The Monday morning routine was getting to be a drag for Damien Upton.
Get out of bed, shower, get dressed for school. Sit in classes all day, then the drudgery of walking out the gym, onto the football practice field to play for a team mired in a 25-game losing streak.
But it's amazing what a victory did for Upton and Glenn Hills, which beat Josey 26-22 to end the third-longest losing streak in Georgia.
The Monday routine wasn't so bad this week. Upton got the high-fives from his classmates and the pats on the back from his teachers. He was just one of the many Glenn Hills players who were sick of hearing about losing football games.
"The pressure is off now. We finally got us one," Upton said. "We had like the third-longest losing streak, and we ended it. We`ve just got to go out and win some more games."
The Spartans hadn't won a varsity game since beating Westside in the 1997 season finale. Only the team's four seniors had experienced a varsity win -- until Friday night.
"When you haven't had one in as long as we had, it's good to get one," Glenn Hills coach Emmett Watkins said. "But I'm just glad to have that off our backs."
This one is special, especially the way it happened. They trailed by 10 points in the second-half to Josey and appeared headed for another loss. With a four-point deficit staring at Glenn Hills, it appeared the streak would reach 26 until Anthony Bottom recovered a Josey fumble late in the contest.
But it didn't look good on the first play. Needing to move 40 yards for the potential game-winning score, sophomore quarterback Vander Thompkins twisted his knee and headed for the sidelines.
That set the stage for Ricky Dunn, the bruising running back who took over at quarterback for Thompkins and marched the Spartans down field. In the meantime, team trainers tried to get Thompkins ready to go back into the game by taping his right ankle.
Dunn put the Spartans in scoring position, then Thompkins re-entered the game. The sophomore quarterback scored on a 5-yard run on second down to give Glenn Hills the lead for good.
"I wouldn't want to know what my feeling would have been like had we not took care of business and won that game," Watkins said. "It was getting tough, not on any outside thing but it was getting tough on me. I'm my biggest critic."
Even though the offense got most of the headlines for the victory, it was the defense that saved the game. After Thompkins' score, Josey took the ensuing possession and moved to Glenn Hills' 2-yard line before Jahmaal Santos tackled Josey's Alton Webb on the game's final play.
The celebration began with a dousing of Watkins on the sidelines.
"Everyone just went in the locker room and celebrated because we ended the streak," Thompkins said. "Now, we're fixing to start a new streak of winning."
Glenn Hills is off this week, meaning the Spartans have two weeks to enjoy their victory.
"It makes everything easy," Watkins said of the win. "I think our kids' attitudes are a lot better, and my attitude is a lot better. Definitely, it's done us a lot of good. It even made my wife's attitude a little better, too, I believe.
"You know you get smiles and congratulations (from her), and she actually talks about what's going on here. A lot of time she declines to talk about what's going on. This win was a big step and a good thing, but we still have four more games."
Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216.
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