Miller Grove’s Hannah among new coaches with win in opening game

Miller Grove coach Lee Hannah said he’s rather win ugly than lose pretty. He can laugh about that now after his Wolverines gave him a victory in his first game as their head coach.

“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but that doesn’t matter,” Hannah said. “What matters is these kids got out there and competed. We challenged them and they answered the challenge.”

Hannah is one of nine new head coaches in Class AAAAA this season. Miller Grove beat Redan 18-12 when Ashton Waters threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Williams with 7:27 remaining. Hannah opted to go for it there on fourth-and-goal.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take chances,” Hannah said. “It sure was a nailbiter.”

There were plenty of good things for Miller Grove to build around. Shawn Collins returned the opening kickoff for an 83-yard touchdown. Jahdiel rushed 16 times for 80 yards and scored on a 29-yard touchdown run. Waters rushed seven times for 73 yards.

“We challenged our kids to find a way to run the football and we were able to,” Hannah said.

But the biggest play may come from the Miller Grove defense. The Wolverines had a four-play goalline stand at the 1 with about 12 minutes remaining.

“Our defensive philosophy is to make them go the distance,” Hannah said. “We gave up eight big plays (15 yards or more) but they kept battling and found a way. We tell them, ‘Be Hungry, Be Humble.’ That’s the way we try to play.”

Winning Debuts

Veterans was impressive in a 31-0 whipping of Upson-Lee, making Milan Turner a winner in his debut. … Robert Davis, the former Georgia and NFL star, took Riverwood to a 48-14 win over Chattahoochee. … Rodney Hackney, who is beginning his second stint at Riverdale, enjoyed a successful return in a 39-0 win over North Clayton. … Thomas County Central's Ashley Henderson watched his team dominate Early County 33-7.

Losing Debuts

Jamie Fox, the new coach at Harris County, lost his opener against Carver Columbus 20-16. Grady coach Kevin Clark saw his team drop a 20-7 decision to North Atlanta.

Waiting 

Two others will make their debut this week: Pete Fominaya will make his debut with Hiram at Harrison and Robert Andrews at Walnut Grove will open at home against George Walton.