Just Sayin’ with Justin

GRAFTON— With the Grafton High School (GHS) Bearcats football season firmly in the rearview mirror, I think its time to address the standing of the program. The Bearcats posted yet another losing season, which leaves the citizens of Taylor County in a lurch wondering when the glory days of GHS football will return to the county.

Many of our readers may not know that I am a transplant to this county. I originally hail from deep within the SEC district of the football map of this country. We hold football sacred in the south, it is as American as apple pie and the Andy Griffith Show. Having been involved in the lower levels of the Taylor County football program for a few years now and having spoken with numerous denizens of the county, I think it may be time for a serious consideration and discussion on moving the program forward towards a winning atmosphere.

So, where do we start you may ask? Believe it or not, it all begins at the bottom rung of the football spectrum with the Mighty Mites, PeeWees, and the Midgets. These lower levels are our foundation and core. Without a solid foundation the house crumbles. If you take the time to review any consistently winning program, you will find as much involvement at the lower levels as you do the top. Our rivals to the south in Harrison County make this apparently clear, as they field and coach superior teams year after year!

Growing up in the South, I can’t remember a time when the High School Head Coach and the Athletic Director didn’t make an appearance at our practices every week to watch the boys play, offer tips and insights and make sure their offensive and defensive plays were being executed to precision. It wasn’t viewed as an intrusion. In gact, it was often perceived as a way to make the high school team better in the coming years. We ran very simplified plays of the High School playbook in little league, and by the time we reached middle school, we were running the same offense as the High School to perfection. I have yet to see that same involvement in Taylor County. You have some wonderful volunteer coaches who are trying their best to be competitive, but our kids will enter the little leagues and will be involved in no less than four different offenses during their time in the lower levels. A sense of structure and pride needs to be instituted from the top all the way down for our program to rise.

With a top down approach, everyone from the volunteer coaching staff to the concession workers feel involved in every aspect of the game. They watch their kids get better, and they cheer louder from the stands, as their kids are a part of a winning program.

I have spoken with former coaches, current coaches, parents, players and former players and they all have the same sentiment. Grafton has had a losing record since 2012, with a record of 27-61-1 and with just a little involvement from top, the trickle down effect would be enormous and in a few years, we would be in contention once again, instead of being the “easy win” for most teams.

This will be an ongoing series for the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to contact me at anytime to offer your opinion or support. Lets all work together to bring this program out of the mire and into glory!


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