Today's interviewee is Sprayberry coach Brett Vavra, whose team defeated eighth-ranked Dalton in a Region 6-AAAAAA game Friday. It was Sprayberry's first victory over a top-10 opponent since 2010.
Brett Vavra, Sprayberry head coach
1. What does it mean to the team to win a game against a high-profile opponent? "I believe it means we are starting to turn the corner a bit. We preach and teach 'trust' among our players and coaches. Our players are trusting the process and us as coaches. A win against a very good Dalton team will help build upon that trust and give our players the confidence they need moving forward."
2. Your defense was the first to hold Jahmyr Gibbs to around 100 yards rushing. [Statistics aren't yet official, but his previous low was 170 yards.] What did you do defensively to accomplish that? "Our defensive coaches did an outstanding job putting a plan together to allow our kids to play fast and aggressive without thinking too much. Defensive coordinator Chris Stewart put our kids in a great position all night to be successful. Jahmyr has done a great job all season of stringing explosive plays together over the course of the game, and we were able to limit him of those. Our kids did a great job of running to the football and tackling him low. Our theme for the week was to play with relentlessness, and I think our players did just that."
3. As an alumnus, you know Sprayberry's football history as well as anyone. The Yellow Jackets are almost always competitive but haven't had a team in some time that could make a deep run in the playoffs. Are there any unique challenges that Sprayberry has that you've tried to address to put them in position to get to the next level? Where do you feel you've made the most progress? "I'm not sure there are too many unique challenges that we've had at Sprayberry. We coach high school teenagers. The challenges we have here at Sprayberry are probably somewhat similar to other schools across the county. We try to instill discipline, loyalty, work ethic and selflessness because those are the qualities that help football teams achieve greatness. It is a work in progress, but I think are kids are really starting to buy in to those ideals. I believe we have made the most progress as a football program in those areas of bringing the team together and playing hard for one another."
4. About one in 10 GHSA head coaches are at their alma maters. Why do you think so many 'come home' as coaches, and what was the appeal for you to take this job? "Many head coaches go back to coach at their alma maters because of pride. I carry an extreme amount of pride for Sprayberry High School. Because I grew up in this community, Sprayberry has always been home for me. As a young player in the junior program, I looked up to high school athletes. As a player for Sprayberry, I also had an immense pride for my school, my teammates and the community. When I was offered this job, it was a no-brainer for me. I want to see all of my players at Sprayberry become successful people in life as community members, husbands and fathers. Football is the avenue for many of my players to learn these lessons in life."
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