Pre-Playoff Interview with Coach Wright

Coaches – Community Proud of the Dawgs by James Phillips

DORA — After taking over a team that had finished 2-28 in three years, Dora head coach Johnny Wright has to chuckle when he thinks about his Bulldogs turnaround to an 11-0 record this season.
In 2001, Wright’s first season in Dora, the Bulldogs began a small turnaround by finishing with a 4-6 record. This season, Wright knew Dora had a chance to be a playoff team, but he never imagined the Bulldogs would head into the second round of the playoffs with an 11-0 record and a No. 4 ranking.
“We didn’t expect this,” Wright said. “It takes a lot of things to happen before you make it through the regular season unbeaten. We knew we had a chance to win every game after looking at the film of our opponents, but you can never really expect it to happen. Our guys have showed the leadership and unity it takes to do something special.”
The transformation from the basement to the penthouse didn’t happen overnight. Before teaching football, the Dora coaching staff began teaching pride. After two wins in three years, pride was something the Dora program was lacking.
“You can preach all you want to at kids,” Wright said. “We wanted to show them by example. From the start, our coaching staff has taken pride in this program. We wanted our facilities to be the best they could be. It may not be the best stadium in the state, but we make sure it is clean and the grass stays cut. We make sure our coaching offices are always neat and in order. That’s some things that weren’t happening here before and as little as they may seem, kids pick up on things like that.”

After the Bulldog program found its pride, it all came down to work ethic. Wright said the players work ethic surprised him and his staff.
“They had gone through three really bad years before we got here,” Wright said. “We didn’t know what to expect when it came time for these kids to work. They worked hard from the beginning and they deserve all the credit for what they’ve done. We are just coaches. Our job is to put them in the right place. The players are the ones who go out there and get it done on the field.”
Dora has remained unbeaten so far with a balanced team effort. The Bulldogs don’t have the go-to guy at the skill positions, but they do have several players Wright is confident in going to in any game situation. Running backs Steven Harrison and Chase Pierce have both passed the 900-yard mark. Sophomore quarterback Jorge Williams has thrown for more than 700 yards, and his favorite receiver Randy Parker has over 400 yards both receiving and rushing.
“We don’t have that 2,000-yard tailback that everybody wants to have,” Wright said. “We have something better, and that is a team full of guys who don’t have to be that player. These guys don’t care about personal stats for the better of the team. They do whatever it takes to get a win on the board.”
Dora is looking to rebound from a sluggish performance against Susan Moore in a 14-7 opening round win. The Bulldogs will host Central-Florence (8-3) Friday night at 7 at Horace Roberts Field.
“I’m expecting Friday’s game to be a good one,” Wright said. “I think we are two good teams. You have to be pretty good to get to this point.”

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