December 4, 2021

Curbow influence runs deep for Braves

Courtesy of Nick Simon and the Times-Georgian

(Franklin, GA) — The Class AA state football championship means the world for the entire Heard County High School football community, especially so for a coaching trio whose relationship spans back to childhood.

Growing up as next-door neighbors in Mableton, head coach Tim Barron developed a lifetime bond with the fraternal pairing of current HC offensive coordinator Randall Curbow and current defensive coordinator D.J. Curbow.

That strong bond was by the influence of the Curbow’s father, the late John Curbow.

Decorated in military honors after serving as a First Lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War, John Curbow regularly spent plenty of time with D.J., Randall and ‘Timbo’, taking them on yearly hikes into the Appalachian Mountains.

Before the Braves’ title contest, Barron fondly reminisced on those character-building trips where they brought just C-Rations and had to make their tents out of ponchos.

Another thing that united them all together was the game of football, where the elder Curbow had started coaching the South Cobb Vipers recreational football team and drove his boys all over to experience the sights and sounds of the top high school and college football games in the Peach State.

“For a couple of years, he started taking us around to different stadiums all over the state from Valdosta to Rabun County and just watching a lot of different schools,” said D.J. “He coached us all in rec league. In the early ‘80’s, he was working for the federal government making some real money, but he always wanted to coach because he had a love for football.”

That love of coaching started rubbing off on his young prodigies even as they were learning the game through rec ball.

“We were 11-12 years old and he’d give us 10-page scouting reports,” said Randall. “We’d meet over at the house with Coach Barron and couple of the other guys who are coaches around the state like Scott and Chris Brown. It was pretty big time for recreation league.”

The Curbows started making their name known around Carroll County in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, first when John served as the head coach of Mount Zion from 1986-88 and next when Randall operated the controls at quarterback for Bowdon’s 1992 Class A state championship team.

With the family living in Alabama prior, D.J. talked about pointing his brother in the direction towards the “Friendly City.”

“I take credit for his state title at Bowdon,” D.J. joked. “When they were making the move back, my dad was friends with Coach (Ronnie) Burchfield from Central and he was leaning towards Central. I told them that I had been to some Bowdon games, I knew that Coach (Dwight) Hochstetler was over there and I knew that they were about to do some big things.”

Pictured (L-R) are Randall, John, and D.J. Curbow

Following in their father’s footsteps, the Curbow brothers eventually went into coaching themselves, joining Barron’s staff at Alexander in 1999 before eventually arriving at Heard County in 2002.

And along with them came John, who regularly did what he could to help his boys.

“He would want to watch the other team that we’d be playing and come back with a scouting report,” said Randall.

“He’d hand me the defensive stuff and then give D.J. the other team’s offensive stuff and then give Timbo the special teams stuff and have it written down somewhat neat. He’d go back through and try to clean up his notes for what he was going to give us.”

“We used to try to get him to come watch us play, but he wanted to do anything he could to come help us and go watch the other team in person. When Hudl took off, you got your film easily and you just had a ton of film on everyone you played. You weren’t really going to miss anything, but he always thought that there was some little thing you’d get by going to the game and that’s the truth,” said D.J.

“Finally, those last few years we talked him into coming and he did come to watch us play most of the time.”

Passing away in 2009 at the age of 63, John Curbow’s influence still carries on with his sons, Barron and the rest of the Heard County coaching staff.

They know that he would’ve gotten joy out of the Braves’ 38-30 overtime win over Fitzgerald two weeks ago to punch their ticket to the big dance and of course the 27-6 title win over Rockmart.

“It would’ve been nice if he was here for these last few weeks,” said D.J. “He’d be proud of us I’m sure of it.”

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