Football Fridays in Georgia: Superstitions, Traditions, and Funny Stories PART 2
In another very special episode of the Football Fridays in Georgia Podcast, Hannah and Jon caught up with coaches from across the state and asked them to share their superstitions, traditions, and funny stories. This podcast episode is a collection of some of those answers.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: We got somewhere and there was no music playing. And I just looked at the guys and said, Hey, y'all want me to sing?
Jaybo Shaw, Wayne Co. Head Coach: You can be humbled in the coaching world just as much as you can be humbled as a player. So it's probably one of the best things that happened.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: Our entire senior class essentially got food poisoning.
Hannah Goodin: Welcome to a special bonus edition of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. I'm Hannah Goodin and over the past couple of weeks, Jon Nelson and myself had the chance to catch up with a lot of coaches from around the state. You can find those interviews across all the GPB platforms, the website, YouTube, social media. They are everywhere. During those interviews we asked the coaches to share their superstitions, traditions, and funny stories with us. And this special podcast episode is a collection of all of those answers. We'll hear about a coach that sings to his players, a massive case of pre-game meal food poisoning, embarrassing moments and questionable decisions all in the name of high school football. First up, Bainbridge head coach Jeff Littleton.
Jeff Littleton, Bainbridge Head Coach: Well, there's one thing that we do, me and some of the coaches. We always kind of get together before the pre-game and maybe do a workout, they call it the gun show. So you know, its fun for the coaches. The kids like to watch, you know, old men in there, you know, work out a little bit. Like, this is fun for everybody.
Hannah Goodin: Showing off the guns.
Jon Nelson: I know there's golf shirts. You probably tuck the sleeves up to sit there and just kind of show them off a little better. You wear you wear your tight tee shirts, those kinds of things.
Jeff Littleton, Bainbridge Head Coach: There you go.
Hannah Goodin: Thanks for sharing, coach. Next is coach Jonathan DeLay from Thomasville.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: So I got kind of a couple of things. So, you know, I've been an assistant here since 2017. My job was to, as the quarterbacks coach, was make sure I clean the footballs and get them set on the field right. And then, you know. Pre-game stuff, we do certain things. But I'm a stickler. I'm still a stickler for footballs. I mean, we have we got a set of eight balls that all we do is play games with them. We got a set of six that all we do is we pre-game warm up with those six. We've got a set that we just practice with. There's there's a lot of things that that go into that. But so Friday nights when I go out there and I set the balls and I put them a certain way, wear the GST logo, it always has to face the end zone. That's just, that's something that I do. And then so the first group that we always bring out is quarterbacks and centers, and their first thing they do is they stretch each other. And I don't know when this started, I was an assistant, but you know, usually when we're at home there's music playing when when that's happening. So we got somewhere and there was no music playing. And I just looked at the guys and said, Hey, y'all want me to sing?
Hannah Goodin: Yeah.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: So Black Eyed Peas, 'I Got a Feeling' that's whether we're home or away music playing, whatever. I'm going to start with that. When even put it on our pre-game lists here at home.
Hannah Goodin: We need a video of that.
Jon Nelson: But but is it is it your version that is played if you're on the road, is it okay? Just checking.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: It's me singing acapella before the music comes on. Okay.
Jon Nelson: Oh, we need video of this. Oh, somebody's got to have video of this.
Hannah Goodin: Awesome. Coach. Well, thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to hearing that. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: No doubt.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: I appreciate you guys having this. And go dogs. .
Hannah Goodin: Perfect.
Jon Nelson: Does video exist of this. Did anybody shoot anything like on Instagram or anything?
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: I hope not.
Jon Nelson: Oh, it's fantastic. You know, now we're going to have to. We're gonna have to dig for this. Now.
Hannah Goodin: All right, coach well thank you so much for your time today.
Jon Nelson: Thanks, Coach. Appreciate it.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: Yeah, Appreciate it, guys. Thanks.
Jon Nelson: All right. Be good.
Jonathan Delay, Thomasville Head Coach: See you.
Jon Nelson: Oh, that's fantastic. That is fantastic.
Hannah Goodin: Wayne County head coach Jaybo Shaw is next with a funny coaching moment.
Jaybo Shaw, Wayne Co. Head Coach: All right I got one for you. I was an assistant for my dad, right? So I just got done playing at Georgia Southern. So I was, you know, halfway still decent in shape, you know. I literally just got done playing and I'm coaching the quarterbacks for my dad. I wasn't a coordinator, just coaching the quarterbacks. And we go to camp like everybody does, and we're doing a what we call a county fair, just agility drills and it's a thumbs up, thumbs down deal. You know, if if we don't do it good, we're do it thumbs down. We're doing it again. So, of course, I don't know, 22-23 years old, man, I'm ready to go. And my drill was the latter station. So just the latter drills, you know, just one foot in each box and go. Well, I was going to demonstrate, you know, I'm going to demonstrate the drill.
Hannah Goodin: Ha ha!
Jaybo Shaw, Wayne Co. Head Coach: You know, I felt pretty confident right? I played quarterback in college and I was halfway successful. Guys, the first station, first drill. I go out and I tried it. I hit the second one and I hit face first right there. And needless to say, that group got a thumbs up from me and we rotated. So I fell down very fast. You can be you can be humbled in the coaching world just as much as you can be humbled as a player. So it's probably the best thing that happened to me.
Hannah Goodin: Richmond Hill Coach Matt LeZotte is next on the podcast with an almost unbelievable story. What is a funny coaching memory? So you're entering your ninth season with the Wildcats but have been coaching for a while. So share a funny coaching memory.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Well this, this story and may not feel like I've told it like four times in the past three weeks.
Hannah Goodin: Here you go again.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: And people are like, okay, okay. They think it's sugar coated and they think it's an exaggeration, but I forget what year I think it was my second year here at Richmond Hill. So 2016 we were playing South Effingham High School and pre-game warm ups. One of our best players, our best player at the time is over on the sideline. I'm like, What? You know what's wrong with him? And nobody knows. And he's kind of he's down on the knee and all of a sudden I seen vomit and I'm like, What? What? What's, what's going on? You know, like, you know, these kids, they'll take some pre-workout or something to get amped up. And I'm like, Man, this guy got too amped up for this big region game, right? And and, and then another guy's on the sideline and another and another, and then ambulances are being called in. And I'm like, What is going on? Our entire senior class essentially got food poisoning and in the pre game meal. We played, we played with our punter who had never played defensive line, was playing defensive end for us and we won the game. I don't know. I don't know how we won the game.
Hannah Goodin: But the punter on the defensive line.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Yes, it is God's honest truth and we we won the game and I really don't know how we did, but we had essentially like 70 or 80% of our starters were out sick. I mean, people were going to the hospital. It was I mean, there was a there was a continuous line of ambulances taking our guys to the hospital because, I mean, it was just it was just bad. And in a and, you know, it's a that was that was one for the record books right there when you I'll never forget sitting at my desk after that game like how..... That just happened and no one's ever going to believe it when they don't believe it. But.
Hannah Goodin: What did they eat?
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: It was it was just a I think it was a potato salad that sat out long. And and so it just it the senior class ate first. And so it was that first batch that that that had been open and and it was I was like oh gosh.
Hannah Goodin: That's a great story and a win.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: We laughed about it. And a win that was it was it was crazy. But, you know, it's funny hearing all of our coaches renditions of it, they all match up, but everyone has their own little side story about their position group or something is happening. And and I'll never forget our defensive line coach telling me about the punter who was playing D-line. He's never played this much football in his life and he's like tapping out. He's like, Coach, I got to come out. He's like, You have to stay in. We don't have anybody else. And he and he throws up through his facemask, like right at the numbers. And turns around and jogs back in and keeps playing. I'm like, Oh my gosh, It's a it's crazy, but it's one of the craziest stories I've ever I've ever craziest coaching experience I've ever had.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: That's one of the craziest ones we've heard so far in our interview series.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And that's one of the craziest ones I've ever heard. See, Matt, you've never told me that story.
Hannah Goodin: It's great.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: It's a it comes out. It usually comes out a lot of times it comes out around a campfire or something like that. Like, Hey, guys, you're not gonna believe this. But I know it's a it's funny. We bring it up every year. Every year when we go into the preseason, we add a bunch of new coaches to our staff and whatnot. And some of these old birds be like, Man, y'all remember that time? And I'm like, Yes, I do.
Hannah Goodin: And then you never serve potato salad again.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: No, no. We we really changed our pregame meal philosophy after that. And and I think this year we're looking to branch off a little bit. But I'll tell you that that kind of set us back for a little bit as far as variety goes for our pregame meal.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, that's funny. Well, thank you so much for sharing that coach.
Jon Nelson: All right. So let me ask you this. What game was it? You said it was in year two.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: It was South Effingham.
Jon Nelson: Okay. Does do highlights or videos or pictures.
Hannah Goodin: I don't think we want?
Jon Nelson: No, no, no. Not have them like throwing up or anything, but just the idea of, you know, having your punter playing D-line is like, Huddle exist on this or what?
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Yeah. Let me see what? Let me see what I can pull up and I'll, I'll, I'll try to try to shoot it too. Yeah. I, I that that would be great. I mean looking at. Looking back on it, I'd love to see who all was playing that. Okay. We had a couple of seniors that just ended up playing because they didn't they didn't eat and they laughed about it. They're like, I'm so glad I didn't I didn't eat it. But I mean, it was bad. It looked like a war zone on the sideline. I mean, just just medical personnel flying down on the sideline and taking people out on stretchers. Oh, it's crazy. You know.
Hannah Goodin: I'm surprised that many players ate the potato salad
Jon Nelson: But it's look, if it's in the line, you're eating it. It's pre-game meal. You're eating it whether you like it or not.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: It must be some good potato salad.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and also see, because now, now my brain is spinning here.
Hannah Goodin: We got to go, Jon. We got to let the man go.
Jon Nelson: Okay, So, Matt, I'll catch up with you later. This is a fantastic story, but I want to find out more about it. So I will catch up with you soon about this. Like, maybe like tomorrow.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Absolutely.
Jon Nelson: And then that way you and I can just talk on the phone.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: Give me a little time to reach out to some of these guys and see see if I can find some better stories. But the one about the punter throwing up through his face mask might be my favorite. One of the evening. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: And you can't come out! Oh, my gosh. That's fantastic. Thanks for doing this, Matt. I really appreciate it.
Matt LeZotte, Richmond Hill Head Coach: You got it. Thank you all for having me.
Jon Nelson: All right, good. Oh, wow.
Hannah Goodin: When we asked Wilcox County head coach Rob Stowe to share a funny story, he told us a story about coaching with his son.
Rob Stowe, Wilcox Co. Head Coach: Well, there's a lot of them, but to be honest with the ones that come off my mind right off the bat is also going to be involving my son Jay Stowe, who coached for me his first year. This is a couple of years ago. He's now at Hart County High School. And and so anyway, I'll go ahead and start at the end of the story and come back and walk you through it. Okay. We came in, you know, after the game, the first game of the season at home, and I look on top of a refrigerator that's in our coaches office and I see different types of green camouflage paint cans. And I'm thinking to myself, you know, what in the world is, is this one doing in here? And then why is it in here and all this kind of stuff? So come to find out. My son Jay had painted the wrong number on the wrong line and had gone down to the local hardware shop. We may not have a lot of stuff in Wilcox County, but when it comes to hunting supplies, we have it and he bought him some camouflage paint and he painted over that sucker and made it look like, you know, just regular old grass. But I guess that was that resourceful, funny moment of using some camouflage to mess up, I mean, to fix a mess on the field.
Hannah Goodin: So lots of green paint there. Got it.
Rob Stowe, Wilcox Co. Head Coach: There was. That's right. Yeah. We can do the camo with the best.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, that's hilarious. Thanks for sharing. That was a good one. Rome High School, head coach John Reid shared a story that can be summed up pretty much like this: kids say the darndest things.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: First of all, there's a funny story every day, I coach 16 year olds.
Hannah Goodin: That's true.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: So I will tell you one and I think Jon will appreciate this. It's well documented what we did at East Paulding. We came out of Alcoa, Tennessee, and in the first year we went, I don't know, 13 to 1 or something, went to the Final Four and so forth with the team that those 13 victories were probably half the victories they'd had total since the school started out. But the story is this My daughter came with me at the semester and she's a really good athlete. She reminds me a little bit of, Hey, what's the girl that was in the football movie? Hayden...... You know the movie, not The Blindside, the other one with the North Carolina team or South Carolina team.
Jon Nelson: Okay, keep keep going with the story. I'll think of the movie.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: My daughter's like a lot like that actor where she wasn't on the team but she thought she was you know, she was over here drills and getting water and all that, and she knew a lot about football. She ended up being a really good coach and a college basketball player. So we're at East Paulding, we're first practice and we she's watching practice and I'm struggling because we're not very good. We're awful. And Jon, Jon can attest. So we get there with practice. We're driving home, we're staying at a house, renting a house, and on the way home it's real quiet. And she goes, Daddy. Yes, sweetheart, She said we suck, don't we? and I said, Yes, we do. She said I knew it.
Hannah Goodin: I knew it. I knew it.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: You know the funny part about a story? She'd only known Alcoa football so for three years, but we won the state championship every year. Yeah, there's other ones, Hannah. But that's the best one I could come up with.
Jon Nelson: Remember the Titans.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: Remember the Titans.
Jon Nelson: With the daughter.
John Reid, Rome Head Coach: That daughter reminds me of my daughter.
Jon Nelson: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: Mark Stroud, head coach at Calvary Day, is next on the podcast to share a story about trying to fire up the kids at a pep rally.
Mark Stroud, Calvary Day Head Coach: You know, I have a lot of what we talk about that is a lot of actually little things that happen along way to go without, I guess, you know. When we were trying. I was at Toombs County early in my career and we would I was 27 year old, 27 years old as a head coach, and I always thought it. I thought I knew everything. And I realized as soon as I became a head coach, I didn't know anything at all, so much as clueless, really. I just amazingly clueless. So I was trying everything in the world to to get things going. And we were really bad the first couple of years there. Then we got really good for long period times. But I was practicing this trick for our, um, for a pep rally. I think other guys probably done this along the way, so I'm sure I stole it from somewhere, but I took like a a foot long black tail worm. And I stuck him on my mouth and I held my mouth in front of the entire student body and told the story. And I won't go into all the story, but it's about doing everything right. And then at the very end, just reaching in out of my mouth. When we ground on the floor of the gym floor. He just starts crawling around out there and the place goes crazy. I mean they lose their minds. And I think we probably still got beat.
Hannah Goodin: Even with the worm.
Mark Stroud, Calvary Day Head Coach: It with the worm. And the other thing similar to that we were playing a rival early on, Vidalia. It's one of those for years and. You know, again, I'm like 27. And so you didn't do anything right at 27, you know, And I'm like, listen, if we win tonight I'm shaving my head, soon as we get through this thing tonight. And so we went in after warm ups and I went back in the very back and. I shaved my head befor the game.
Hannah Goodin: Oh no.
Mark Stroud, Calvary Day Head Coach: Yes. And so I ran into the field house, my wife will say with hair, and I came out bald. Completely bald. And we played really well but I think we also got beat.
Hannah Goodin: I was about to say, he got beat again.
Mark Stroud, Calvary Day Head Coach: But there's many, many stories with kids that always have done many things. Yeah, but it's been a lot of fun.
Jon Nelson: Oh, wow.
Hannah Goodin: That's awesome. Thank you so much for sharing those. Thanks for listening to a special bonus edition of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. We hope you enjoyed all the superstitions, traditions, and funny stories. Don't forget to check out the full interviews and videos on our social media at GPB Sports.