Lyons, GA – November 29, 2023 | Head Coach Buddy Martin | Article by Matt Lynn
If you cried your eyes out or beat your chest with pride on that cold November 24th night, you are a DOG. Proud emotions surged for a team that wasn’t supposed to see that type of success. The hurt was real for the kids who busted it for themselves and each other, only to fall just short of a semifinal round and potential State Championship opportunity.
Football was different this season in Toombs County. It has always been exciting, but the discipline and ethics of this team were contagious. Friday evening plans to attend the game turned into leaving work early and getting the kids ready because the Dogs were kicking off in a few hours. How did the Dogs become this force? How did they defy all odds of preseason predictions and become the #4 ranked team in Class AA? The answer lies in what I call the “it” factor, embodied by Head Coach Buddy Martin. A very humbled, confident, and above all, a Godly man. The kind of leader that kids want to follow, and the kind of man you want coaching and leading your kids.
And as any great General, you are only as good as your Lieutenants make you. Coach Martin surrounded himself with an amazing staff, and those men went to work with the boys. By midseason, the Dogs were 5-0 and dominating every team that stood across the field. It was then that I saw how the kids expected to win, almost as if they knew the mission had only one outcome. Whether the score was 0-0 or 56-0, the sideline remained steadfast. There were different heroes every week, and nobody complained about who the star was at any given time.
So yes, it was different—like a championship team that had been there before. After the huge 31-28 win over Appling County, I interviewed Coach Martin as I did every week after the game. I was as excited as he was about the upset, but during his interview, he said three words that made me refocus from what I was seeing to what the mission was. Coach Martin said, “This is not an upset, WE BELONG HERE!” And he meant every word. At the time, it was the highest-ranked team Toombs County had beaten. That was until they went to the Brickyard and defeated the #1 team in the state and defending state champions.
The standard has been set. Future Dogs will now know that there is an expectation when wearing the Blue and Red on Friday Night. You are not just a teammate; you’re a brother. And for the record, I cried and beat my chest with pride. I’m still excited for those kids and their futures.
Accomplishments of the 2023 Season:
- 2023 Region Champions
- #4 AJC Ranking
- Only team to beat #1 and #2 in Class AA
- School record for points in a season (486)
- School record for points scored in a game (64)
- Record for points per game (37.4)
- 4th best points against (12.9)
Multiple players set and broke many individual records, but we want to release those when the All-Region Teams and All-State Teams are announced.
There is never a better time than now to #BeADOG.