J.B. Arnold and Chris Hamilton each insisted the other go first after being introduced as head coaches for Border Bowl V.
Finally, Arnold made a good point. As the visiting team this time, Hamilton should go first. He agreed.
Arnold will lead Team Georgia and Hamilton will guide Team South Carolina in the fifth edition of the all-star football game that benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta.The game is scheduled for noon on Jan. 13 at Lucy C. Laney Memorial Stadium.
Both men agreed that it was an honor to be selected as head coach.
“I’m totally flattered,” said Arnold, who has been the head coach at Jefferson County for 16 years. “It’s a very high honor, considering all the coaches in the area.”
Hamilton said he was humbled.
“I’m super excited,” said Hamilton, who has been head coach at South Aiken for two years. “I know there have been a lot of good coaches before me. I’m just happy I have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Both coaches have served as assistant coaches in the Border Bowl, and both have led their schools to unprecedented success in recent years.
Jefferson County reeled off 11 consecutive wins in 2015 before falling to Fitzgerald in the Class AA semifinals.
Arnold has a record of 120-62-3 and his team has made 15 playoff appearances.
South Aiken enjoyed its best season in school history in 2016 as the Thoroughbreds reached the Class AAAA semifinals. South Aiken took South Pointe to double overtime before finally losing.
Hamilton has a record of 16-9 as head coach, and said he is looking forward to building on that success at South Aiken and coaching in the Border Bowl.
“You get to coach some kids that aren’t your kids and coach some great players,” Hamilton said. “That’s always fun.”
The Border Bowl series is tied at two wins for each side after South Carolina held off Georgia, 22-20, in Border Bowl IV.
“The only thing I know how to do is work hard,” Arnold said.
“We’ll go out and try to find a great coaching staff, go out and try to find great players, and try to bring it back.
“It’s gotten to be a pretty good rivalry and I think it’s interesting that it’s tied after four years. I think that speaks a lot about both South Carolina and Georgia.”
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337