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Pfiester named 912 Sports Coach of the Year
Mike Pfiester
Mike Pfiester accepts 912 Sports Coach of the Year Award with 912 Sports Owner Robbie Roberson - courtesy photo provided by 912Sports

LUDOWICI -- 912 Sports Magazine held its annual season awards ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 16 and a few members of the Long County Blue Tide were honored. The biggest honor went to head coach Mike Pfiester, who took home the award for being the top coach in the area.

In a virtual ceremony streamed live on the magazine’s Facebook page, Pfiester was named the 2021 912 Sports Robbie Roberson Ford Coach of the Year.

“I was a little surprised, actually…It was a big deal. I was surprised and excited,” Pfiester said. “I think it says a lot more about what the kids did and what our coaching staff did and what the admin here has allowed us to do. It’s kind of an award for everybody.”

This distinction comes after Pfiester, in his first stint as a head coach, led the Blue Tide to a 5-5 regular season record and the number three seed in the state playoffs, the team’s first ever appearance in the postseason.

The success the Blue Tide saw in the 2021 season was especially impressive as the team had been 1-39 over the previous four seasons, had only won five total games dating back to the 2015 season, and had only won five games in one other season.

The 2021 season seems like just the beginning of something great for Blue Tide football and with 13 total starters - eight on offense, five on defense - returning for 2022, Pfiester feels like the team should be able to build on what they laid the foundation for and hopes it raises the bar for the future.

“The biggest goal is to raise expectations,” Pfiester said. “When we got here in February, a lot of folks said ‘Coach, if you can just win one game, it would be great.’ That mindset kind of surprised me…but I understood it.”

Of those 13 starters returning, two were also honored at the ceremony Thursday night. Sophomore running back Ahmari Douglas and sophomore linebacker Steven Wyatt both were named 912 Sports Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year for the Blue Tide. The magazine names standout offensive and defensive players for each team in the reading area.

“Those kids have bought in, those two guys especially did a really good job for us on each side of the ball,” Pfiester said. “As sophomores, there’s still a lot of room for them to grow.”

Douglas rushed for over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns during the 2021 season. Wyatt led the team in tackles with 71 and had two sacks as well.

The Blue Tide will be taking on a new challenge in 2022 as they will be in a completely new region with six teams from the Savannah area as well as Liberty County. Pfiester hopes that 2022 will be just as competitive and the team has broken another “ceiling.”

“Hopefully, we’ve had another competitive season. I told the guys at the banquet that the expectations have been set,” he said. “We are capable of winning some games, capable of making the playoffs and hopefully that can continue. We do have a very competitive non-region schedule that will prepare us for the region and have some really high-quality teams in the region. We are in a position to be competitive.”

Looking forward to next year, Pfiester talked about hopefully being able to look back at the 2022 season next December and seeing a tradition build for the Tide.

“At the end of the year next year, I hope we can talk about continuing the trend of making the playoffs, winning a playoff game, and trying to figure out what that ceiling is,” he said. “I don’t know what it is yet and people probably thought that 5-5 was the ceiling and it was last year, but I don’t think that’s what it is next year.”

The Tide will begin to assess their team during spring practices in the first half of the year and work towards their new ventures with a new region in 2022. 

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