Seminole County quarterback Alex Fudge (No. 7) lines up under center during a game earlier this season. Fudge and the Indians are 11-0 and will host Charlton County tonight in the Class A quarterfinals as they try to advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history. (Donalsonville News/Special to The Herald)
DONALSONVILLE — A slew of folders in Seminole County High School football coach Alan Ingram’s office has multiple pages of notes the coach has used to break down opponents from his 40 years of coaching.
His folder for tonight’s opponent — Charlton County — is overflowing. Dating back to Ingram’s days as an assistant at Miller County, he has battled Charlton County on many occasions.
He will get another dose tonight when the two teams meet in the Class A public school quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Top-seeded Seminole County will be seeking its first trip to the state semifinals in school history.
Ingram can tell you about playing against Charlton when it had an All-American named Champ Bailey, who went on to a standout career at Georgia and starts at cornerback for the Denver Broncos.
“We’ve played (Charlton) a bunch of times,” Ingram said. “But very few times have been in the regular season. When I was at Miller, Charlton was our nemesis. It was either Charlton or Macon County in those days.”
After breaking down this week’s tape of Charlton’s Indians, tonight’s opponent has a running back that may remind Ingram of Bailey. In last week’s 35-21 victory over Commerce, Charlton sophomore Andrew Lee rushed for 332 yards and scored three touchdowns, the second highest total in school history behind Bailey’s 417-yard effort against Atkinson County in 1995.
With Ingram having coached against Charlton County coach Rich McWhorter several times in the past two decades, Ingram joked that he may know their offense better than McWhorter.
“I probably could call plays (for his team) as well as he could … but he doesn’t know my plays,” Ingram joked. “We have two opposite ideas. We are going to pound you a little. He’s a little more of a finesse. He’s going to rear back and give it to his athletes.”
Charlton (7-4) plays in Region 2-A and will be the third opponent from that region Seminole County (11-0) has played this season. Seminole defeated Turner County 49-0 and Clinch County 21-14. The victory over Clinch was a big reason Seminole was able to land the top spot in the Class A public school rankings and the top seed in the playoff bracket.
Charlton County lost to Region 2-A champion Clinch on Oct. 25.
However, Ingram knows Charlton will be a stern test for his team.
One thing that hasn’t helped is high ankle sprains to wingbacks Robert Speight and Danny Rambo Jr., who suffered the injuries late in the season.
“We just don’t have the outside speed that we had earlier in the season,” Ingram said. “We feel like we can run. Last week, we were so banged up that we didn’t know who’d be able to go for us.”
Regardless of what happens, it has been a season in which Seminole has overachieved, capturing the region title in what many considered to be a young and inexperienced team. Then compiling an unbeaten regular season was a key goal.
However, Seminole doesn’t want it to end tonight.
“I believe in my kids,” Ingram said. “I always have. I don’t want this to sound cocky, but in my 43 years of coaching, I can count on one hand the times where I felt we were beaten before we got on the field. Our kids will be ready to play.”