Bulldogs Already Succesful, But Preparing for Long Stretch Run

Marianna, FL---It's already been a year to remember for the Marianna boy's basketball team. A 20-1 record, undefeated in 4A district one, the top seed in the district tournament already locked up.

Now, as the schedule winds down, the Bulldogs need to decide if they want to turn a memorable season, into an historic one.

You can sum up why the Marianna Bulldogs are dominating with just four words. Be humble. Stay hungry. A mantra that most 16 and 17 year olds don't choose to live by.

"Surprisingly," says head coach Travis Blanton "this group of kids is just mature beyond their years in that area, They just kind of take things in stride."

That doesn't mean that while running over their competition, they don't have fun doing it. Guard Herman Williams puts it this way.

"We clown on each other a lot, but it's a lot of fun being a part of this team. people don't know the work we put in, but when we go out in public we just try to have fun."

Guard Jamel Johnson agrees with that statement. "We know when to jack around, when to have fun, when to be serious, and when to take it serious. We know when it's time to play and not to."

After winning their first 18 games, the Bulldogs took their first loss at Rutherford this past Saturday. But for Coach Blanton, that's not a bad thing.

"You need to go through some adversity, because adversity reveals character. We need to go through it before the playoffs get here, but we're just trying to take them one at a time and just take each moment as it comes and just try to continue to get better."

As to where these Bulldogs could rank amongst Marianna's best of all time, that's still a question to be answered says Blanton.

"They got a lot of potential. It's about performance, not potential. But I think they could possibly rank up there with some of the best. The two final four teams up on the wall, some of the sweet sixteen teams, but I think this team's potential is really, really high."

For the players, they're ready to make history. But not ready to rush ahead to it.

"Last year, we went to district, lost in the first round. We're not trying to let that happen this year." says Williams.

"I mean, we haven't competed for a district championship since my eighth grade year." says Johnson. "We just want to bring something to this school; something they can remember us by."

"We want to go as far as God will take us. Hopefully win state. We trying to take it one game a time."

Marianna back at Friday at home against West Florida. As it happens the Bulldogs get the advantage of hosting their district tourney early next month.


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