On this week's podcast, Hannah and Jon explain why a bunch of top college scouts and a helicopter landing were part of our game of the week at Buford, the challenges a flag football coach faces, and why Brooks County didn't play a game for 28 days. 

Brooks County High School Football Team

The Brooks County Football celebrates its 2021 GHSA 1A Public Championship at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium.

Credit: Brooks County Facebook




Hannah Goodin: This game was back and forth and had everyone on edge.

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: I knew I had a good group of girls to work with. If I could just get them to invest in flag football, I know that we could be good.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: It felt like I was coaching for the first time in my career as a head coach.

Jon Nelson: Comes in, does a circle around the stadium.

Hannah Goodin: Of course he does; the dramatics.

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. And we have copilots this week. It's a bit of a different setting because of all of the activity going on in the next month here around the country. And GPB has its part. You might have been watching programming on GPB with all of the debates with candidates who are chasing after elected office, and for the next month, GPB is going to be doing a lot of that. So, Hannah and I are doing this week's remotely as you're looking at the video version, and Hannah's got some hands, got some company where I'm here in my office, and Hannah is in her house. But you've got a copilot this week.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, I'm in my guestroom. So, since we had the debates, Jon and I got kicked out of GPB. So, here we are at home, the sport, the sports teams at home. And I have got my Boston terrier, Luna.

Jon Nelson: Luna is like, "Can I go now? Really?"

Hannah Goodin: She's our old lady.

Jon Nelson: I'm done.

Hannah Goodin: She's 10 in February, and she's here to help us out with the podcast today, Jon.

Jon Nelson: She's like, "Oh, here's how I'll help you out. Can I go now?" That's what I mean.

Hannah Goodin: Where's Rowdy? Where's Rowdy?

Jon Nelson: Rowdy is with the boss. Rowdy is up on the mid-level, sleeping because he has had breakfast. And so he's hanging out with the boss. You know, he's got it, but he's got to protect her. That's his number one job here at the office HD is to make sure that the boss — meaning my wife, Patty — is protected 24/ 7. And so, that's what he's doing upstairs. And so. Oh, by the way, before we go any further, we have a new friend.

Hannah Goodin: Oh, let's see. And you weren't wrong. Luna is really trying to leave.

Jon Nelson: Luna. Luna is out the door.

Hannah Goodin: You're done. You're done with your job.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. Luna's out. Courtesy of our friends in Swainsboro:

Hannah Goodin: Oh, let's see it. Oh, that's a nice one. Gold? Gold and black?

Jon Nelson: Yeah. Yes. Swainsboro. Swainsboro is the- you see, there we go. And so, this is brought to us by our friends in Swainsboro, Coach Roberts, and everybody there.

Hannah Goodin: So, that looks like a new helmet that doesn't look as chipped up as they normally do.

Jon Nelson: It is a 2019.

Hannah Goodin: Okay, not too bad.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. So, no, this one is — it's got some chipping, and some paint trading that has been worked on. But yeah, thanks to our friends once again, thanks to our friends there in Swainsboro. So, we have a new friend that is going to be added to the stacks, and we will show that off on Thursday for Countdown to Kickoff. We will show that in the studio. And coming up a little later on the show, Hannah has some new things that she gets to add to her wardrobe.

Hannah Goodin: Oh yes.

Jon Nelson: And so, we're teasing that just so you can make sure that you get to hang out and see what's going on.

Hannah Goodin: I know. I'm excited to see them. All right. Here's what else is coming up on the rest of the show. We're going to recap our Football Fridays in Georgia game of the week, Mill Creek versus Buford. Some heavyweights in that one. Take a look at what happened in big games around the state. Preview Friday's matchup between Carrollton and Westlake, and that'll lead us to Brooks County, head coach Maurice Freeman and a flag football update as well. And we will hear from the Southeast Bulloch coach in Flag. So, I'm really excited for today's show, Jon. Let's get right to it. Let's recap our game. It was a huge one Region 8 7A matchup Mill Creek, Buford, in Tom Riden Stadium. On top of it all though you had Kirby Smart there.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: You had the Ohio —

Jon Nelson: Came in from helicopter. Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: I know you saw the helicopter circling around and landing with Kirby Smart, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was there, with over ten NFL reps in attendance. What was the atmosphere like before the game, Jon?

Jon Nelson: About 10,000 people. Let's see. Sean Elliott from Georgia State was there, his staff was represented. I saw a couple of SoCon coaches from Samford, East Tennessee State. You had two representatives from the University of Alabama. No Nick Saban, considering he had a game to lose in Knoxville the next day. So, he had two coaches there. Dell McGee was there before Kirby Smart was for the University of Georgia. Georgia Tech was represented. Mercer was represented. West Georgia was represented. You had a lot of folks there. But also, if you're a fan of certain teams in a particular conference where it just means more, the fact that you didn't have coaches, there might be more of an eyebrow-raiser for you, but it's one of the louder environments that we've been in quite some time. 8,200, I think 8000 seats. Then you had another thousand or 1,200 in walk-up plus band plus passes that put it to about 10,000, according to Dexter Wood from Buford High. But now was a fantastic environment. It was great to see everybody there. And it was a packed house, packed sidelines, and it was a fun one hopefully, we got to convey on GPB just how crazy an atmosphere it was just even before kickoff.

Hannah Goodin: I mean, when you have two of the top players in the state going to Alabama. Caleb Downes and Justice Haynes, Kirby Smart's like, I'm going to make an appearance.

Jon Nelson: And honestly, it was straight out of a movie. And that was why I kind of played it that way because you look to the northeast, you look toward Athens, and seriously, like about 10 to 7 p.m., you just see this one spotlight coming at you with a west cam and a helicopter and you kind of know who it is. And so, he's making the entrance, not a cloud in the sky. You just see the pink sky behind, and you see a helicopter just working its way from the northeast. And then, of course, what does he do instead of going straight to the practice field, the upper practice field, to land comes in, does a circle around the stadium.

Hannah Goodin: Of course he does; the dramatics.

Jon Nelson: Kind of has the pilot kind of dip the wing a little bit? So, you dip the rotor a little bit so you can kind of take a peek.

Hannah Goodin: Did you get a wave from the door?

Jon Nelson: I did not see it. I did not see a wave as the helicopter was making its bank. But, you know, it was one of those moments that you sit there, and that's what it's all about these days with the high-powered high school football and the college coaches that are attached to it. But no, it was definitely one of those moments where, yeah, it was straight out of a movie, and it's like you're just waiting for it. Like, you know, one of those movies, literally the helicopters, the only thing coming, you just have the great work by our guys in on top of the box, by the way, to get that whole thing and cut together. But now, it was definitely a moment that was befitting of the evening, no doubt about it.

Hannah Goodin: Well, let's talk more about the game and just say that the Wolves become the favorite to win the region once again with the 39 to 27 win. Justice Haynes was our Cotton Commission player of the game. He rushed 20 times for 216 yards and two scores. So, this game was back and forth and had everyone on edge. But Buford finally pulled away in the fourth, Jon. What were your — what was your assessment of the fourth quarter and of the momentum shifts in the game?

Jon Nelson: Well, I mean, this is just the sheer depth that you got to see of both of these teams. And, you know, early on, Buford gets out to that big lead, and then Mill Creek works their way back in and works their way back in, works their way back in. But then just the depth and when you can hand the ball off to someone like Justice Haynes there in the fourth quarter to get those key first downs, to get the clock moving. When the game was a 12-point game, and you needed to work some clock, you ended up with a drive. I think that took up just under 5 minutes, and that ate up half the quarter right there to try to solidify things. You didn't get another score out of it, but you ended up flipping the field, and Mill Creek would have to work from the right-hand side of the screen all the way down to the left. And they didn't quite do it. And that was how the margin ended up at 12. Just, you know, fantastic work by both of these teams. And I know that is we're all plotting out our brackets. We're anticipating seeing them very, very deep in the 7A playoffs come this year.

Hannah Goodin: Let's take a look around the rest of the state. We'll start up north. Two ranked teams battled it out for the top spot in Region 8 A, Division 1 Rabun County defeated Elbert County, 41-21. In Cobb County, Cambridge versus Kell was also for the lead in that region, Region 6 5A. Cambridge beat Kell 42-24. In the east, Aquinas versus Lincoln County was a great game in Region 8 A Division 2. Lincoln County pulled out the win 28-24. In central Georgia, Region 2 3A rivalry with two great defenses, that one happened in Fort Valley. Peach County beat Mary Persons 35-18. And finally, Jon, one of the biggest games of the night, in my opinion, this one was in South Georgia. Early county was 7-0, heading into Friday's game, already clinched the Region 1 A Division 2 title. The Bobcats had a non-region game against Brooks County, who had not played in three weeks. That didn't matter because the Trojans beat the Bobcats 34 to 7. What a wild game for Maurice Freeman.

Jon Nelson: No doubt about it. So, let's go ahead and hear from the man, the head coach of the victorious Brooks County Trojans. Here he is, Maurice Freeman, as he always brings the hammer. Hanging out with his bat lead-off this week is a man who finally got to play a football game after a couple of weeks off. Maurice Freeman is the head coach at Brooks County. Coach, thanks for hanging out with us here on the podcast. What was it like to finally play a game after a couple of weeks?

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Oh, I couldn't believe it. I was so nervous. It was ridiculous, man. It felt like I was coaching for the first time in my career as a head coach. 28 days, the month of February, is how long it took us to play a ballgame. I'm very excited about it. So, you know, I just didn't want to get overly excited and didn't want kids to be kind of out of whack because we were so excited. They were excited, and we were worried about them playing flat or going out playing too fast and just giving out of gas quickly. So, you know, but I'm glad it got there, and we got a chance to play.

Hannah Goodin: Well, you certainly didn't skip a beat. You go 5 and 1. With a 34-7 win over Early County, that had to feel good. So, 28 days — you haven't played since Sept. 16. Do you have more confidence now in the team that, look, we can go all this time and still come out with the win?

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: No, no, no. I don't want that again. No. No, I need to play every week. So we can practice and have something to look forward to. I was about to check into rehab, man. I was insane.

Jon Nelson: So, for those that don't know why you were off for a month of Fridays, go into that because I know that you had some bye weeks that were wrapped up into that. There was a game that was supposed to happen. But for those that don't know why you were off for so long, break that down.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: We played Bainbridge, a 4A school that won a state title a couple of years ago. Pretty doggone good football team. So, I wanted a bye week after them because normally when you are, a class A school and you play a 4A school, you have a tendency to get beat up pretty good. And so I wanted that bye week behind that week, so we could get healthy. And then we had homecoming, which was Pike. And then, we had a bye week so that they could get all that homecoming mess out of their system. Turns out we didn't have a homecoming. Pike decided not to play. We look on MaxPrep and Pike had another team.

Jon Nelson: Mm-hmm.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: So, they are playing, and we are not. And there was nothing we could do about it. Georgia High School Association has no jurisdiction over an Alabama school, so there was nothing we could do about it. But start looking for other schools. And, in the state of Georgia, there weren't very many that we could play that were open except for Ware County. And we just finished playing a dog at 4A school. So, I really did not want to get into that. I wanted to play, but I didn't want to play because they are pretty doggone physical also. And then some school out of Maryland called. Turns out, it was a prep school.

Jon Nelson: Ahhh.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: And they got 20 and 21-year-olds. So, we decided we weren't going to play with all the old people. I don't think they had any eligibility left, so we didn't have anybody to play. So, we went 28 days without a daggone football game, man. And I was checking into Greenleaf.

Hannah Goodin: Well, we're glad that you did not check in. So, what did those three weeks look like for you in the team?

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Explaining to the team why we weren't playing. Explaining to the fans why we weren't playing. Explaining to my principal and everybody why we were not playing. And then people would look at players. We're looking at other teams. And when they said Open, they thought they needed a game. So, people were bombarding me with teams saying, "Hey, coach, they got an opening. They got-" no, they don't. They didn't have opening. So, I had to try to re-explain that. It became kind of frustrating, and then just practicing beating on each other and not seeing another colored uniform. That was tough. That was tough. So, yeah, one stretch, we said we might have a game. Oh, no, we don't. We might have a game. Oh, no, we don't. And that was depressing for the players and for the coaches and for the fans. We have got a football-crazy community down here. They love the great game of football. And for us to go that long without a game, man, we needed a fix in a bad way. So, it was tough.

Hannah Goodin: Even Jon was trying to find you a game, Coach.

Jon Nelson: I'm serious. I mean, we were on the show every week, and it was either on this one or on Friday night when I explained the situation with Pike Liberal Arts because it wasn't just you. It was Bowdon and Rich Fendley who also got into that same situation because they had them plotted in their schedule just as well. So it was both you and Bowdon that got taken off the board by Pike Liberal Arts. And so, I'm sitting there, and I'm like, Look, need a game. Got a game? They're looking for stuff with, you know. And so I was literally, openly canvassing, trying to help out in that process for that whole month.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Well, that's not an easy deal to do, Jon. We've got a decent football team down here. And, you know, for yourself, 4A and 5A schools don't want to play class A school if they got a chance of losing because you not only lose that game, but stand a chance of losing your job. So, I understand that, you know, and we wanted a like opponent one class A or 2A. But, you know, I claim I'll play anybody. I will just about anybody. But that doesn't go well with the administrators. Sometimes when a class A school says they'll play you, and you jump on that ship. Then you mess around, and you take a L, and now you got a problem. You got some things to explain.

Jon Nelson: Oh, man, I know. And you're also combining all of that with being, you know, and like I said, and when we had the discussion when I came down to visit, you're in a mini region, M, I, N, I. Where you've only got a handful of games, you've got a sprint, and then you're in the playoffs, and you've got to figure out. Okay, I've got Bainbridge. I've got Pike Liberal Arts. I've got all of these other schools as a part of this non-region schedule, and you had that as a problem, to begin with. And then, when folks are bailing out, it adds to the problem. But I don't think folks understand that it's really a problem in three dimensions that's been created because of all that stuff.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: And I still have that same problem next year now.

Hannah Goodin: Oh, man.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: So, as soon as this season's over, I've got to try to find a team. And it's probably not a team out of Georgia is probably a team out of Florida. I'm a little nervous about teams out of Alabama now, but I still have a problem.

Hannah Goodin: Well, we certainly hope that you can get that fix you got. You got some time until next season. So, I have some faith, Coach, that you can bring it together. Let's talk region play. You're 0 and 0. You got your region opener next Friday. Well, this coming Friday against Irwin County, that is going to be such a good game. It's going to be on my top-five games list to watch. Preview that one for us. What's it going to take to get your first region win?

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: You know what? You got to go back to. We lost the state title to Irwin. We won a state title versus Irwin. Now, we are playing again for this was really, in our region, for team reasons. This is probably safe to say. This is for the region title.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: Wow.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: You know, Pelham is struggling. Bacon is struggling. We're the two teams that are the two top dogs in this region. So, this is first and second place. It's a big game. Glad to see that Brooks will make some money. And we need home-field advantage. We need our fans to come out and just be crazy and just have a great time. But these are two well-oiled teams that play some really good physical football, and it prepares you for the playoffs. And, you know, who knows? We might see each other again later on down the line.

Hannah Goodin: You've got some great playmakers too, Coach. Running back Chris Cole rushed for 112 yards on 15 carries, and his two fourth-quarter touchdowns put the game away against Early. Talk about him and what is working on your offense.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Well, Cole is a young running back. He's doing well. He's getting better week by week. We're being very patient with him. He's a sophomore, and not trying to push him too hard. And he was banged up a little earlier in the season. So, we've taken our time with him, and we feel like now he's progressing. And we're waiting for him to explode. I'm waiting to see him have a 200-yard night. That'll be big time. So, we're expecting that. Jamal Sanders, our quarterback, is going to do his thing. You know, Jamal throws the ball well. He runs the ball well. So, hopefully, we can have a two-headed monster real soon.

Jon Nelson: All right. At the end of the Recruiting 2022 show, we always have the segment called Make that Kid an Offer, where Hannah and I, kind of canvas the state, and we ask coaches all around the state for submissions for athletes that either, for whatever reason, they're not tall enough. They're not big enough. They're not whatever. They're being overlooked. Is there someone or a couple of someones down there in Quitman that would qualify as either Make that Kid an Offer or Make that Kid a Better Offer? From what you've seen from your team so far this year through six-.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Of course! Jamal Sanders, our quarterback is an athlete. Kamari Blankumsee, which is an outside linebacker, and Henderson. Jeremiah Henderson is another outside linebacker, strong safety. All three of those guys have a couple of offers. Albany State, Fort Valley, they've got a couple of offers. And I'm not slighting those at all. I'm a guy that wants these kids to have quality education, but I feel as though they are underrecruited. They all have GPA and SAT/ACT scores. They've got everything that you need, and that looks like they've got a lot of room to grow. They don't mind working in the weight room. They don't mind working track and things of that nature. So, I'm looking for some more teams to come in and make those three kids an offer.

Jon Nelson: For those who are watching the video version of this. Early on, Hannah had some copiloting that was going on there in her studio. Now, which one was that Jack, or who was that?

Hannah Goodin: This is Luna.

Jon Nelson: Okay, it's Luna. Okay. So, Luna was hanging out with Hannah.

Hannah Goodin: Whoa.

Jon Nelson: Luna does not want to be on camera. My question for you, Coach, is, where's Hammer?

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Hammer is in the backyard. He's kind of hanging out back there. He is stretching and doing his thing back there. And I'm in the front. I'm on the front porch, as a matter of fact. He is in the back. I better leave him back there. He doesn't interview well.

Jon Nelson: Apparently, Luna too.

Hannah Goodin: That was going to be my question. On the post-game show, we always ask coaches where they're calling in from. So, I was going to ask you where you're calling in from because it looks beautiful.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Yeah. There is a pond back there.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, that's gorgeous.

Jon Nelson: That's the fish and pond.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Yeah, it's my buddy's pond, but it's my front porch.

Hannah Goodin: That's gorgeous. Well, coach, we'll let you go. Thank you so much for joining us on this beautiful Monday afternoon. And we'll let you go and enjoy the day.

Maurice Freeman, Brooks County Head Coach: Have a good day. Thanks.

Jon Nelson: Maurice Freeman, head coach of the Brooks County Trojans, is hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. That's, you see, it's fun when we get to see coaches in that kind of environment where he's on his front porch. And that was definitely something that we did not anticipate. With Maurice, you know, I thought it might have been like a school setting or something like that. No, he's on his front porch, and he's got his fishing pond behind him. I thought that was really, really cool. That's one of our two guests this week. Our other guest coming up in just a little bit. We're going to talk about a little flag football.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, I'm excited. So, we had the Clash of Champions last Thursday. It was a huge success, as we all knew it would. So, many eyeballs on the streaming game. The tournament featured Southeast Bulloch. They beat Hillgrove 13 to nothing. Archer defeated Portal 6 to nothing. Marietta took down the host West Forsyth, 19 to nothing so three blankings, Jon. You were on the sidelines for all of the action. Tell me your biggest takeaways from the Clash of Champions.

Jon Nelson: Well, first off, shout out to Brett Phipps and everybody up at West Forsyth to make sure that it would go off without a hitch. And so, for those who are watching on the video version, I'm going to violate a TV tenet here. So, hang on just a second. I have some things that are for you.

Hannah Goodin: Uh, Oh.  What did you do, Jon?

Jon Nelson: Okay, so here's, as promised once again. And this is from Brett and everybody at West Forsyth. This goes to.

Hannah Goodin: Aw, my T-shirt.

Jon Nelson: Your inaugural Clash of Champions T-shirt with the date and location on the back. Once again, thanks to our friends at West Forsyth. You have your match-up page.

Hannah Goodin: Okay, that's cool.

Jon Nelson: And down at the bottom, there's three letters.

Hannah Goodin: Our logo, GPB.

Jon Nelson: So, that's one. That came from our friends at West Forsyth.

Hannah Goodin: I'm wearing that on the podcast next Monday.

Jon Nelson: Well, and also in addition to that, we also have from our friends at Portal. We have their homecoming T-shirt.

Hannah Goodin: Oh, my gosh, Jon, thank you.

Jon Nelson: Beat down, Panthers. There's Portal. And once again. And that right there, the Panthers down the-.

Hannah Goodin: Beat down, Panthers.

Jon Nelson: I almost find it. You know, it is a P-Town.

Hannah Goodin: Cool.

Jon Nelson: It is a P-Town T-shirt for Hannah. So, Hannah gets two more T-shirts to add to her stacks. Thanks to our friends at Portal and West Forsyth for Clash of Champions. So, it'll be fun to catch up with Marci Cochran coming up in just a little bit to get the lay of the land from Southeast Bulloch and find out what it was like to go from Brooklet to West Forsyth High School. And I mean, that was an absolute field trip. That's a pack a lunch, a dinner, and maybe a midnight snack field trip for them to be involved. But it was so great to see them and great to have everybody who was paired up in that one for those three matchups there for Clash of Champions, the inaugural Clash of Champions here for flag football here with the GHSA in 2022.

Hannah Goodin: So, let's go ahead and catch up with Coach Cochran and get her perspective on the day as well. Southeast Bulloch flag football head coach Marci Cochran joining us now from her car. Her coach explains to you what explain to us why you're calling in from your car.

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: Well, we had practiced this morning, and then my parents unexpectedly decided to come to have lunch with us on their way home from fishing. So, we went out to lunch with my family or my parents. And I cut my lunch date short, so I could join y'all today. And my children are about to join us in the car as well.

Hannah Goodin: Awesome! Sounds fun.

Jon Nelson: Nothing nothing like a live audience when you're doing your interview. Right, Coach?

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: That's right.

Hannah Goodin: Oh, there they are if you're watching the video.

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: Say, hey.

Hannah Goodin: Hey, Guys. Okay, cool. Let's get to the Clash of Champions. Last Thursday, you defeated Hillgrove 13 to nothing. Take us through that game and what this season has been like so far.

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: Okay, we'll start off with the beginning of the season first. Go through the season. We thought we were coming back really strong. Only losing one player, and then, of course, you know, our quarterback Ainsleigh went down. So, we had to regroup a little bit. Put Korine in there, who's normally our up back, and so that sort of drained, you know, the emotions a little bit. Everybody was running high, and then, oh gosh, here we go. We all start over again. So, we got that going and got Korine going pretty well, had to put a new corner in with Ava. Take Ainsleigh's spot there. And so, we started off a little rocky. Korine had to start off a lot of pressure on her following Ainsleigh. And then, of course, being defending State champion, score 19 and no pressure whatsoever. Right? So, she had to get all that under control, and she got better. Of course, every game we played, for every game we played, and then we get to the Hillgrove game. And we were all real nervous just because they're the defending Division 3 champion, 7A high school, we're a 4A school. So, just bigger, bigger, bigger numbers to choose from, so we were a little nervous. I was nervous. I'm not going to lie because we wanted to show people that we could play with the best of the best that we've got there. And our first drive, we should have scored and threw an interception at the goal line. I was like, "Oh no, how is Korine going to handle this." You know, she's not Ainsleigh. She's not straight-faced. She shows her emotions a little more than Ainsleigh does. So, we had to talk about that. She did good. She held herself together. You know, our defense is really good again this year. We're still working to be as good as we were last year because we did lose a big player in Alana, but we're still in her hole pretty good. And of course, Ainsleigh being out and there are two holes there, but I just told her “If you could just keep us in the game, our defense will be their job. You just, you know, how confident in what you're doing." And she did. And she came back and rallied real well. And, you know, we came back and scored two really quick at the end of the first half. And we know our goal is if we can get two touchdowns, our defense should be able to hold us pretty much. So, that's the philosophy we have. Score two and let the defense do the rest.

Jon Nelson: So. What is it been like for you to help build this program and really give something for the folks there in Brooklet and Southeast Bulloch something to hang their hat on? What's it been like to build this thing?

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: I mean, it started off when they asked me to come out and be their coach. I knew I had a good group of girls to work with. If I could just get them to invest in flag football, I know that we could be good. Coaching most of them in middle school helped had a relationship with them already, so we got them out, and in our parent meeting, we basically told the girls and them that I was here and we're here to win a state championship. That's what we're going to do and you got to buy in and just believe in us. It's going to be a little crazy ride because we're all learning. The state of Georgia is still trying to learn. There's going to be some crazy things happening, and we all got to be on the same page and agree or disagree of sometimes. So, we all bought in, and we started winning. Yes. We never really lost. We kept winning. People kept getting more and more involved in our program. And at the beginning, our community really thought it was more like a powder puff. We're just going to come out there and hang out. And then they were like, Oh God, this is serious. And our community bought in, and we try to be more visual out in the community. Go out and get them into come play or try to get people out to our games and stuff. Building the program it's been tough because you do have to share athletes. And I do give credit to my administration because that was one thing that I said. If I'm going to coach, I get to choose from the best, the best in our school. There are no limitations. And so, that was part of the deal when I came on board was everybody that wanted to play flag football would get that opportunity to play. Whether they played any other fall sport or winter sport, we would make it work. So, kudos to the coaching staff of every female staff at fall and winter at Southeast for working together to make sure we could get everybody on the field that we needed to be successful. And that is one reason we are very successful because I do get to choose the best athletes in my school to come to play. But once you start winning, of course, everybody wants to play, so that makes it a little easier. We've really tried to go out our community this year. We are the rec department. This is our second year as well as doing flag football. So, we went to a couple of practices. They came to some of our games and on Saturday, we had an invitational, and then we have been out there cheering them on at their games, trying to make that a little, you know, grow it out there in the sports, in the right department. So, to help build our program as well, we're looking to try to get a middle school team, or club team going. The problem is we don't really have anybody else to play, so we're working on that. So other coaches around us have agreed to maybe start looking into that for next year. Just, you know, maybe not at a big level, just a very small level next year to hopefully get them going. So, it won't be as hard when they get too high school on us because that, to me, that's one of the hardest things, is getting everybody on board. Like today when we practice, we were missing all of our softball and volleyball players. So, when we put in a new play or try to go over the defense and half of them aren't there, it makes practice really, really hard. But it's been fun.

Hannah Goodin: My last question for you, Coach, is you were 19 and 0 last year. 7 and 0 this year. So, you're 26 and 0, and you win a state championship in your first year as a program. What was that like? I know, Jon, my math. My math was right. Wait, that's right.

Jon Nelson: But it's like, yeah, but now I'm just, you know, when you're giving your all these numbers, it's like, yeah, Marci's like no pressure. I know. It's just like, you know, we haven't lost.

Hannah Goodin: I was just making sure my math was right. Okay. We all know that's not my strength. Okay, 26 and 0, you win the state championship in your first season. What was that like? And what is it also like to coach with your husband Nick?

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: Well, if you were at practice today, you would have been laughing because the girls were laughing at us, too. He was actually at practice today because he coaches middle school football. They actually had a game today at 5 due to the weather lightning delay last week. So, he was actually there the whole practice today, and normally we split it up. He will go to middle school practice, and he'll come over. He's in charge of the defense, so he'll go over defensive stuff while I'm doing offense, and then when they get there, we sort of switch it up. So, that's how it normally works because when I start coaching basketball, he'll do a defense. And then, when I come from basketball practice, I'll take over the offensive part. So, it's like a tag team effort there. But, we will last on GPBTV the other day or whatever we were on GPB. He threw his visor at me because I was like, I told the quarterback exactly what I wanted to do no matter what. I want you to do it. He threw his arms around me. I'm like, gosh, you are going to get it on TV. It's a running joke. My girls, make fun of us all the time. My own children, they're like, "How many visors has Daddy thrown at Momma tonight?" You know, sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard living together, working together. At least we don't teach in the same school. So, that makes it a little bit better. I teach in elementary school. He's at the middle school. So, we don't see each other all day, every day. But it is nice too because coach meeting. I mean, we're at the house. We don't have to go to the office and do it. And we do have our disagreements, but I do. And we give and take out. We really do. He listens to me. Sometimes I yell at him. Sometimes, he yells at me. But we leave it all on the field. We come home most of the time. I think we only brought it home one time, and I get over it like it doesn't matter. We won. It doesn't matter who cares. So, as far as going undefeated. Last year, that set the bar really, really, really high. Not many programs do that, especially going undefeated without even a tie in the first year was very, very- it just really set the bar high now. You know, I do know some people like, gosh, we're not winning as much as are as many points as we did last year at this time of the year. But everybody in the state of Georgia has gotten better. We've already played a better team than we played last year, and that was the goal. We got to play a better team, so we can get better instead of just waiting for the playoffs to reach these good teams. So, we like play Pace Academy for play long than we played Hillgrove. We have Greenbrier. Is he supposed to be coming in next week? But I got to call them today. They moved the tackle football game to Thursday when we were set to have their game. So, we'll see if we get that rescheduled because they are a good team, too. So, it is the expectation. They are set high. It was set high. We came in as the coaching staff, and we told them, you know, this is what we're here today. We're here to win, to play the best of the best to win. And so that's what we really want to do. And just to keep that bar high. You got to give and take a little bit on that situation, too, because the pressure is on the girls. They did feel it at the beginning, especially when Ainsleigh went down, and then Korine felt a lot of pressure. So, sometimes we start to have light practices and just goof around and stuff just, so they know that you know, it's still a game. We can still have fun because there is a lot of pressure.

Jon Nelson: Marci Cochran, Co-Head Coach of the Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Team, was undefeated as a program part of Clash of Champions last week on GPB. Marci, thanks for hanging out with us. Thanks for ducking into your car and during lunch after practice to hang out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Once again, great to see you up at West Forsyth, and continued good luck the rest of the way. This season we'll be keeping an eye on things down there in Southeast Bulloch down there in Brooklet.

Marci Cochran, Southeast Bulloch Flag Football Coach: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Y'all have a great day.

Hannah Goodin: Luna is back to wrap this up. Great to hear from Coach Cochran and-.

Jon Nelson: Luna to leave the room. She doesn't want-.

Hannah Goodin: Look at her face. She looks miserable.

Jon Nelson: She wants to leave. She wants to leave. She's had enough of her cameo, so she can go. Let her go.

Hannah Goodin: I'm forcing her to do this wrap-up. Okay. So great to hear from Coach Cochran. If you're a flag football fan, we will have a streaming game every single Thursday, including this Thursday on GPB. GPB.org/sports and the GPB Sports app. Everywhere that it was last week. I think we're streaming on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and all the different places, so you can't miss it. We will be announcing the game very soon. So, also follow us on social media at GPB Sports for that announcement.

Jon Nelson: Mm-hmm. And Luna still wants to leave, by the way.

Hannah Goodin: Nope. Yeah. She loves flag football, big.

Jon Nelson: Luna loves flag football. She just doesn't like being a part of the video version of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Football Fridays in Georgia, you mentioned Thursday and Friday this week. It is another huge region battle, probably another de facto region championship in Region 2 7A Carrollton and Westlake from Westlake. Recruiting 2022 starts things off at 7:00. Kick off with Carrollton, who comes in at 8 and 0. Westlake comes in 5 and 2 and 1 and 0 in region play. Carrollton is right now 2 and 0 in region play. This one will probably decide the region title there in Region 2. Juju Lewis, the freshman quarterback with Joey King, and Carrollton are looking forward to seeing him. And we've seen Westlake already this year, the dominant performance that they had when Crisp came north from Cordele. So, we know how big those offensive and defensive lines are. And when you have a player like Avieon Terrell for Westlake and Rico Zachary, this one's going to be a big test for a freshman quarterback, I think.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah. Carrollton's two region wins, East Coweta and Pebblebrook, and then the Lions defeated Pebblebrook as well. So, both kind of win that same region matchup. So, we will see. And our Web game Region 6 7A showdown between Denmark, who's 5 and 2, 1 and 1 in Region play. Lambert is undefeated 7 and 0, 2 and 0 in region play. So, Jon, this is likely for the leader in that region, correct in the winner?

Jon Nelson: Yeah, because Milton right now is in between both of them. The way that things are lined up. Milton is right now 2 and 0, 4 and 3 on the year. But you've also got South Forsyth, who right now is at 1 and 1, 4 and 3 on the season. And West Forsyth and Forsyth Central have lost their first two region games. So, they've got some work to do if they want to try to work their way into the three in the fourth. Right now, everybody's bunched up with a couple of games left in the regular season. You've got three games left for all of these teams as they chase after the region title. They're in Region 6. But yeah, Lambert right now could make a statement beating Denmark and chasing after that third win of the year, going undefeated in the region at 3 and 0.

Hannah Goodin: Awesome. Well, our staff is not fully here with us. It's just you and I, Jon.

Jon Nelson: But yeah, we've got to do the staff whip around. Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: We still have to do the staff whip around, unfortunately.

Jon Nelson: Go ahead. Go ahead and say why. Go ahead and say why it's unfortunate.

Hannah Goodin: Lakeside, Decatur, and Central Macon. We're off. Yeah. Darlington remains the only undefeated team in the group. They're 8 and 0 after winning 34 to 14 over Pepperell. Parkview beat Archer, 33 to 7, to go 6 and 1. My Trojans.

Jon Nelson: Yes.

Hannah Goodin: Lost to Alpharetta 22 to 21.

Jon Nelson: No. Well, actually, that's true. But you can also add another 48, 38 points to 40, 48. Okay.

Hannah Goodin: Okay. Okay. It was 70 to 21, and they're 3 and 4 in the year.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. So, Alpharetta knocked off Lassiter 70 to 21. So, and by the way, thanks to our friends at the Georgia High School Football Daily, because you look on the scoreboard and the Alpharetta Lassiter score was first. But they did it alphabetically still by the winner but still out beating the Trojans.

Hannah Goodin: I'll have to give Todd a call.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. So, yeah, so excuse me, sir. You'll have to do things in a nonalphabetical order when it comes to teams winning, as it just so happens. Yeah. Alpharetta was the most first alphabetical team there. So, Alpharetta right before-.

Hannah Goodin: Most first alphabetical team on that note, Jon.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. Alphabet. Alpharetta and then Appling. So, there you go—most first alphabetical.

Hannah Goodin: All right, guys, I think that's a show. I think Luna wants a treat.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, Luna. Luna is out the door and wants a treat.

Hannah Goodin: So, Countdown to Kickoff. Join us Thursday at noon on GPB Sports Facebook Live for our previews and our recaps. That's been a fun show this year.

Jon Nelson: Yep. And so, let's see for Jake the Snake, for King James, for Ambassador Jeremy, for Commander Sandy, and for us. I'm just Jon. And she's Hannah. She's the brains of the operation. That's another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Play it safe, everybody. Enjoy your game season.