(TEMPLE, GA) – The Temple Tigers (5-4) travel to Barnesville, Georgia Friday night to take on the Lamar County Trojans (6-3) in a win-and-your-in final regular season game in Region 5-AA Until now, the biggest win of the season for the Tigers so far was their opening effort against the playoff bound Putnam County War Eagles. Head Coach Scotty Ward’s Tigers are making a playoff run that is reminiscent of another historic Temple football team, Head Coach Seth Rogers’ 2011 Tiger squad.
The prospects weren’t too high that summer, the 2010 had finished 4-6 and lost their entire offensive backfield and most of the line to graduation. But Coach Rogers had an athletic group to build around. He had offensive weapons in senior receiver Deijohn Tyler, junior quarterback Myles Simmons and junior tailback Jermaine Hutchinson.
The offense got off to an explosive start to the season, they beat Our Lady Mercy 35-33 behind 190 rushing yards from Hutchinson. The next week he went for 185 yards in a 49-14 win over Mount Zion.
They suffered their first loss against River Ridge and then the region scheduled began with another big-time Hutchinson effort, 218 yards in a 20-12 over Kendrick. After a loss to Heard County, the Tigers faced some adversity when Hutchinson was out for the Jordan game, but Simmons picked up the offensive slack. He completed 12-of-18 for 142 yards and a touchdown. Tyler moved to Hutchinson’s tailback spot and responded with 131 yards on 7 carries.
That win left the Tigers at 5-2, one win away from setting the record for victories in a season. Playing before a home crowd, the Tigers didn’t disappoint, they were led by Hutchinson and Simmons on the way to a 42-22 victory.
“It had to be when we beat Spencer here in Temple to win the most games in school history. I will never forget our kids running into the stands to celebrate with our fans. It was a great night.”Coach Rogers in an AJC Interview about the greatest game he was a part of.
Unfortunately, that was their high-water mark. Although they had clinched a playoff spot, just the second in school history, they needed on more win avoid having to face the top ranked Buford Wolves in the first round of the playoffs. It did not come, the lost the last two games against Callaway and Carver.
The magical season come to an end against the next week.
“They were the best team I ever faced. They were well-coached and had Division I athletes all over the field.” The Tigers lost 49-13 to the eventual state runners-up.Coach Rogers said of the 2011 Buford Wolves
Rogers would later say of the 2011 team,
“That’s a special group. They made up their mind that they were going to do this differently and really changed the culture of our football team. It really started last year (2010) with that senior class we had. The credit goes to all those kids and even the kids that came before them that had to endure some tough years. We’ve always had kids that played hard, but I think ultimately the difference was that we had a group of kids that made up their mind that this was how it was going to be.”
The Tigers have twice matched the six-win total since under Coach Ward in 2016 and 2017. They could match that again with a win Friday against Lamar County and then set a new record of seven with a first-round playoff win. A great thing about history – and it continues to be written.
Rob’s Wrinkles –
1-Temple’s first varsity football team was in 1989. Led by Head Coach Mark Dillingham, they finished the season 0-8. The first win in program history was the opening game on 1990, a 12-0 win over the Fairmount Bulldogs.
2-Temple has one playoff win in their history, a 14-13 victory over Landmark Christian in 2005 under Head Coach Marty Wild. They lost in the second round that season 26-0 to Washington-Wilkes. Coach Wild is the All-Time winning coach with 31 wins.
3.Quarterback Myles Simmons threw for 815 yards and 9 TDs in 2011.
4- Deijohn Tyler finished the season with 534 yards receiving.
5-The Tigers knew they were in trouble with Buford in the first round. They had one common opponent in the regular season. The Wolves beat Carver 35-7 while the Tigers lost to Carver 42-0.
6-In the playoff game against Buford, Jermaine Hutchinson rushed for 89 yards to finish the season with 1,478 yards. He played his senior season at Villa Rica.