Achievement will be long remembered

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pleasant Home head football coach Robert Bradford described his team’s berth in the playoffs this season as an achievement that will long be remembered.

The Eagles finished their season with a 5-6 record, and fell to Sweet Water in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

“It was really awesome to be honest,” Bradford said of getting into the playoffs. “That was the first time a team that I’ve been a head coach for made the playoffs.”

The last time Pleasant Home made the playoffs was in 2006, under former head coach Jimmy Reeves. Reeves is now the assistant principal at Opp High School, and is the head softball coach at OHS.

Additionally, Bradford said making the playoffs was more special for the seniors this year.

“The seniors worked their tails off, and set off achieving the goals they set to achieve,” he said. “Five-and-six is one of those special years that we’ll look back on down the road.”

The road Pleasant Home traveled down to get to its berth wasn’t an easy one. The Eagles were in Class 1A, Region 2 with powerhouses Brantley and McKenzie; and also had Kinston, Florala, Georgiana, J.F. Shields and Geneva County.

Bradford said there were two games that really stick out in his mind that helped his team become successful.

The first game was a close 38-34 loss to Kinston, and the second game was a 26-6 loss to Brantley.

“Us and Kinston both scored in the high 30s, and it was a really good, competitive game,” he said. “Even though we fell short in that game, I still felt like we played really well.

“I think the defining game of the season for us was when Brantley came to Pleasant Home,” he said. “We went into the locker room tied 6-6 with Brantley (at halftime).

“Our players’ demeanor changed, and they realized that we can compete with these guys,” he said.

After that, the Eagles went on a three-game winning streak against Georgiana, J.F. Shields and Geneva County. Pleasant Home beat Georgiana 38-36, J.F. Shields, 47-34 and Geneva County, 28-14. After the Geneva County game, Pleasant Home secured the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.

But all along, Bradford said he knew his team was “capable” of making the playoffs.

“I don’t know that I knew we were going to make the playoffs,” Bradford said. “I think we were capable of making the payoffs. If you can play with Brantley, you can play with anybody.

“I know Brantley exited the playoffs in the first round this year, but they weren’t beat up like they were when we played them,” he said. “They were a really good football team when we played them. Our kids — even though we lost — it wasn’t a disappointment, it was more of a shock that we can play with somebody like that.”

Bradford re-iterated that it was the seniors true grit that helped his team get back to the playoffs this season.

“The group of seniors we had this year, they really wanted it,” Bradford said. “They made things happen to get there. All of the big games (against Georgiana, J.F. Shields and Geneva County) we had to play to get in the playoffs were the best games we’ve played all year.”