2. This season, you were ranked No. 2 in preseason, then got blown away in consecutive games to Hapeville Charter and Rockmart. Not sure a team has ever reached the championship game after losing two 30-point games to teams in their own classification. What happened in those games, and what has changed? "We did return a lot of talent [from a team that lost 28-21 to eventual champion Hapeville last year]. Our kids thought we were just going to pick up where we left off and that hard work didn't come before it. When you lose two early like we lost, the coaches go back and look at everything. You're turning over every rock to see what's wrong and what's right. Had we not played that tough schedule, we might've won and those issues would've still existed and not been addressed. We had to make personnel changes. We sat down with every kid and talked with them on an individual basis. How we prepare had to change. It doesn't start on Friday. The kids had to understand and buy into that. When we walked off the field against Rockmart, there was nothing more humbling than to play a half and then tuck our tails and go home. [Trailing 33-0 and with three starters injured, Barron chose not to wait out another weather delay. The second half was not played.] Our kids are prideful, and that was humbling. We knew things had to change. It started with how we attacked practice. We tried to get a little better each week, and our chemistry started coming back together. If we'd played a soft schedule, we wouldn't be here today."
3. Heard County was 1-19 in the two seasons before you came in 2002. What do you think you and your staff have done that not only turned the program around immediately, but sustained that success with seven region titles? "One, they were talented when we came here. They had a lot coming back from the previous year. The second thing, the coach they had prior, the transition that he gave me was unheard of. When I walked in the door, he gave me a notebook with a layout on every kid. He made it super easy for me coming into a place where I didn't know anybody. Sure, he was disappointed the previous season didn't go well, but he didn't get to hire all the people that I got to hire. Heard County allowed me to bring in everybody that I wanted. Being a head coach, you're only as good as those that work for you. We had a favorable schedule early in the [first] season, and coming off an 0-11 finish, when we started winning, we could've told the players anything and they would've done it. And now each year, it's setting a tradition. Our kids know the guys behind them were successful, and we always talk about leaving it better than we found it. Every kid that played before and every coach before are a part of where we are now, no doubt. [The previous head coach, Lance Taylor, has been a teacher at Heard County for 25 years. He's currently the department chair of social studies. Barron's offensive coordinator Randall Curbow and defensive coordinator D.J. Curbow are brothers. The three grew up together in Mableton, where they were next-door neighbors. See more on their relationship below.]