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From the cheap seats
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In the fellowship hall of Covington's First United Methodist Church on Thursday afternoon, the talk at the local Kiwanis Club meeting was about a battle that was brewing.

No, it wasn't about the Father and his most notable adversary, but about a football game between a pair of Newton County coaches and their respective teams.

And the coaches were on hand.

Of course, no blows were expected, or thrown, but the heavyweight contest was set Friday night between Newton coach Terrance Banks and Eastside coach Rick Hurst -- one coach in his first year with a new program, the other a veteran of a heated rivalry.

Despite the fan rivalry between the two programs, the speaking engagement quickly turned from Rams vs. Eagles matchup into an enlightening look at the backgrounds of two of Covington's most influential figures.

While the two coaches may come from different backgrounds, their stories are similar. Both are based on a leap of faith and conquering fear and doubt.

For Banks, who's in his first season with the Rams this year, that doubt came when faced with the decision of leaving home for a chance to obtain greatness. Banks, who played for and earned a coaching position at Lakeside High School, first saw that doubt creep in when he was weighing the decision to leave Lakeside or grow in his profession at Duluth High School.

Banks, who said his Lakeside playing career was the best four years of his life, had a tough choice to make: stay where he was comfortable, or make a move that could change his career.

Hurst, who is in his ninth season with Eastside this year, also felt that doubt early in his career. When the Eagles called, the Trenton, Ga., native didn't accept the job right away.

"I didn't take it on the spot," Hurst said. "I said, 'Coach (Haymore), can I take 48 hours to think about this?' It was probably the most turmoil I've ever been in in my life as far as making a decision. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make."

While their paths may have been different, both of their journeys led them to Newton County, where their teams squared off in a fierce rivalry game Friday night that lived up to all of the preseason hype.

Where doubt may have won, confidence prevailed, and an opportunity opened up for a pair of coaches to make their impact on Newton County,

Whether you're a Ram, an Eagle or even a Tiger, you can relate to the challenges that Banks and Hurst faced when making career decisions that not only affected their lives, but also the lives of thousands in their community.

"If you have doubt, what do you teach your kids?" Banks said.

I have no doubt that these two coaches will make Newton County proud for years to come.