Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman relishes having a bye Friday after the events of last week. His Trojans defeated Valdosta 28-24, becoming the first Class AA or smaller school to beat the Wildcats in almost 50 years. Freeman says he couldn’t blame his players if they were still giddy about it a few days later.
“If we get lucky enough to win a state title, that would put us with two state titles in one year,” Freeman said. “It’s not like beating your big brother, but like beating your uncle. That’s Winnersville, USA, over there. That’s big time.”
Freeman grew up in Brooks County and became head coach of his alma mater in 1994, when he led the school to its first state title. He first got Valdosta on the schedule in 1996. When he returned to Brooks County in 2008, he scheduled Valdosta again beginning in 2010.
Freeman played football for Brooks County in the 1980s, a decade in which Valdosta, just 18 miles away, won four state titles and two national championships. He said Brooks County didn’t dream of playing Valdosta in those days, much less beating them.
“That topic didn’t even come up,” Freeman said. “I had a cousin growing up who played for Valdosta, and he and I used to wrestle and go at it all the time on weekends. Every now and then he’d beat the stew out of me, and I’d beat the stew out of him. He was third string at Valdosta. That’s when I thought Valdosta must be pretty good.”
Brooks County plays at Mitchell County on Sept. 21, then starts its Region 1-AA schedule the next week against Early County. Four of Region 1’s teams are ranked.
“Believe me, I can get the air back out of their heads before then,” Freeman said. “We will continue to get prepared. It was one game. You don’t want to be 3-0 and then 3-7. If we don’t win another game, it’s meaningless. It’s where you stand in the end that matters.”
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