Georgia soccer fans soak up national title celebration Saturday


They threw the whole party for the national champions on Saturday.

The Georgia Football Team parade down S. Lumpkin Street and into Sanford Stadium with a crowd of Bulldogs fans there to catch a glimpse and soak up the moment with the players and coaches who brought them the first title national program since 1980.

Coach Kirby Smart, who grew up in Bainbridge, gave the Bulldogs that championship in his sixth season. He did it with a former Stetson Bennett quarterback from small town Blackshear and a formidable defense that set a program record for wins, going 14-1, including an undefeated regular season.

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Following: Get your UGA National Championship posters and special editions at the Banner-Herald in Athens

“They never embraced success,” Smart told the crowd at a nearly hour-long stadium celebration event following the parade. “They never acknowledged success. You know what they kept doing? They kept chopping wood.

During his 10-minute speech to the crowd, Smart said a “new standard of excellence” had been set.

Offensive tackle Jamaree Sayer said to me, “I just want to say Dawgnation, look what we’ve built.”

Smart drove a Kirby Copter down the recruiting trail in the Atlanta area on Friday, then was in the back of a Ford pickup truck with his wife and three children during the parade route of just under a mile from Pinecrest to S. Lumpkin through the Tate Center parking lot. He then got off the truck and walked over and waved at the fans.

Assistant coach Glenn Schumann walked through the Dawg Walk with his 2-year-old son, Bryson, on his shoulders in a nearly packed stadium.

The event drew near-full crowds inside the stadium which can hold more than 92,000 people, despite temperatures in the mid-40s.

“I can’t tell if I have goosebumps or if I’m just cold?” said Smart.

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A winter weather advisory beginning late Saturday evening could make roads in the area slippery. Forecasts called for up to two inches of snow and ice accumulations of up to 0.2 inches starting Saturday night in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Ty Sprayberry of Bremen, West Georgia, said he’ll be fine risking the elements on the way home. He came with his wife Sarah, son Pete and daughter Audrey and stood next to S. Lumpkin Street in front of Clark Howell Hall.

“It would be worth it,” said Sprayberry 34, who works for GDOT and has been a season ticket holder since 2010.

They left their house four and a half hours before the start of the parade. Pete, 7, wanted to see linebacker Nakobe Dean up close.

“It means everything to have the kids and the family here,” he said. “I didn’t know if I would ever live to see a championship, but it brings tears to my eyes.”

Before the parade arrived, a Georgia fan started a chant of “Who’s coming down the runway?” swell the crowd. A man was selling 1,980 bottles of Coca-Cola that he said he bought at a garage sale.

Fans were four and five watching.

During the ceremony, three national title trophies were presented, including those from the National Football Foundation and the American Football Coaches Association.

Smart lifted the trophy again by winning the college football playoffs he hosted in Indianapolis. This weighs 23 pounds and is 26 ½ inches tall in 24 karat gold, bronze and stainless steel with a steel core and 12 inch base.

Nose guard Jordan Davis called for the entire team to stand and the crowd to applaud.

“It’s something no one can take away from us,” Davis said. “We are forever legendary. So for all Dawgnation, we love you. Go Braves and go Dawgs.

He then unveiled a Braves jersey.

President Jere Morehead said he and then-athletic director Greg McGarity knew in December 2015 when Smart was hired that “he was the right person to put the University of Georgia in the national championship.” .

It was a grander event than the event following the 1980 national title when a “crowning” event took place on the grounds of the Stegeman Coliseum.

This was probably the last time this full team would be reunited soon. Five Georgia underclassmen — Nakobe Dean, George Pickens, Zamir White, Lewis Cine and Travon Walker — declared themselves for the NFL Draft on Friday.

The parade came five days after Georgia held off Alabama 33-18 Monday night in Indianapolis.

“What about those Dawgs?” Governor Brian Kemp said at the ceremony.

He said he was in New Orleans 41 years ago when Georgia beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to win the national title.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

Aaron Campbell, who lives in Anniston, Alabama, wore a custom-made national championship sweatshirt and hat for the parade.

“Letting people know, hey, we finally beat them, got over the hump, baby, beat Alabama,” said Campbell, a 39-year-old Augusta native who was near the Dawg Walk area. off S. Lumpkin. “That’s it. As I stay in Alabama now, I’ve been through all the heartbreak surrounded by Alabama fans.

Sanford Stadium’s clock stuck at 8:21 p.m.

The ceremony ended with the seniors of the 1980 squad raising a 2021 National Championship banner on the east side of the stadium.

Smart sent a message earlier that he is looking for more titles.

“We’re burning the boats, baby,” he said. “We return.”

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