When Chris Medlin took over as Forestview's head football coach in 2007 after two years as an assistant, he inherited a program coming off a winless 2006 campaign.
Less than two years later, Medlin's Jaguars are the story of the Big South Conference. After opening the 2008 season with two losses, Forestview has run off five straight victories, including their first two conference games, as they headed into a first-place showdown at South Point on Friday night.
No matter what the result at South Point is, the Jaguars look like a factor again in the Big South.
“The kids have worked hard, and the assistants have worked hard,” Medlin said. “It's been enjoyable, and we're starting to see some benefits of that work.”
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Forestview has won games in almost every way imaginable. The streak started against Kings Mountain, when the Jaguars trailed 20-7 with four minutes left. But they rallied and won the game on a Jarkeevus Alexander touchdown with 12 seconds left.
That was followed by dominating shutout victories over Waddell and Burns. But Oct. 3 was the game that made other teams take notice. Forestview went to Boiling Springs to face perennial powerhouse Crest, where a 31-yard, Matthew Florence field goal on the final play gave the Jaguars a 21-20 victory.
Last week, Forestview won its fifth straight, dominating North Gaston for a 45-0 win.
“As coaches, we always say you have to play until the final whistle blows, but you wonder if kids believe that,” Medlin said. “The way we've won games, the players saw that things can turn if you continue to fight and play hard each play.”
Offensively, the Jaguars have been led by Alexander. The senior has 819 yards rushing and has 12 touchdowns on the season through seven games. But Forestview has depth in the backfield as Darion Hancock, Kevin Jeter and Nathan Anderson all have made significant contributions, and junior quarterback Jonathan White has been consistent running the offense.
Balance is something that Medlin stresses, and he believes it has been a key to Forestview's recent success.
“Most of the games, we have been solid in all three phases (offense, defense and special teams). Every win is a team win, and it seems we've played better each week.”
Medlin said he has also noticed a difference around the community, where people are excited and getting behind the Jaguars. But despite the excitement, Medlin and his staff won't let the Jaguars get full of themselves.
“We're not good enough that we can just go out there and expect to win. If we look ahead, we're in trouble, and I like how the kids have competed and played hard every week.”