CONYERS – The Edwards Middle School Patriots basketball team beat the odds when they defeated the Liberty Middle Knights, who were favored to win, on Feb. 8 at the NewRock Championship game. The final score was 46-37.
Previously ranked ninth out nine teams teams in their division, the odds did not appear to be in the Patriots’ favor when they went up against the Knights in the championship, who were ranked No. 1. However, the four seventh-graders and 10 eighth-graders comprising the team were able to pull together and claim victory against the Knights.
This marked the first time the Patriots have won the championship since the 2003-04 season, according to coach Dorrian Randolph.
Randolph, who teaches K-5 math at Sims Elementary and is a Boyz to Men mentor, has been coaching the Patriots basketball team for the last two seasons. Since becoming coach, he said he has worked to instill a success-driven demeanor in his players.
“I kind of wanted to change the whole attitude of the team,” said Randolph. “I just wanted to build a winning environment.”
Randolph said that the Patriots previously had a reputation for losing streaks, but since he became the team’s head coach, there has been a significant improvement in team spirit and confidence.
“I started improving morale last year, but everything came together this year,” Randolph stated.
To show respect and dignity for what they do, Randolph requires his players to dress up on their game days, wearing khakis, ties and dress shoes.
He went on to add that teachers and school staff have seen a difference in the players’ morale and achievement, with the number of behavior problems decreasing. Edwards Principal Fred Middleton complimented the team on their success and improvement.