I have a feeling that many teams and coaching staffs that played Woodstock had this happen to them as well.Woodstock knocked off 5A powers Norcross and Walton, then taking eventual state champion Camden County to the wire before losing late in the 4th quarter.
Coach did you get the feeling teams took you guys light and didn't realize how good of team you had until it was too late?
Coach O'Brien-" I think that was one of the main things that saved us, because of that. Just like we did at Valdosta we have been working in the weight room to get our kids quicker and faster. This group of kids bought in on it. Having them believe in what we do is something that made our job easier as coaches. I think it was our team speed that surprised people once we got into games."
Coach what was it like coaching a player like Duran Cristophe?
Coach O'Brien-" The main thing with him was he took coaching. He is a very coachable kid and great young man on and off the field. He is still a baby in football terms, but he is huge. I expect him to be 6'8" before his playing days at North Carolina State are over with. He is very agile and athletic to be that big. His best playing days are ahead of him."
What was the message to your kids going into the Camden county game?
Coach O'Brien -" We told them the same thing we told them when we had to go on that run to win four games just to get into the playoffs and that was take it play by play and quarter by quarter. We told them to have fun and the main thing we stressed was don't be afraid to lose. If you are scared to lose then you will be too tight to win. I told them if we lose we lose, but we are going to get after them every play and see what happens I know our kids went into that game thinking they were going to win."
What was it like winning those first two on the road vs Walton and Norcross?
Coach O'Brien_" We beat Walton and NOBODY gave us a chance in that game. Then we beat a very athletic team in Norcross and kids were very excited to go play at Camden County. We took a very large crowd all the way down there. Me and my wife talked about how you could not only see the excitement in the kids, but the parents face as well. That was a good feeling for us."
Coach you came to a team that had lost 26 games in a row six years ago and now you will be consider a threat to win every game. How did you and your staff do that?
Coach O'Brien-" From day one when we arrived we told our kids that our goal every year is to win the state championship. Now these kids had lost 26 games in a row looked at us funny. I even had a few asked me about how that could be our goal when we have not won a game in 2 years. I told them if I didn't coach them to win a state championship then I am short changing you. I actually talked to my seniors after this season and asked them if they thought we would ever win a state championship and I asked them to be honest with me. They told me that they always thought that it would be difficult to win one at Woodstock , but after that Camden County game they know it can be done here."
After speaking with Coach O'Brien I sensed it in his voice that he truly thinks this way as well.