For East Coweta the 2016 season ended the way most season’s do, with a trip to the playoffs. In fact, the Indians made their 20 consecutive appearance in the state playoffs. An 8-3 record was followed by the retirement of Head Coach Steve Pardue after 3 seasons in Sharpsburg. The search for a new head coach ended in Snellville , the city where “everybody is somebody “. To say that John Small is somebody is an understatement. He led South Gwinnett to the playoffs 6 times in the 12 seasons , most of the time playing in a region that included Brookwood, Parkview and Grayson.
Coach Small is happy with his new opportunity at East Coweta, and for the chance to continue to compete in the state’s largest classification (AAAAAAA), while being part of a smaller school system. “We are used to playing in a competitive league up in Gwinnett “,says Small. “We will be in a very competitive league here . Only having 3 schools is very different. The communities are solidly behind each school. There is a ton of support here in Coweta, with fewer schools.”
21 players from last years team have graduated, but Coach Small is not terribly concerned. Experience abounds at East Coweta with 34 seniors led by quarterback Christian Reid. ” He is just a phenomenal player, and a phenomenal young man”, says Coach Small. He is a tremendous leader with all the characteristics that you would want, and he has been on board since day one.
Like Reid, the rest of the 2017 Indians have worked hard to make a good impression on the new coach. “We’ve thrown a lot at them in a short period of time, with a new offensive scheme”, says Coach Small. “We just want to see the young men get better each day, and keep giving that great effort on the field and off the field. They have bought into our program and I feel they are excited about where we are headed.”
Of course, it’s never too soon to start talking about the annual showdown with Newnan. It is one of the peach state’s greatest high school grudge matches. This years game will be played at East Coweta on November 3. This will be John Small’s first time being a part of the game Coweta lives with 365 days a year. For now the new coach is trying to keep things in prospective. “There is a lot of talk about it.. It’s great for the county and for the schools, but we can’t make it the main focus for the season. It’s a big game, but it has to be the next game because win or lose you want it to be on the way to the playoffs .” The road to a 21st consecutive playoff berth starts with the season opener at Lovejoy on Friday August 18.