L-R: RYLAND STEEN (MLB) JR CHANDLER DESANTO (QB/P/CB) SR JACOB SEAGRAVES (DB/WR) JR - Photos Andy Calvert
Armuchee came agonizingly close to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2009 last season, falling by two points to Gordon Lee in a late-season game. The five wins in 2021 marked the most of an Armuchee squad since 2011 and show that the hard work the team and head coach Jeremy Green have put in over the past five years is paying off.
When asked about how Armuchee can possibly get over the hump and reach the playoffs, Green shakes his head and smiles.
“I think one of the biggest things for us is that we have to believe that we can win. A big part of having success or reaching your goals is having the feeling that you belong. We struggle with that sometimes,” he says. “That’s kind of the hill we have to climb to develop that winning attitude. If our team lives up to its core values, and we work hard and believe, the winning will take care of itself.”
Armuchee joins several local teams in the new Region 7A Division 1 after spending the past couple of years as the only Floyd County school in Class A. Floyd County programs Pepperell, Coosa, and Darlington join the Indians in the new region as well as Chattooga, Dade County and Trion.
While some other coaches speak about how competitive the new region will be, Green remains focused on what Armuchee can do.
“I’m not caught up in terms of the others team’s jerseys or seeing who our opponent is,” Green says. “We’re just going to approach it like we always have no matter who is on our schedule.”
Armuchee returns several key players from last year’s squad, and the Indians should have quite an offensive attack when the season opens.
Chandler Desanto has been starting at quarterback since midway through his freshman year, so the Indians have a quarterback with 3-plus years of starting experience.
Green mentions junior cornerback and wideout Jacob Seagraves, saying that you don’t often find 6’1” cornerbacks in high school. Green also talks about Ryland Steen, who plays linebacker and will also play running back, and big tight end Hagen Terry, who gives Desanto a big target to find.
Green also talks about Jakson Hightower, and Luke Williams and mentions that offensive linemen Logan Hunton is a quality kid who is also in the marching band as well as a two-year starter on the offensive line.
The Indians will play a solid non-region schedule facing Class 2A Gordon Central, Class 3A Gordon Lee, Class 2A Union County, and Class 4A Southeast Whitfield before opening region play on the road at Coosa.
Although the Indians are creeping closer and closer to the playoff threshold, Green still remains focused on other things.
“I try not to focus on winning. We try to focus on our core beliefs,” he says. “We really stick to our fundamental beliefs which are to do what you know is right, love our teammates and have fun. If we do those things right, then the Friday nights will take care of themselves.”
And before ending the interview, Green brings up an analogy that he likens to coaching a high school football team.
“I love the analogy of making clay pots. When you walk in and see a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel, you’re not going to say that lump of clay won’t make a good bowl,” Green says. “You just stay at the wheel, put your head down and keep modeling until you have a finished product.”
And at Armuchee, Green is doing just that, building the program with core beliefs and worrying about things beyond just winning or losing football games. Because he knows that in the end, those core values will lead to bigger things down the road.