After a 0-2 start (and a win-by-forfeit to Hopkinsville) in the fall, Nooga did not look one bit like the True South champions they've been for 4 straight years, yet we turned the corner this spring winning all 3 on the trot by healthy margins, making it into the True South finals as the #1 seed, and then winning the weekend in Gadsden to claim our 5th straight True South Championship title.
We had such a hard time in the fall grasping Coach Copper's (Jeff Bollig's) offensive scheme and along without any defensive cohesion we really weren't prepared for much as a unit. However, over winter Copper and the captains got together and we all agreed that practice had to have more reps and direction-while-learning rather than stopping-and-teaching (as we did in the fall). We came out in the spring a bit weary of the way the fall turned out but we really started grasping what Copped was trying to teach and our offense clicked on a level that Chattanooga (and the True South) hasn't been exposed to. We have always been known for our "ability to score points" but this spring was no longer just about "athletes breaking big runs" and became more about "the system creating for the team."
Defensively we focused on one-on-one tackling, pushing up from the line to place pressure on the offense, and "intentionally communicating" rather than just "communicating."
It all clicked! We were an unstoppable machine this spring as we hosted and beat Knoxville by a vast margin, traveled to Nash-Bash and worked Nashville on main stage at their own tournament, and then hosted and handled Hopkinsville to close out our season #1.
In the True South Championships down in Gadsden we matched up against Memphis on Saturday (jumping to a 26 point start, letting them fight back to 26-24, then ending 46-32 ... or something) and then we beat Birmingham (albeit only by 1 point) on Sunday to hoist our 5th straight True South Championship trophy. What a great turnaround! Even our biggest players (Pat Flynn for example) was emotional after the win and quoted saying "it's just crazy to see where we came from in the fall, to being here and winning again. What a season!"
Coach Copper gave us bracelets in the fall that stated "DEFEND THE THRONE" carrying on from our Pitch-a-Tent theme of Game of Thrones, because this is our division to defend. We are and have been the champs for a good portion of time now and yes both Knox and Nash have some great talent and changes happening in their platoons, but we still know who we are and hold ourselves to our standard.
Along with the DEFEND THE THRONE theme, we added in a great phrase that stuck with us this season which we adopted at the end of fall: "we write our own story."
Pretty self-explanatory, but we are the ones who will write our story. We will not let anyone else tell us how our season will turn out, it's up to us and we know who we are. It's time we figure this offense out, organize a defense, and turn this "dark and stormy" season into a "promise fulfilled" success story --- which is exactly what we did.
No we didn't progress past the South Championships down in Ormond Beach FL where we lost again for the 2nd year in a row to the Miami Tridents, but our personal goal for this season was to DEFEND THE THRONE, own the True South and win it out-right again, and emerge from the ashes as a different team with a new identity and presence --- and we did exactly that!
We have some older players now, but we no longer solely rely on their athleticism. Instead, with them and with the very promising younger members we abandoned our old way of doing things and implemented an entirely new system, and have set ourselves up for many more successful years to come, with or without the help of the "usual suspects."
For those of you who supported us in person, online, in spirit, financially, spiritually, verbally, whatever, we love and thank you very much! Please continue to come out as we continue to grow the program and our presence in the South.
For those who don't know us, come on out Tue/Thu (or definitely make it to Pitch-a-Tent end of July) and give us a test run. You'll find what's been missing.
Thanks for reading and playing along, i hope you enjoyed the one-off-updates
Updated 19:16 - 30 Jun 2017 by Lyall Harrison
Captain 2016/17 season