Even as a freshman in high school, head football coach Deario Grimmage knew he wanted to have a life in sports.
After his time competing and having coaches and others influence his life, he decided that, instead of playing professionally, he simply wanted to give back. He wished to carry the torch for the ones who inspired him when he was on the field, so he became a coach.
Grimmage has been the head coach for Meadowcreek since 2010, making 2012 his third season. Since graduating college in 2001, he immediately fell into a coaching position in Augusta, where he acted as a defense coordinator. Five years later he moved to Shiloh where he worked under head coach Nick Davis. Grimmage then went to Meadowcreek to be an assistant coach, and soon he stepped up to being head coach.
Even though other schools have had coaches for years, Grimmage's short time at Meadowcreek still outbeats his predecessors. Sticking with the school, he said he likes the different initiatives Meadowcreek is going through under new Principal Tommy Welch.
"I like the direction we're going in in the athletic department and school," said Grimmage. "I'm here to pretty much turn the vision of the football program and get some things in place, so we'll be able to compete at a higher level."
Compared with Norcross schools and , Meadowcreek is lacking in wins, though. The Mustangs have not won a game since 2008 where they competed against Duluth High, and Grimmage believes a number of reasons contribute to the losing streak.
"One of it is, we have to get a strong foundation in place, and that strong foundation does not start in high school," he explained.
He said many of the students in the Meadowcreek cluster don't have a big football spirit established at an early age, and that may be the reason why the school isn't effective on the field.
Additionally, that sense of community involvement in the sport isn't seen as strongly when compared with other schools, but Grimmage said that he's seen an increase in support from the community so far this year.
Even with the losses, Grimmage is hopeful for the upcoming season, which starts Friday. At the scrimmage game against Clarkston High a few weeks ago, the two teams tied at 77 points, coming closer than any other game they've played since the 2008 win.
"I'm excited for the kids. They put in a lot of hard work this summer," Grimmage said. "We just need to perform and compete, and establish the pride we need in this community."
He noted that some players to watch for in the upcoming season include Keyon Rich, a defensive back; running back and linebacker Ryan Moore; and Eduardo Moran on offense.
Fans will be able to see these players and the rest of the team this Friday as the Mustangs will compete against Shiloh High in the season opener.
"The game gives us the opportunity to see where we're at, and how far we need to go, and where we go from here," said Grimmage. "The kids are excited, so come and support the Mustangs.
The season opener against Shiloh High starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. It'll take place on Meadowcreek's turf, located at 4455 Steve Reynolds Boulevard.