After Friday, playoffs look in reach for local teams

Published 9:54 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

The old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is one of my all-time favorites. The expression preaches patience and teaches the value of laying a foundation that won’t go crumbling down.

Football teams are built a lot of the same way.

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has used the reference of building his Vols “brick by brick” since he took over in Knoxville.

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Although it hasn’t all come together for the Vols yet — blowing fourth quarter leads doesn’t help — that doesn’t mean Jones isn’t right.  It takes patience to put in a system and to build a program.

At the high school level it’s arguably even more difficult.

After all, coaches don’t pick and choose which students end up in their school system.

High school is also less about wins and more about getting our future leaders ready for the outside world.

Still, winning is important. Once a coach takes over, his players have to buy into the system and things have to fall into place. Sometimes it can happen right away and other times it can take years.

When it does click and a team breaks through with an unexpected win, it’s usually the first sign that a program is turning the corner.

At the high school level, Dallas County and Morgan Academy might’ve gotten their breakthrough wins Friday night.

The Hornets blew out Bibb County, a team coming off a 18-point win over West Blocton the week before. The Tigers were ranked No. 4 in the state when Bibb beat them and the Choctaws came in riding a wave of momentum.

Dallas County’s win gave the Hornets a 3-2 record — the first time the Hornets have had a winning record after five games since 2004. Facebook launched that same year.

Morgan Academy closed out a comeback win over No. 4 Tuscaloosa Academy, a team that had won its four games by an average of 23.3 points. The Senators trailed by two touchdowns in the second half but didn’t quit in one of the biggest upsets around the state this past week.

Those wins, coupled with Meadowview Christian’s playoff clinching win, mean that for the first time in my three years covering football in Dallas County, there will be many meaningful games in October and November.

It’s been a while since October has been anything other than a de facto countdown to basketball season.

That’s not the case this year, as many teams around the county look poised to end playoff droughts.