North Forsyth football is trending upward after first year under Blair

Jay Blair is turning the North Forsyth football program in the right direction.

North Forsyth football is trending upward after first year under Blair
November 21
01:00 2019

Since the first day he took over the program, Jay Blair’s goal has been to not only improve North Forsyth’s performance on the football field, but also in the classroom and community.  

The Vikings finished the regular season with a 4-7 record, which are three more victories than the team had in the previous two seasons combined. The motto for this staff has been “Reclaim the North” and the Vikings look to be well on their way.

“The players started believing more in themselves and more in a team philosophy, which carried over to the school,” said Blair about how his team matured throughout the season. “You started hearing a little bit of buzz and excitement in the school concerning the football program as a whole. You started to see guys step up and be leaders.”

All four of the victories for the Vikings came in conference, which almost earned North Forsyth a playoff spot. They lost three games this season by a total of 7 points.

“This season set the tone and precedent for the guys to follow the seniors we have,” he said. “Coach (Bernard) Williams has been saying one thing since the beginning of our tenure, which was ‘these guys are going to be bridge builders’ and they have done a great job of constructing that bridge on solid foundation for these young men that follow them to continue to build upon.”

Blair credits his seniors for “taking on the challenge” he presented to them, which spread to the rest of the varsity team. He felt once the younger players saw what the expectations were, they fell in line with that.

“This is a testament to those 13 seniors that I am graduating and the work they put in. As hard as it was to go to a system set up like mine was, those guys did a great job of taking it on and not folding and showing the younger guys how to do things,” he continued.

Success for Blair was not measured in wins and losses, he said. Instead, success for him would be in how many of his players became better men and he feels as though they achieved that goal.

“This season was a great success to me personally, because I have guys now that have attainable aspirations to do things beyond high school, may it be Forsyth Tech, an associate’s degree, or go to a university right away,” Blair said. “That’s what my purpose is for these young kings and that’s the direction I want to take this program in, and we took a great step towards that this year.”

For Blair, there are too many memories from this season to recall, but for him the first victory of the year stands out the most, not because it was his first one, but because it fell on the same day as his brother’s birthday. Blair’s brother was murdered in 1992. 

“I went to Marquez Hurst before the game and I said, ‘Quez, I need this one,’ but I didn’t tell him why,” Blair said about the moments before the game. “I just said I needed this one, because it’s important to me to give to somebody and he looked me in my eyes and said, ‘Coach, we got you.’ He didn’t say, ‘I got you.’ He said, ‘We got you’ and that right there let me know that this was more about the team than it was me and I couldn’t have asked for a better present to give in the memory of my oldest brother than that right there.”

Moving forward, the plan for Blair is to simply “get better,” he said. This will be his first full offseason with his program, so he is expecting his players to have a better understanding of what he wants to see on the field.

“We just want to build on what we did and build upon the success we had,” he said. “We are going to go back to the basics, and it helps that they already know what we are doing, because they can pick it up faster so we can teach the other nuances of those specific things we are doing.”

As far as the motto “Reclaim the North,” Blair feels his program is “still on the way” to getting there.  

“For what my seniors did for themselves, for this team and for this community, they have accomplished that,” he said. “They have accomplished the ideals of Reclaiming the North for them. What they did, they left a great foundation for the next class to take what they did further. We are always going to reclaim more than what any individual or team expected from us.

“Like I said before, Reclaiming the North is not just on the football field, it’s in the classroom, it’s in the community, it’s amongst this whole north side of town that have strong ties to North Forsyth High School. So, did my 13 seniors complete their quest to Reclaim the North? Yes, they did. But my rising seniors have not yet, so it’s up to them to do their part.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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