Lumpkin County has endured a tough stretch in its football history in the last few years. The Indians (1-1) went just 1-9 last year and a respectable 4-6 the year prior. However, coach Shane Williamson, now in his third year at the helm, has this program in a position it hasn’t been in for quite some time.
Last year, Lumpkin progressively got better as the season went on, although Williamson says he tried to do some things a bit quicker than maybe the program was ready for, like spreading the offense and airing the ball out.
“Last year I really made some bad decisions on trying to go in a direction we probably weren’t quite ready to go yet ,” says Williamson. “We still needed to incorporate building a program from foundation up. I tried to speed the process up a little bit too fast last year. But it is good, year three, you know the kids better, they know you.”
Williamson states that the focus has been on the feeder programs all the way up, and notes that he’s gone from just six freshman in the high school program his first year and ten the second year. He’s built the bridge to now having close to 30 freshman this year, which makes up almost half of the football team.
“It was huge,” says Williamson. “It’s kind of a reward for the kids working hard since January. It’s like I tell them, you put all this work in, you want to get paid. It’s no different than going to work…you want to get a paycheck at the end. That’s our paycheck is the scoreboard…getting a win.”
Guys like Luke Smith, Kyle Amburgey and QB Tucker Flint have found success early and often in the system. While they can be proud of what they’ve accomplished, the team still was exposed a bit in a 40-7 loss to White County in a game that was only 7-0 at the half.
“It’s funny, in our pregame devotion we were talking about living in a glass house,” says Williamson. “If you live in a glass house, one little pebble can shatter your house. The first half we were in the football game. Second half – we go from being down 7-0 to 21-0 in a matter of five or six minutes on the clock. That was the pebble that broke our glass house. That’s one thing we’re continuing to work on – don’t let one bad thing continue on to become a lot of bad things.”
The Indians hit the gridiron again in Week 2 against a solid Jackson County team, who shut out Banks County a couple of weeks ago. They run a similar style to White County, but will feature two guys that can take the snap from under center.
“It’s going to be a challenge to line up to their unique formations,” says Williamson. “We tried to mimic that the best we can in practice. It could be a pebble that gets thrown at us. We can’t let [one] series determine the game.”
Lumpkin will seek to win its second game of the season, and will follow that up with next week’s game at Gilmer. The Indians then have a bye week before beginning region play at Dawson County on September 21.