Washington-Wilkes County Tigers overcome heavy losses during pandemic season

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 6:53 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Last week, Washington-Wilkes County High won its first playoff game since 2017. The Tigers have been on a roll this season, winning nine out of their first 10 games.

But their biggest loss of the season came off the field when a freshman football player was shot and killed last week.

“TIGERS RALLY TOGETHER AFTER TRAGEDY” was the headline after the shooting, and ever since then, the Tigers have been trying to channel the pain from that loss and use it to fuel them the rest of the way.

“We needed each other last week. There’s no question,” head coach Sid Fritts said.

In a season where everyone has been affected by COVID-19, Washington-Wilkes has been through more than most:

A GBI investigation led to coach T.C. Jay resigning in June and offensive line coach Fritts, who unretired from coaching because he was looking for something to do, was named head coach.

Virus delays may have been a blessing in disguise, as the team had more time to learn from a new coach.

“It was the longest training camp that I can ever remember before we got to play a real game,” Fritts said. “Our kids came out hungry. They took the field the first game and played like a hungry team.”

The Tigers continued that momentum through the season, winning their first 7 games of the year.

They lost their first game of the season on Nov. 13 to Commerce.

A week and a half later, they would lose again. This time a teammate, a freshman who was shot and killed.

“It knocked us down. There’s no question. For two days, we were big-eyed and heavy hearts,” Fritts said.

The Tigers were able to focus and get a decisive win on the road against Taylor County. And Fritts says, they’re taking nothing for granted.

“I think our kids are still trying to tell the story,” Fritts said.

The Tigers have about a three-hour road trip Friday where they’ll face Bowdon for a spot in the quarterfinals.

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