0

'Emotional' beginning

Charles Truitt's Monroe Tornadoes will begin the 2013 prep football season by facing dear friend and Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, whose program recently suffered an unthinkable tragedy recently when three of its players were killed in a car accident.

Charles Truitt's Monroe Tornadoes will begin the 2013 prep football season by facing dear friend and Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, whose program recently suffered an unthinkable tragedy recently when three of its players were killed in a car accident.

ALBANY --- The start to the 2013 prep football season could be a somber one come Aug. 30.

That’s when a Brooks County team that has suffered so much unimaginable pain this offseason will face Monroe in its first game of the year at Hugh Mills Stadium, according to the Dougherty County athletic office’s final revision of the 2013 schedule it released Friday.

The kick off will mark a little less than two months since the Trojans lost three members of their football team in a car accident near the high school in early July. And the names of the those fallen players — Jicarre Watkins, Johnie Parker and Shawn Waters — will be on everyone’s minds.

Including Monroe’s.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them every day. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about what happened,” Monroe coach Charles Truitt said Friday. “It’s going to be an emotional game for them after what happened to those kids. Their kids are close-knit, and I’m sure they’ll dedicate their season to (the players who died). I’m sure we’ll be emotional, too. It will be hard for everyone, but they’ll come out energized.

“So we have to, too.”

This meeting will mark the fourth season in a row Truitt and Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman will face off in what’s turned into a recurring high-caliber, non-region contest.

And if No. 4 is anything like Nos. 1-3, it could be both a tearjerker and a barnburner.

The last three meetings have been decided by an average of seven points — all Brooks win — including last year’s 21-18 last-second Trojans victory that Truitt, nor anyone who follows the Tornadoes, will soon forget.

“That was the Hail Mary game,” recalled Truitt, who sounded like he was still trying to get over the 40-yard prayer with seven seconds left that found its way over the Tornadoes’ defense and into the hands of a Trojans’ receiver to steal a three-point win en route to a perfect regular season. “It’s always a great game when we play. We just haven’t been able to close games against them.”

Brooks County, which reached the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs last year, is coming off its first undefeated regular season in school history. And Truitt feels that when you add up all that will be in play the evening of Aug. 30, it will be even tougher than usual for his program to get its first win in the recent history of the series.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotions. I haven’t spoken with (Brooks County coach) Maurice Freeman yet, but I know he got my messages because he sent out an e-mail to everyone he hasn’t been able to get back to — thanking us for our thoughts and concern — because he’s had so much going on,” said Truitt, who describes Freeman as a dear friend. “I’m sure we’ll talk before the game, and I’ll let him know me and my players have been thinking about them and keeping them in our prayers.”