THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — The Thomasville Bulldogs last played for a state championship in 1993. They last brought one home to the Rose City in 1988. On Friday, the Bulldogs look to break that dry spell. They had quite the send-off Thursday, from a community they are proud to represent.
When Zach Grage was introduced as Thomasville's new head coach in 2016, he inherited a team coming off a one win season.
"We had to get the fan base back, we had to get the tradition back, we had to bring back some of the things to get people in the stands," he said.
The fans are back, and so is the culture. Thomasville will play in their first state championship in nearly three decades on Friday.
"All the summer workouts I've went through since the 9th grade, all the running we've been doing, and the weight room," said Ty Anderson of the work it's taken to get the Bulldogs back on top.
"I wouldn't say a struggle, just a real grind," added Jacob Tyson.
A grind that for Grage, is a credit to their focus.
"Win at everything you do in life," said Anderson. "In the classroom, on the field, or in the community. Go 1-0."
"It's what we tried to work for forever," added Grage. "We don't have to put an extra motivation on it. You go 1-0, you'll be remembered around here forever."
It's also a credit to the guys on his roster. They have no flashy rankings, they're just guys that get the job done.
"We're beating these guys that have stars next to their name," said Grage. "We just have good south Georgia kids that love football. I'd take 100 like we've got every day."
Guys that can't wait to represent where they come from, and make history.
"Everybody is rooting for us really," said Tyson. "We have to bring it back to town. We haven't won in like 33 years, so it'd be very special to bring one back to the community."
"If we can go out there and do what we do, I feel really good about it," said Grage. "It's a lot more fun riding home on a bus as a champion then dropping an L."
From one win to state champs. Not a bad turnaround.
Thomasville faces Fitzgerald, who they beat back in October, for the AA state title Friday. Kick-off is at noon.