you there. We'll see in the comments. Talk to us. We want to hear your question.
Jon Nelson: What's for Lunch?
Hannah Goodin: What's for Lunch? Follow us on social media at GPB Sports and Tik Tok our challenge is doing amazing.
Jon Nelson: Okay, I don't know how to gauge the TikTok, so I'm trusting you here.
Hannah Goodin: It's blown up. We had, like, almost 1000 people vote and we're airing the Tik Tok winners on halftime.
Jon Nelson: Right.
Hannah Goodin: And Crisp County, won last week.
Jon Nelson: Yes, they did.
Hannah Goodin: And the week before that. Roswell one. No, no, no, no, no.
Sandy Malcolm: Denmark.
Jon Nelson: Denmark.
Hannah Goodin: Denmark won-
Jon Nelson: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: The first one, so it is going really well. Okay, so submit your videos. Go vote on the video you like the most for this week.
Jon Nelson: So, the visiting teams won both the TikToks.
Hannah Goodin: Hmm. Well, maybe Brook-maybe Brookwood needs to need to. Get on it.
Jon Nelson: Brookwood, where are you at?
Hannah Goodin: Alright, wrap it up, Jon. Jon Nelson: That is the show. So once again, very, very busy week here. Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Hannah Goodin Hey, you're solo next week.
Jon Nelson: Tell everybody that is true. I'm solo next week because there's a a holiday on Monday, but I'm still going to figure out what I'm going to talk about.
Hannah Goodin: The only one keeping the ship afloat.
Jon Nelson And so so yeah, I will keep the ship afloat next week and go Han Solo here while we're not even going to have cardboard Hannah next week, it's just going to be me. But we'll come up with a topic, we'll have some fun, get some guests and really make the tour next week. So for everybody here at Georgia Public Broadcasting, very, very busy week across all the platforms. Like, friend, be a part of the conversation all week long, all season long, all year long. For everybody behind the glass, it's Commander Sandy. It's King James. It's Jake the Snake and Commander Kevin. Also, Big Boss Kevin is back there behind the glass. There's Hannah. I'm just Jon, play it safe, everybody. Enjoy your games.