By David Purdum / For the AJC
Barney Hester enters his 40th season coaching Georgia high school football facing one of his toughest challenges.
Hester, the new head coach and athletic director at Howard (Macon), won 11 GISA state championship and 306 games at Tattnall Square.
Now, he takes over a Howard program that has lost 24 straight games, the longest current losing streak in AAAA. Hester says he was pleasantly surprised with the work habits and attitudes of the players when he arrived, but also recognized the signs of a program that had been beaten down and had lots of doubts.
The Huskies’ last win came on Oct. 8, 2010 vs. Veterans.
“We’re hoping do something about that Friday night,” said Hester, who will lead the Huskies against East Laurens on Friday. “These young men deserve to win a football game.”
Hester begins the season in sixth place among the winningest coaches in Georgia high school football. He says he’ll be scared to death on Friday, just like he was 40 years ago, when he stepped onto the field for his first game as a head coach.
“You’re worried about everything that can happen in a football game,” Hester added. “You’re worried about the weaknesses you have and if your opponent will take advantage of them. But, in the end, when you see that smile after a win or a big play, it’s all worth it.”
Most Wins in Georgia High School Football
(According to GHSFHA.org)
Larry Campbell – 471-81-3
Robert Davis – 352-74-1
Dan Pitts – 346-109-4
Dwight Hoschstetler – 326-109-1
Luther Welsh – 323-162-5
Barney Hester – 322-162-5
Bill Chappell – 317-74-9
Tom ‘T’ McFerrin – 317-74-9
Wayman Creel – 312-106-14
Alan Chadwick – 311-55-0
–“The good thing about having the best team in the state in your region is that you won’t have to face them in the playoffs until the championship game.” Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague. The Trojans are No. 2, behind Region 5-AAAA foe and defending state champion, No. 1 Sandy Creek.
–No. 5 Stockbridge’s coaching staff went through massive transition in the offseason and is still looking to fill one assistant spot, four days before the Tigers’ open the season at Tri-Cities on Friday. Defensive coordinator Morris Starr left to become head coach at Henry County. Defensive line coach James Thornton and receivers coach Jerase Perkins also left the staff for other opportunities. Stockbridge head coach Kevin Whitley says his team and current staff are ready, though, “if we can stop reading our press clippings.”
–Longtime Statesboro offensive coordinator Kenny Tucker retired after 31 years coaching during spring practice.
–It doesn’t appear Burke County’s game against Thomson, which was stopped by lightning, will be rescheduled. Burke County coach Eric Parker said Monday that the two teams have not been able to find a date that works for both school.
“It does not look good right,” said Parker. “It’s too bad, because as young as we are, we could use the reps.”
Parker said 11 freshmen and sophomores are receiving regular playing time, especially on defense, where only two starters return.