Sports Columns

September 1, 2013

Devin Golden: ‘Moral’ or not Murray County will have victories

Sometimes moral victories are OK. Sometimes. And the recent history of Murray County High School’s football team probably classifies the Indians’ performance Friday night into the acceptable “moral victory” category.

But moral victories are still only moral victories, and those aren’t in Chad Brewer’s game plan.

Immediately following the game between Coahulla Creek and Murray County — a 35-9 win for the host Colts — I spoke to the losing Indians’ new head coach about what he saw from his team.

Was he happy with the first-game effort? Was he thrilled with the Indians competing well into the fourth quarter? Was he excited for the future, one that could actually include a Murray County turnaround?

His answer? Coach speak. I guess he read the manual.

“Not excited to lose a game,” Brewer said. “Never excited to lose a game. Until we get the mentality that losing is not acceptable, it’ll never turn around for us. There were some good things. There were a lot of bad things, too. It’s our job as a coaching staff to get those things fixed and addressed before we play a very good Christian Heritage team.”

The reality for the program is Friday night’s performance was the best from a Murray County team in two years. In fact, it was the closest margin of defeat in that time. By comparison, last year’s game between these two teams was a 55-7 Coahulla Creek win, and this year’s Colts team is better, and has more experience and senior leadership.

In fact, Coahulla Creek senior quarterback Blaine Williams delayed answering the first question to comment on Murray County’s improvement.

“Let me just start by saying Murray County is a completely different team,” he said. “They’re going to keep getting better.”

If you’re a Murray County fan, player or coach, don’t forget that quarterback Justin Smith had a fake punt run in the first quarter for 48 yards, and a Coahulla Creek player had to chase him down to prevent a score. Don’t forget that Smith had a 29-yard run in the second quarter, but the Indians’ drive stalled near the Colts’ 25-yard line. Don’t forget that Spencer Baggett had a 29-yard reception but was tripped up by the ankle to prevent another potential score in the fourth quarter. Don’t forget that Murray County trailed 21-9 halfway through the fourth quarter and had the ball in Coahulla Creek territory before a Smith pass was picked off by Erick Dominguez.

Don’t forget that the game was much closer than 35-9 would indicate.

Don’t forget those facts, but don’t be excited by them either. They’re almosts, near-misses and what-ifs — all ingredients of a moral victory plea.

“You can say those things about every game,” Brewer said. “We’ve got to start making those plays and we have to have a desire that losing is not an option and make those three or four plays to have a shot.”

But don’t forget that Murray County won the third quarter 9-0 and held Coahulla Creek to just six points from two minutes left in the first quarter to three minutes left in the fourth quarter. That means for nearly three quarters, the Indians were on par with the Colts, a team that won a year ago with a running clock, used when one team is ahead by 30 or more after the third quarter.

Don’t forget it, but don’t be satisfied with it.

“Like coach Brewer says, you have to win four quarters,” junior linebacker Kevin Chavez said. “Not just the third quarter. We came out blazing after halftime.”

The losing streak has reached 19 games. It would’ve been 21 had Dalton and Southeast Whitfield not used ineligible players in 2011, giving the Indians two forfeiture victories.

“It comes down to good coaching,” Chavez said. “We’re still learning. It’s still a process. Like they told us, we have baggage from the past couple of years. (Offensive coordinator) Jeff Williams told us we can’t sprint with baggage. We have to let it go. ... God did it feel good competing. It felt amazing. I loved every second of it.”

Still, losing never feels good, and moral victories are never good enough.

As long as those within Murray County’s program remind themselves of this, eventually, they won’t throw that fourth-quarter interception. Eventually, they won’t give up opening-drive touchdowns or fall behind by 21 or have four turnovers, like they did Friday.

Eventually, that losing streak will stop. This season, in fact.

If someone were to ask me what I saw Friday, that’s what I’d say. But those are moral victory-filled statements, and the Indians want none of it.

Good on them.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Contact him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.

1
Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Doug Hawley: Cancer will not hinder Run for John’s finish

    With the seventh annual Run for John races scheduled for Saturday in Dalton, there is a community focus this week on the family of the late John Bruner.

    April 19, 2014

  • Devin Golden: Area aims for multiple tennis titles in tourneys

    Afew local high school tennis teams have had successful regular seasons and they aim for bigger achievements this week in the region tournaments.
    Murray County’s girls are right there near the front of the Region 7-2A pack.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield: Miller finds the win he has wanted

    Former Dalton High School standout Chase Miller has had four strong years at the College of Coastal Georgia, transitioning with the school as it went from a junior college program his freshman year to a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics four-year school.
    The one thing missing from his résumé? A tournament title.

    April 12, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Big Three still a big deal for fans

    AUGUSTA — Sinatra is gone, but we still have his music. The same is true with Nat King Cole and Elvis. It would be nice to hear them in concert again, however. With Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, we are not sure what it will be like when they are no longer the honorary starters at the Masters.

    April 11, 2014

  • Tom Lindley: Managing dollars at the ballpark can be an exercise in good sense

    Attending an Opening Day game at a Major League Baseball stadium is one of life’s little pleasures. Everyone should get to experience it at least once.

    April 11, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Meeting old friends under the big oak a tradition, too

    The first time I was in a train station in Great Britain and saw a sign that read, “Meeting Place,” it brought me to a pause. How simple, how functional was this sign? In small towns it is not a problem to meet someone at Sheppard’s Filling Station or at the fireplug across the street from the Baptist church, but at a busy venue — like European train stations — there is nothing more sensible than meeting at the “Meeting Place.”

    April 10, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Golden Bear is still game’s top champion

    Jack Nicklaus is entitled to play the Augusta National Golf Club as a member now, which means when he takes friends out for a round of golf, he hits from the member tees. He hits it a long way still — certainly for a guy in his mid-70s — but not like in 1965, when he drove the ball on No. 15 so far over the crest of the hill that he only needed a 7-iron for his second shot.

    April 8, 2014

  • Chris Stephens: The boys of summer ready for rec baseball

    The emotions are far-reaching and played out all over baseball diamonds each summer. Fear. Anxiety. Fear. Anticipation. Fear. Excitement.
    But honestly, I have no idea how my son feels about his first baseball season. These are my emotions.

    April 5, 2014

  • Tom Lindley: Tough calls part of the job for refs

    Florida brings Scottie Wilbeken to the Final Four with championship hopes. Kentucky has Julius Randle, Wisconsin features Frank Kaminsky and Connecticut will be a tough out as long as Shabazz Napier has the ball.

    April 4, 2014

  • Heritage at NW base#1C009FA.jpg Devin Golden: Stage now set as NW, SE aim for series win

    The team isn’t the exact same, but Northwest Whitfield’s baseball squad is mirroring itself from a season ago.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video