The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
South Harrison football team continued its winning ways with a 48-13 homecoming victory over Calhoun County last Friday. The 5-0 start is the best for the Hawks in several seasons.
The Class A #2 rated squad from Lost Creek has blown out four of their five opponents in convincing fashion. Against the Red Devils they rolled up 430 yards on the ground while sporting three 100-yard rushers. The defense forced three turnovers and allowed just two scores. Coming into the contest they were only allowing a shade over six points per game.
The mastermind behind all of this success is veteran mentor Brad Jett. Jett has poured his heart and soul into this program. “I’ve been a part of this community for 32 years. The first 15 as an assistant for Coach (Gary) Barnette and 17 years as the Head Coach. Gary built a great foundation for the student athletes at South Harrison High School. He did a lot of great things for the athletes and non-athletes here and my job was to build upon that foundation,” explained Jett.
Bigger is not always better and that is the example that is provided in Lost Creek where the community rallies behind its school to provide a family feel. “We are kind of a throw back here. You drive down Main Street in West Milford and the footballs are hanging with the numbers and names of the seniors. Mr. Carter started that tradition in 2005.”
The community has always been a part of “Hawk Pride” and it has helped to bring a sense of togetherness to this proud program. “Coach Barnette did and excellent job of turning the program around here. He had several winning seasons and he made the community part of it and we have tried to continue that.”
In several recent conversations with Coach Jett I have come to realize that he is a team first coach. Unlike several head coaches around the state Jett would much rather give credit to his players or assistants before claiming the headlines. That is in every definition the proper way to lead by example.
“I’m blessed to have the staff that I have. They work extremely hard and they put a lot of hours in. When we walk out onto the field on Friday nights we feel that our kids are the best prepared in the state.”
There has always been pride in the program but in recent times renovations and upgrades have provided pride in the accommodations at Gary Barnette Field and Jett agrees, “I feel that our facilities are second to none in Class A football!”
Every program goes through ups and downs. There are some years that aren’t as good as others and that is just the nature of the game. However, a coach and his players know and appreciate the fans that stick with them no matter what the circumstances. We have had some lean years here, the last couple of years. Last year we turned the corner and things turned around. The community has always been here for our athletes.
Going back a month ago in game three of the season, followed by a nail biter with Lincoln, and most recently against Calhoun County, the place to be on Friday night is Lost Creek. “The last couple home games this place has been really rocking. It was like being back in the 80’s and 90’s when it really meant something.”
Coach Jett has always been a great decision maker, not only on the football field but off of it as well. “We are fortunate to have the community support and the school support that we have. It’s just a great place to be. I’ve raised my family here. I moved my family out here 20 years ago and it’s the best move that I have ever made.”
This team has exceptional talent and coaching. Look for a deep run in the playoffs for the Hawks.
That will do it for now. Until next week… take care and God bless!