November 27, 2009 8:49:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
REFORM, Ala. -- Big plays don''t bother Scott Marchant.
Mistakes don''t faze him, either.
While some coaches like to show their emotions on the sidelines, the Pickens County High School first-year football coach prefers to remain as impassive as possible on the sidelines.
His goal is to set a focused example for his players so they don''t get too high or too low in a game and lose sight of what they have to do on the next play.
"Getting too excited or too upset, just like in life, can become a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone," Marchant said.
There hasn''t been much that has tripped up Marchant and the Tornadoes this season. At 7 tonight, they will try to take another step closer to their goal when they take on Reeltown in the semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs.
The winner will advance to play the winner of the Lamar County-Clay County game in the state championship at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Marchant served last season as defensive coordinator at Pickens County for Patrick Plott. He said the transition from assistant coach to head coach hasn''t been a big one when it comes to on-the-field duties, but he said there are plenty of new things he has had to manage. In addition to being the school''s athletic director, Marchant also works as offensive and defensive coordinator for the Tornadoes. He credits coaches and co-workers at Pickens County High who are too numerous to mention for helping him and the program succeed this season.
"I have great coaches who help me," Marchant said. "They work really hard for these kids, and I can depend on them. It has been a lot more things on the periphery I didn''t expect, but it has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned a lot about myself and these kids. It is exciting for the team and the community for us to be doing as well as we are. We are not quite finished yet, but we''re excited to be where we are with an opportunity to play in the semifinal round. That has been the plan all year. I haven''t tried to be anything but honest with the kids. I told them they could be here if they worked hard and did things the right way, and they are and they have."
Several members of the Tornadoes'' defense said Marchant isn''t any different this season than last season. They said Marchant is a great coach who works hard to keep them prepared.
"He has stepped up his game since he got the head coaching job," senior lineman Tony Easterwood said. "When it comes time to be serious he is serious. He does his job good."
Said senior linebacker Quinton Sturdivant, "He is an excellent coach. He gets his point across. He likes to keep the team in check."
Like Easterwood, Sturdivant said Marchant doesn''t get too excited or too down in games. He said that attitude is important because it shows the players they have to play through good and bad things to reach their goal.
"He doesn''t try to point out a big play because he knows we might start getting a big head and losing focus," Sturdivant said. "He helps us out a lot. He sets the example."
Senior lineman Markeaton Sterling said another aspect of Marchant''s coaching has helped the Tornadoes be successful this season.
"He shows us he is real confident in us and he never puts us down," Sterling said. "He always tells us to go hard. That is what I like about him, he never puts anybody down."
Marchant said praise and composure are keys to his coaching philosophy because he said you can''t let things during a game dictate the next thing you''re going to do. He said he prays continually for wisdom and discernment and calmness in dire situations because he wants to do a good job for his kids.
He admits it isn''t always easy, but things have worked pretty well so far this season, so he doesn''t intend to change right now.
"I have a lot of things to juggle, but, ultimately, I am trying to do my best for these young men, this school, and this community," Marchant said. "I couldn''t do it without the coaches and all of the other people at the school who help me with my duties.
"They know we care about them. That is the old cliché. A kid, no matter what it is, once they know how much you care, they will care about how much you know. We try to use football as an example of life in that if you do things the right way and you are disciplined that good things will happen for you."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.