We all knew the 2020 high school football season was going to be wildly different than any we’ve experienced.
Games many looked forward to were canceled — not postponed — but removed from the schedule completely. Some teams got to experience what it’s like playing three games in the span of a little over a week. Superstars were forced to sit because they tested positive for or were exposed to COVID-19, possibly creating a different outcome than had the game been played under normal circumstances. So many changes, and pretty much none of them positive.
Thanks a lot, ‘rona.
But did you know that this season could bring something not seen in Baldwin County in 18 years? And the pandemic has played absolutely no part in it.
There are a couple of scenarios this week that would grant GMC Prep varsity football access to the state playoffs for the first time since 2002 (see the GMC Prep versus ACE preview for said scenarios). If that happens, this will be the first time since that 2002 season that all three Baldwin County football programs — Baldwin High, GMC Prep and John Milledge — have made it to the postseason.
Let's add a little context. If you are a high school senior you likely had not been or just were born the last time the Braves, Bulldogs and Trojans all earned playoff bids. Current Baldwin head coach Jesse Hicks was in the first year of his first tenure as BHS head coach. The program had had a rough three years prior to him taking over in ’02. He went on to lead the Braves to the postseason every year except one during those initial eight seasons at the helm. Current John Milledge head coach JT Wall was playing fullback at the University of Georgia in 2002 while Ken Johnson was the JMA head at the time. GMC Prep’s current head coach Lee Coleman was a freshman at East Hall High School in Gainesville the last time all three schools made it into the playoffs. He was on his way to being named Rookie of the Year on the basketball team while then-GMC Prep head coach Derrick Allen was taking the Bulldogs to the postseason. Yours truly was in the eighth grade, and my mornings were spent drilling my older sister on her vocabulary words on our way to school. She for some reason believes that gives her the right to claim credit for my exquisite lexicon. I’m inclined to dissent from that opinion.
All three teams lost out in the first round to end that 2002 season. Let’s make some real history in 2020 and get all three schools into the second round for the first time ever.