4 Questions With Thomasville Football Coach Zach Grage
We spoke with Thomasville football coach Zach Grage about his team’s great 3-0 start to the season and their huge comeback victory over Cairo.
Q: Coach Grage, Thomasville has enjoyed a long history of great football, but there were some rough patches before your arrival. What has been your plan in turning things around?
A: The plan was to get all involved with Thomasville football excited again. The roster I was handed when we took the job in February of 2016 had 42 players on it. This year, we finished the summer with 104.
The tradition here is unmatched, and the community support is second to none. Folks who had a part in the earlier success of the program genuinely want to see it back on top, and their actions back it up. We consistently have alumni and coaches come back to talk to the players, watch practice, or just be around to add to the nostalgia, and they are always welcome!
Thankfully, with the support of our administration, we have been able to hire fantastic coaches, keep them here, and make this a program people want to be a part of. That has to include managers, trainers, filmers, support staff, parents, and stakeholders.
Finally, and most importantly, there are great kids in this town who love Thomasville. We just had to help them find it again.
Q: Your team is off to a really good start with a couple of big victories, including Brooks County and cross-town rival TCC (Thomas County Central). Where does this team rank among your other good teams?
A: We have all been extremely proud of the members of the Thomasville program this season, starting off 3-0 with amazing wins over Brooks County, TCC, and Cairo. I definitely will not be the guy who tries to rank this team among those I have been a part of this early in the season, but I will say this is a special group.
Lead by 24 seniors, most of whom are four-year members of the program that grew up coming to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday nights, they definitely understand what it takes to be successful and are working to be the best they can be in everything they do.
There is no doubt that the wins to lead off the 2021 season are great for the program and for these players to be able to talk about the rest of their lives, as everyone remembers the War on 84 (Brooks), Rose City Rumble (TCC), and the Battle for the Syrup Pitcher (Cairo) for a long time. But if we rest on our laurels and go 3-7, I think folks may forget about how it all started. I will say I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds for the 2021 Dogs.
Q: Your most recent win over Cairo was one of the best comeback victories in the state, with your team down by three touchdowns at one point. What was the message to your team?
A: The comeback this Friday against Cairo had zero to do with my message to the team, but more to do with their message to me and, even more importantly, to each other. There’s not a secret talk or a special explanation about how to get high school kids to respond.
I will say that our leaders stepped up, held their peers accountable, never lost faith, and exuded the energy and attitude they are challenged to bring to every aspect of their lives. This is a testament to everyone involved with Thomasville football, as great body language and positive energy are requirements to get in the field house. No energy vampires!
We do our best to preach 1-0 in everything we do: brushing our teeth, getting dressed, dominating a test, personal relationships, practice, and, finally, every piece of a game. I’m so proud and blessed to be a small part of a group of men, players, and coaches alike who have bought in and truly love each other.
Q: If you could point to one thing that your team is doing really well, then one thing that you feel your team needs to work on, what would they be?
A: One thing our players are doing very well is going all out for the Diamond T. Our team is made up of zero stars (ask all the recruiting gurus, with whom I respectfully disagree), but a hundred kids who love coming to work and playing football.
Every year the pride of programs around the state becomes more and more watered down with the transient nature of players, coaches, and community support. Our guys have grown up coming to games, watching their family members play, and know nothing else besides what the Diamond T means to the people in this amazing town.
We just need to work on getting better every day, staying humble, continuing to mold our identity as a team, and push each other to crush life, being great and happy!
Written by: Phil Jones