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Resilient Eagles Soar to earn
State Football Runner-Up Trophy

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We also have galleries from three photographers:
Richard Harris | Malinda Bair | Ben Dodds

From the December 18, 2019 issue of The Journal
By Richard Harris
   The 2019 football season ended with the State Championship Game last Saturday, but before rushing into the details of the latest game, let's look at the big picture. What's the best way to sum up the season?
   Resilience. That's what Head Coach Chris Kirksey said without hesitation when asked what word best describes the 2019 Marion County High School football team, which defied the odds this year and claimed the Class A State Runner-Up Trophy.
   The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "resilience" as: 1 – the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress; 2 - an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
   Both versions of those definitions are suitable descriptors of the 2019 Eagles. The first, more technical definition came into play when they suffered physical injuries to various players. When that happened, the "next man up" took the field and played his heart out until his teammate recovered.
   However, it's the second definition that deals with handling misfortune – "adversity" as Coach Kirksey usually refers to it – that most aptly describes the team. As author P.G. Wodehouse once wrote: "There is in certain men, a quality of resilience, a sturdy refusal to acknowledge defeat, which aids them as effectively in affairs of the heart as in encounters of a sterner and more practical kind."
   Refusal to acknowledge defeat – that's it.
   That had to be confident enough to overcome the naysayers early on. They lost 43-28 in week four to Bleckley County, which was followed the very next week by a hard-to-take whipping by Manchester, 43-14, with starting quarterback Trice McCannon sidelined by injury. They were suddenly 3-2. Their chance to repeat as region champs was gone – or so people said.
   "After the Bleckley and Manchester losses, our guys kept working hard and I think that's when everything started to happen for us," said Coach Kirksey. "We started to get better each week from that point forward."
   Yes, the Eagles kept the faith and trusted their coaches when they told them, "Just keep playing." Five games later they were presented with the Region 4A Championship Plaque for the second year in a row.
   They had to have ... The rest of the story.

For Photos of the MCHS Band
Playing at the State Title Game