Just a Thought
By DARRIN SMITH
This year’s NCAA tournaments Cinderella (Loyola Chicago) didn’t quite make it to the championship, but they sure did come close. It is such a thrill for me every time an underdog proves the experts wrong and plays way above where they are expected to play. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day is my philosophy. If they are given the chance that is.
We have had many teams come through our schools who not many people would have given a chance. Several of these come to mind right away. I don’t think anyone saw Trion’s basketball team improving the way they did this year over last year and winning a first round playoff game. I’m pretty sure no one at Chattooga expected the 2017 football or basketball teams to reach the elite eight. I’m sure not many saw the Trion football team advancing to the state semifinals in 2003. And my favorite of all, was the legendary Chattooga 8-7 win at Dalton for the region championship in football so many years ago.
Probably not many people remember that win, but I bet even fewer realize the magnitude of it entirely. Consider this, Dalton entered the game a perfect 10-0. They had outscored their opponents 461- 35 with the smallest margin of victory being 22 points. They had even defeated Fannin County two weeks earlier 83-3. Now to add to that, they were in their fifth straight season with over ten wins and had been a state quarterfinalist the previous year and state runner-up the two years prior to that. They were seemingly unbeatable, especially on their sacred ground at Harmon Field. But the Indians rolled into town with a 9-1 record and shocked the local world. It is an epic game in Chattooga history. Chattooga went on to lose to Cedartown the following week for the second time of the year to exit the playoffs, but they had slain a giant.
Many people consider that win over Dalton to be the first playoff win in school history while many others credit last year’s team as being the first to accomplish the feat. It doesn’t really matter whether the game was recorded as a playoff win or a play in win. It still is one of the greatest victories in Chattooga’s school history.
In 2002, I watched Calhoun, arguably one of the best teams in the state at the time, beat the Trion Bulldogs at Sam R. McCain stadium in one of the worst displays of poor sportsmanship I have ever witnessed. I was an official at the game and was up in the booth operating the clock. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the way Calhoun’s coaches played out the end of the game it wasn’t pretty. To add insult to injury, the massive Calhoun band played the old “Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye” song almost the entire fourth quarter. It got so bad, some of the schools coaching staffs became very heated with one another up in the booth. It came close to escalating up there. I told one of the Calhoun coaches in the booth after things settled down, that they had made a huge mistake, and the players, coaches, and fans at Trion would never forget that night. I was right, and the Bulldogs revenge came quickly!
The following season, Trion had to go to Calhoun where the Yellow Jackets hadn’t lost in almost three years. The folks at Calhoun never knew what hit them as the Bulldogs pulled the revenge upset win 37-30. Watching the powerhouse get a taste of their own medicine must have been so sweet for the Bulldogs Nation that night. I’m sure it was a great day to be a Bulldog.
As everyone knows by now, I love our schools and want to celebrate every victory with them that I can. We may be the Cinderella’s on some stages, but just like Loyola Chicago, when we get there we sure know how to dance! I can’t wait for our next Cinderella story to begin; if it hasn’t already.
It’s just a thought but one worth thinking.
Just a Thought