Towns County’s new habit of winning is contagious [VIDEO]

For the first time since 2008, Towns County started out a season 4-1. Though the Indians dropped their next game on the road at Lincoln County, there’s no denying the impact this is having in Hiawassee.

“It started three years ago,” says coach Jason Roquemore, who now has 7 wins and counting to his credit at Towns, just 10 off the school record. “We’ve just continued brick by brick – just continued to build. The kids have done a great job of embracing our expectations and playing to our standard. Our kids are so fun to coach…and the community has been unbelievable. Good time to be an Indian.”

The program hasn’t racked up that many wins over the decades, as the Indians have a 76-375-1 mark going back to 1969. However, the culture is changing over the past handful of seasons. And while Towns lost some close ones last year, they are beginning to reverse that trend in 2021, coming out on the right side of tight games.

“We’ve come a long way since last year,” adds junior lineback Seth Gillis. “This year, everybody…the whole defense rallies to the ball. Everybody wants to win.”

The team has been led by Kyle Oakes, a senior running back who is probably one tote shy of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He needs just 6 yards to accomplish the feat.
“It would be pretty good…that’s pretty good stats,” says Oakes. “But that’s not really the goal. The O-Line play a key factor in that, and they move that D-line five yards every time, that’s five yards for me.”

The message for the team has been clear from the start, according to Oakes.

“‘Contagious’ is the mindset of coach Roquemore since he’s gotten here,” says the state’s rushing leader in Class 1A Public. “I guess everybody’s just now hearing about it. That’s what winning does…that mindset that he’s always brought here with that contagious attitude, it’s just brought everyone closer together.”

While gathering 4 wins in the first 6 weeks is a great step for this program, the goals are much larger for the Indians.

“We’ve hit the reset button each Monday,” exclaims Roquemore. “We spend a little time finishing up the Friday before, but then we…reset. They’ve done a good job of that. If you watch our play, there’s not really been a moment that has overwhelmed us. When you’re doing that, you’re giving yourself a good chance to be successful.”

The players agree.

“We just take it one week at a time,” states Gillis. “But one of these weeks, we’d like to put a shutout on the board.”

The Indians played host to the Commerce Tigers Friday night in a pivotal region matchup just following this feature interview.

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