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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Four Questions with Mount Pisgah Christian coach Mike Forester

GHSF Daily asked Georgia head coaches to answer these four questions. We'll report from a different head coach each day.

Mike Forester, Mount Pisgah Christian

1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? "Building a tradition of a strong work ethic. I think this begins in the weight room in the spring and summer that carries over into the fall on Friday nights. Players need to be encouraged to achieve beyond what they think they can accomplish. Of course, with this you need coaches who understand the importance of building positive relationships with the players and know how to push in the right way. The aim is to create a tradition of hard work and an atmosphere that it is not all about me but all about the team."

2. Which player that you've coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? "The most memorable player that I have ever coached is a former Marine named Thomas Rivers. Thomas was not an outstanding player. He rode the bench most of his career. He left Briarwood [in Birmingham] and joined the Marines. He was stationed in Iraq. He went out one morning on patrol and returned back to the base. One of his buddies was sick, and he volunteered to take his place on the next patrol. While he was on patrol, he stepped on an IED and lost his life. I will always remember Thomas as the ultimate team player."

3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you've experienced away from home? "I think the greatest atmosphere I ever experienced was the 1998 Class 3A Alabama state championship at Legion Field in Birmingham. My oldest son was a senior, and my second son was a sophomore. It was the completion of a perfect 15-0 season. However, more than that was the joy of coaching my sons." [Briarwood defeated Randolph County 56-14.]

4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? "The game I would like to replay was during my first year [2012] as defensive coordinator at Mount Pisgah. We were the No. 16 seed. We were playing No. 1 Athens Academy in Athens. We led most of the game and had held Athens to one touchdown. They had a drive going during the fourth quarter and it was a fourth-down play. I had made the defensive call, but Athens called a timeout. During the timeout, I changed the call, which was a mistake. They got the first down and went on to beat us 17-13."

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