HAMPTON — Ahead of the biggest game in Henry County since last Monday’s showdown, teams are making a few changes to what they’re doing and remembering the days of old.
Eagle’s Landing High, a school that’s been around since 1990 was only able to seat 1,100 visitors ahead of the anticipated showdown between two top county programs. However, there is an improvement for the fans to look forward to on Saturday.
With Dutchtown being built in 2004, the gym can safely seat 1,500 visitors who come in to watch the game between the Bulldogs and Eagle’s Landing. County Athletic Director Dr. Curt Miller says there isn’t a special limit on the tickets as the school will be tasked with selling their tickets.
There will also be an increased police presence for this game as well. Overall, Miller was impressed with the last game between the two teams.
“I was very impressed with both Dutchtown High and Eagle’s Landing on Jan. 6,” Miller said happily. There were many gifted players on the court that night playing at a high level.”
Looking back though Miller says that up until his seventh-grade year at Henry County Middle School, there were only two high schools in Stockbridge and Henry County (now named McDonough).
“They added Eagle’s Landing in the early 90s and eventually Union Grove High School in 2000. The rivalry between Stockbridge High School and Henry County High was very heated when they were the only two schools in the county and played for the golden ball which is still in the trophy case here in the old Henry County High lobby,” Miller said.
“Now that we have 10 high schools, it has been fun to take a step back and look at the overall success we have seen lately. With Eagle’s Landing High winning the boys title in 2013 to us having teams finish as state runners-up and several make the Final Four. The number of overall scholarships that we have in our county is also impressive and that is proof that the overall talent in basketball is at an all-time high.”
With Eagle’s Landing and Dutchtown having several games feature standing room only, it all dates to Miller’s coaching days at Dutchtown High School.
“When I was the head boys’ coach at Dutchtown High in 2007 when Stockbridge was undefeated and we were 12-2, it was standing room only at Stockbridge High School,” Miller said. “Our county has seen good basketball in the past, but I think we are entering a period as a whole that the majority of our schools are seeing a great deal of success in basketball.”
Overall sports, Henry County has 24 team state championships with the first coming in girls’ basketball in 1960. Since 2005 when Henry County High’s baseball team won a title, Henry County has had a hand in 18 of those which includes the 2013 Eagle’s Landing boys’ basketball team.
This lends to the county’s growth in athletics as teams around the county are fielding quality athletics teams district-wide.