by Russell Cooks
Coach Anthony McKissic is coming off one of the most successful years in Sandy Creek basketball history. In his first season, he led his team to within two points of making the Final Four. On top of that, every senior on the team signed a college scholarship. Now, McKissic is prepared to lead the Sandy Creek softball team to the next level.
His basketball team has seen what hardwork can build in terms of winning tradition. McKissic is sharing that experience with his softball girls.
“I preach to the girls all the time to trust the process. The basketball players bought into the plan and the vision,” said McKissic, adding that they are using the athletic standard set at the school. “Football has shown us not to get too excited about a season. Good coaches understand that it’s about building up the program as a whole, not just this team this season.” McKissic is part of the movement to make the state see Sandy Creek is more than just a football school, and he’s taking that mantra to the softball diamond.
“People in the community have come to me on several occasions and said how does it feel to be at a football school coaching basketball and softball. My response is I love it. We are a football school, and nothing is going to change that,” said coach. “This is Georgia, it’s football then it’s everything else comes after that. I am probably Sandy Creek’s biggest football fan. I love the hard work the coaches and kids put in. I use that as positive pressure to do well in the sports that I coach. I don’t want to drown in the Creek, so I RISE UP and make my athletes do the same”
His Lady Patriots are learning to win one practice at a time.
“Unlike basketball, we only have one goal which is to get better,” said McKissic. “We want to be better than we were last year. My famous line is if we keep getting better, one day we will be good.”
It will be a team effort to get the squad back on top, but there is plenty of exciting talent set to take the field.
“I won’t say we have star players, but there are some that have separated themselves from the others, said McKissic, noting the promise of reigning team MVP Rachel Davis, junior Erica Bowers, and rising 8th grader Kalyiah Smith. “They all have excelled and will be a force to be dealt with on the field.”
In particular, one spot of the team could be a strength.
“I think we will see the outfielders step up big this year. They have been working very hard and shown the most improvement.”
Whoever steps up, supportive teammates will have their backs.
“We have leadership by committee,” he said. “Jaila Lewis is the voice of reason, Rachel David is the silent leader leading by example, and Breanna Wojcik is the hype man. They all work together lead the program.”
Sandy Creek kicks off softball season on August 8 with a road game at Lovejoy.