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Redskins finish regular season 25-0, eyes on state title
Tyrhell Branch has helped lead the Redskins to a perfect regular season with a No, 1 seed in the Region 8A-Public tournament. - photo by Cassie Jones | The Covington News

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — There are some coaches who aim to reward their teams for performing to the best of their ability every season. Most coaches use their own special methods to accomplish this. 

For Social Circle’s head boys basketball coach Taylor Jackson, his reward comes through the dress code policy. 

Normally, the Redskins would be required to dress up on game days in a shirt and bow tie. Jackson has adopted an exception to this rule since becoming head coach three seasons ago. 

“If we win, we don’t have to dress up,” Jackson said. “So, they haven’t been wearing [ties] at all [this season]. All they do is win games.” 

Jackson brought the “dress up” policy to Social Circle from being an assistant for three seasons under former Newton High School head coach Rick Rasmussen. Once he became head coach, though, Jackson wanted to alter the policy to give his players an award for winning games. 

With their 91-33 win at Commerce on Feb. 11, the Redskins concluded the regular season with a perfect 25-0 record along with a region-leading 12-0 record in Region 8A-Public. 

As a result, none of this year’s players had to wear a shirt and tie on any game days. 

Leading the charge for a perfect regular season were seniors KJ Reid, Tyrhell Branch and Cam Gaither in addition to junior AJ Vinson. 

Reid, who eclipsed 1,000 career points this season, expressed his gratitude for the reward given to him and his teammates after every win. His preference is wearing a jogging suit due to it being more comfortable. 

Branch, who also reached the 1,000-career point mark this year, said that, if given the choice, he’d rather dress up in a shirt and tie than to experience losing in the postseason. 

“I can’t stand losing,” Branch said. “I understand losing comes with the game and you need to learn from it. But I still hate losing more than I do dressing up.” 

While Branch and Reid appreciate the policy Jackson has installed, Gaither and Vinson both said it’s not a big deal for them to dress up. 

Gaither said he enjoyed dressing up as a kid going to church on Easter in a dress shirt, tie and khaki pants. Vinson mentioned that he preferred wearing a bow tie anyway, which the “dress up” policy plays into that. 

But, their love for dressing up doesn’t compare to the joy they get from winning a game, according to Gaither. 

“Obviously, I love winning more,” Gaither said. “When you win, you get a different type of feeling.”

In the 2021-22 season, Social Circle has experienced a lot of wins and most wins came in a big way. 

Throughout the year, the Redskins have defeated region opponents by an average of 34 points per contest.

There were some notable performances along the way, too. 

On Jan. 22, Social Circle defeated Commerce 107-44 marking the most points ever scored in a single contest in program history.

Additionally, Social Circle has gone up against higher classification schools 11 times and earned wins in all matchups. As a matter of fact, the Redskins downed three Class 7A schools in three days to claim the 2021 Hounds Holiday Hoops Championship at Pope High School on Dec. 30, 2021. 

But, for Social Circle, they haven’t come close to accomplishing their No. 1 goal set for this season yet. And, that is, winning a region and state title. 

According to Vinson, the desire to win both championships has remained during this season. 

“We want to win it badly,” Vinson said. “The region championship and making a run to a state championship is something we aimed for over the summer and we want to win them both.” 

As the No. 1 seed in Region 8A-Public, the quest for a region championship will begin for the Redskins on Feb. 17. Earning a first round bye, they’ll face the winner between Commerce and Greene County for the second round of the region tournament hosted by Commerce High School. 

After the tournament is over, Social Circle will set its sights on the state tournament that commences on Feb. 22-23. March 9 will mark the end of the state tournament at Macon Coliseum. 

Even though the Redskins plan to win every game in the postseason, Reid said that he and his teammates just might suspend the “no dress up” rule themselves should they advance to the state championship. 

“That’s a business trip,” Reid said of the state championship game. “We might dress up if we go to Macon, even if we win. That way we look like a team.”