Four Questions with Walton coach Daniel Brunner
Daniel Brunner, Walton
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “It is all about the Jimmies and Joes! The X’s and O’s and chemistry matter, but if the talent is not there, teams will struggle.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “Chandler Smith is currently a senior on our team. He is missing a pectoral muscle and is partially deaf in one ear yet excels at whatever he is doing. He always goes above and beyond, whether it’s having a group of guys catching balls before school or going out of his way to make sure our manager has a ride home. He is a tremendous football player and an even better young man! His junior season, he had seven TD catches and four interceptions. We call him the Chanimal because he attacks everything in life! He carries a 4.0 GPA and is a Scholar-Athlete recipient, a team council member and a member of the National Honor Society.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “In 2010 when I was coaching at Roswell, we played at Lassiter for the region championship and we were both 9-0 going into the game. There was standing-room-only and they had to allow fans out on the track, which ended up being quite the experience. Hutson Mason helped carry Lassiter to victory, but this was a great experience for our boys. The atmosphere was electric and what high school football is all about.
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “My last high school game at Roswell playing for Tim McFarlin in 2001. We lost to Parkview in the playoffs during their record-setting run. Two of our best players – both D-I, one was a Super Bowl champion – did not play due to injury. We still knew we would win! We lost by three and had a chance with a last-second field goal that just missed. We had a very close group and experienced a lot of success together from middle school all the way up. It was a disappointing loss and a game I will never forget!”
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