Blanton, Bulldogs enjoying special basketball season

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 18:28 PM.

MARIANNA — Travis Blanton debated stepping away from coaching.

His heart, his faith, his family and friends and his team swayed him to stay. Now he’s witnessing one of his more special seasons.

The Marianna Bulldogs are realizing the potential that sprouted last season. Blanton and area boys basketball aficionados agreed that Marianna could have success in the near future if it continued to grow. That success has happened quickly with the Bulldogs at 20-1 with eyes on a perfect District 1-4A record.

It’s a stark contrast to 2012-13, a season that saw Marianna finish third in a three-team district and miss the regional tournament. It snapped a streak of nine consecutive regional appearances, but the Bulldogs are on the cusp of starting a new string in a matter of days.

Blanton wasn’t sure if he’d be around to witness the turnaround, at least not from the sideline. He turns 47 later this month and admitted the years in coaching were beginning to wear on him. He considered moving into an administrative position at the school.

He sought counsel from his family and looked to religion to help guide his decision. He said the choice became clear. He needed to remain on the bench.

“I prayed about it and God wanted me back, this is where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “This group of kids made the decision easier. I looked at the group of kids and what made me happy and this is where God wants me.”

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