Good teams just figure out how to get it done, don’t they?
Saturday, Georgia demonstrated why it’s No. 1 in the nation. The Bulldogs faced a torrid Tennessee offense and found itself trailing 10-7 when the first quarter ended.
Then it happened. With the game tied at 10, Georgia picked off a pass in Tennessee territory and quicky scored for a 17-10 advantage. It forced Tennessee to punt and Paxton Brooks did what he needed to do: pin Georgia at its own 10, late in the first half.
Georgia drove 90 yards to go up by two touchdowns at the half. Against that Georgia defense, Tennessee was effectively doomed.
Georgia is built to capitalize on mistakes. The Vols struggled to get Georgia off the field on third down and, after that opening drive, never seemed to be in sync. Tennessee couldn’t convert on third down. Georgia always did.
Tennessee had too many empty red-zone chances. Georgia capitalized. Tennessee didn’t protect well enough and often left Georgia with a short field. Good teams capitalize.
Georgia is just plain good.
Take nothing away from the Vols. They played Georgia as well as anyone. They scored more points than anyone against Georgia and collected 387 yards. They just don’t have enough personnel to compete at that level … yet.
For this team to even challenge a team like Georgia given all it’s been through is remarkable. It wasn’t all bad for Tennessee, just a lot of not-very-good that added up.
The best thing you can say about Tennessee’s game against Georgia: it’s over.
Last week Weakley County lost an icon in the coaching and educational ranks.
Chuck West, who led Dresden to two state tournaments and two substate appearances in basketball, then took the reins as the DHS principal, died last week after a long illness. He was 66.
West was a quality coach and a human being. Everyone I’ve talked to has said pretty much the same thing: Chuck was a good coach and a good friend. Coaches in the area wanted to beat him, but they also liked and respected him. I know a lot of coaches who didn’t care for, nor respect each other.
This wasn’t the case with West.
For 11 years, I worked with him as a sports writer and he was so easy to work with. Even years later, when I wasn’t covering him on a weekly basis anymore, he still treated me like I was going to be on his baseline Tuesday night.
People talked of his altruism. They weren’t just saying nice things to be polite. It was true. He once helped me change a tire on a Sunday evening during a steady rainstorm. That’s just who he was.
The memories I have of those days when Dresden went to state will always be associated with Coach West, his excellence as a coach and human being.
I’m sure going to miss him.
With the high school playoffs reaching the quarterfinals this week, I’m very impressed at the evolution of the McKenzie Rebels’ football team.
Friday, the Rebels beat No. 9 Cornersville 28-0. This was a big win for the Rebels against a team that presented a tough test. The Bulldogs were big, physical and capable of moving the ball.
McKenzie, challenged by this Cornersville front, dominated both lines of scrimmage, controlled the tempo and re-invented itself to accommodate the soggy weather and physical opponent.
If the Rebels parlay this performance properly, it can build on this confidence moving forward. To beat this team 28-0 and the way they did it was impressive. No. 4 Fayetteville on its field is next. If the Rebels can win that one, they will host No. 2 Trenton-Peabody.
But that’s a long way off. The Rebels need to focus on this upcoming contest against the Tigers. This team seems to be peaking at the right time.
But this team needs to summit one peak at a time.
Editor’s note: Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and the host of The Pressbox, which airs from 4-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday on WRJB, 95.9 FM, Camden.