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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Doormat to Dominator

Posted September 14, 2006

Have I told you about my Friday night job? It's more of a joy than a job. Especially this year. I'm the public address announcer for the Athens Drive High School football games. My son Will, a senior, plays defensive end for the Jaquars. Will's teams in middle school enjoyed great success but when he got to high school he found out that Athens was the doormat of the Triangle. The teams all played hard but student commitment was lagging and there was an attitude of low expectations. One or two wins a season. That's about all you could expect at Athens. Well, this season the Jaquars have won their first four games including three contests on the road. How have they done it? Well, second year coach Jeff Smouse has launched an impressive passing attack led by junior quarterback Nick DeMuro. An ambitious off season weight lifting program also helped greatly. And the team booster's club totally bought into Smouse's program and has generated more enthusiasm and fund raising than ever. The Jags will go for their fifth straight win at home in Raleigh tomorrow night against East Chapel Hill High School. Come on out and watch the game which begins at 7:30PM. But don't be late. The stands fill up fast these days. The real story here is that a program can be turned around. Moore County's Pinecrest High School almost cancelled its football program because of a woeful lack of pride, student participation and victories. However, school administrators decided this week to stick with it and I'm glad they did. If Athens can rise from the ashes so can Pinecrest. Feel free to comment on any rags to riches story you might have regarding sports.
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