50-in-50: Dooly County

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

What’s the best thing to do the season after winning two nail-biting playoff games in the final minutes – a quarter final and a semi-final – before advancing to your first state championship game in 30 years?

Forget about it. Move on.

While 2012 was a special season for Dooly County and the folks in Vienna, a town of just under 4,000 in southwest Georgia, it ended with a sobering 47-7 beat down by Emanuel County Institute at the Georgia Dome in the Class A Public School Final. To make matters worse, the Bobcats’ leader, defensive tackle Montravius Adams, widely considered the top defensive lineman in the country, was negated by a severe ankle injury and a nasty group of ECI offensive linemen. Adams played only a handful of snaps in the second half of the game.

“You can’t continue to look back. We talked about the game when we came back to school in January after the [winter] break,” said Dooly head coach Jimmy Hughes, now entering his fourth season. “But then, it was time to move forward. That was a special team and it was a special year for our community, a great year. But now it’s time for the next team to try to finish the deal.”

Hughes said the Bobcats will have to win differently than they did last season, when their offensive and defensive lines – led by Adams, along with Jalen Daniels, JaSean Wiley and Dequan Daniels – overwhelmed most opponents. All four of those players have graduated. Adams will line up at Auburn this fall, Daniels at Troy, and Wiley at Mississippi Delta Community College. Hughes believes that something will open up late at the college level for Dequan Daniels.

“Last season our strength was our front four and everything we did was designed for them to make plays,” Hughes said. “This year we’ll be young and inexperienced there for the most part. But we’ve got about seven guys who are young and talented, and were able to play a little bit behind Montravius and those other guys. They’ll get their chance this year.”

Hughes said the leadership displayed by last year’s linemen will be missed just as much as their talent and size.

“Our young guys were able to see how hard Montravius and those guys worked,” Hughes said. “They were right there with them every day and they saw the success those guys had. Hopefully that will rub off on them.

“This year we may utilize those guys in a way that frees up our linebackers and defensive backs to make plays,” Hughes said. “You always want to get your playmakers in the best position possible to make plays.”

On the back end those playmakers are defensive backs Tay Daniels and Kereon Merrell, and linebacker Mark Clark. On offense, everything will revolve around rising junior running back Chanin Hamilton, who rushed for 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns.

And the Bobcats’ “12th man” will return as well. Nearly every resident of Vienna made the two-hour trek to Atlanta to see Dooly in the state finals.

“That support really means a lot,” Hughes said. “When we went over to Seminole County and Lincoln County (in the playoffs), we had tremendous crowds. The people in this town have high expectations for us, and we like that. It makes us all work harder.

“But the support is nothing but positive,” Hughes said. “This town, like a lot of others, has been hit hard by the economy. Things are getting better but it’s slow. Around here, Friday nights are like a festival. Everybody wants to be at the game because that’s the place to be, and we love that.”

Hughes won’t promise another deep playoff run, but he believes the 2013 Bobcats will be good, due in large part to their predecessors advancing to the post season the last three seasons.

“We lost a lot of good players, but we’ve got a group of seniors who have played in a lot of football games, 36 games in three years,” Hughes said. “We won’t be as big as we were last year, but I think we’ll as fast or faster as a team than anyone we play, and sometimes speed can make up for being undersized.”

Dooly County Bobcats

2012 record: 11-3 (6-1 in Region 4A; lost in Class A Public Final to Emanuel County Institute, 47-7)

Starters returning: 5 on offense, 7 on defense

Key players lost: DL/K Montravius Adams (Auburn), DE/OLB Jalen Daniels (Troy), OL/DL JaSean Wiley (Mississippi Delta Community College), OT/DE Dequan Daniels (Pending)

Key players returning: RB Chanin Hamilton (5-10, 175); OL/DL Larry Glover (6-1, 315); WR/DB Courtney Clark (5-11, 175); OL/DL Terrell Deriso (6-1, 280).

Spring practice dates: May 6-17

Schedule: (Scrimmage) Aug. 16 vs. Crisp County, Aug. 30 vs. Macon County, Sept. 6 vs. Americus-Sumter, Sept. 13 at Wilcox County, Sept. 27 vs. Brookstone, Oct. 4 at Hawkinsville, Oct. 13 vs. Central-Talbotton, Oct. 18 at Marion County, Oct. 25 vs. Pacelli, Nov. 1 at Greenville, Nov. 8 at Schley County.

Outlook: Dooly advanced to its first state final since it lost to West Rome (35-0) in the 1983 Class AA final, which has raised expectations even more in Vienna. Look for the Bobcats to be in the thick of things this fall, as rising junior running back Chanin Hamilton will most likely become the next big thing at Dooly, post Montravius Adams.

16 comments Add your comment

Jefferson

May 17th, 2013
11:04 am

Never heard of them til last season, top 50 ?

FayetteCoFan

May 17th, 2013
12:40 pm

Where are the Sandy Creek Fighting Patriots in this 50-in-50?

georgiajeepn

May 17th, 2013
12:59 pm

It says 50 in 50. It does not say the top 50 ranked high school teams in Georgia. 50 teams in 50 days.

S. Thomas Coleman

May 17th, 2013
1:26 pm

@Jefferson: Dooly has always been a respectable program with talented kids. And “georgiajeepn” is correct. These schools aren’t necessarily the top 50 in Georgia. It’s just 50 teams in 50 days, not based on rank, per se, but more so based on a compelling storyline. In Dooly’s case, what will they be without Mount Adams in 2013?

Thanks for reading and posting!

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

May 17th, 2013
1:29 pm

@FayetteCoFan: We have two weeks of the 50-in-50 remaining …. Look for the Patriots to make an appearance before the feature ends.

Thanks for reading and posting!

STC

Jefferson

May 17th, 2013
3:43 pm

Sounds reasonable. May as well do one on Murray County then.

S. Thomas Coleman

May 17th, 2013
5:35 pm

@Jefferson: I guess you’re being funny, since Murray has won a total of seven games in the last seven seasons.

STC

FootballTopFan(c)

May 17th, 2013
6:20 pm

FootballTopFan(c) would like to congratulate the Dooly County Bobcats and head coach Jimmy Hughes on a great season going to the state finals !!!

The Bobcats look to have a strong team again this year.

We wish the team and the good people of Vienna the best of luck and success.

Football Top Fan supports high school football.

Jefferson

May 17th, 2013
7:05 pm

Like you say 7 wins in 7 years is a compelling storyline, anyone else fall on hard times as hard?

Gridiron

May 17th, 2013
8:36 pm

For the record Dooly Co. lost 14-50 to Clinic Co. in the 2002 Class A State Championship game.

Gridiron

May 17th, 2013
8:37 pm

Correction: Clinch Co.

S. Thomas Coleman

May 17th, 2013
10:46 pm

@Jefferson: Sorry, but it looks like times have always been hard at MC. In 62 years of football they’ve finished above .500 just 27 times and made the playoffs just 17 times. No compelling piece there.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

May 17th, 2013
10:48 pm

@Gridiron: You are correct. I’ll make the correction.

STC

Jefferson

May 18th, 2013
7:31 am

That,s easy for you to say.

south cobb fan for to long

May 18th, 2013
10:48 am

my top 10 in 6a next year is 1.Norcross 2.Colquitt co 3. NGwinnett 4. Camden Co 5. Lovejoy 6.Mceachern 7. Lowndes 8. Ncobb 9. Grayson 10. Lassiter

william west

May 22nd, 2013
11:50 pm

Dooly played Clinch Co in the 2004 title game in Homerville Ga.