When the Titan signal caller was a sophomore, the team won just one game. Coach Cunningham took over the program Gilmer finished 3-7 in his first season.
This year, the Titans made another significant jump and will seek their sixth win on Friday, although they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
"We have made a lot of strides as a program," Coach Cunningham said. "Austin has been a vital piece for us. This is his third year starting at quarterback. You can't beat experience.
"He has been through some rough, lopsided games early on.
"Two seasons ago, sometimes he didn't have but a second or two to get rid of the ball. They had to forfeit a couple games even."
Even with their quarterback graduating after the academic school year, Coach Cunningham hopes the carry-over of a positive season hits home with the rest of players.
"The seniors are leaving a nice legacy, and Austin has been an integral part of that," Cunningham said. "We believe brighter days are ahead. We know what we have accomplished and we are excited for the program."
Cunningham, himself, would like nothing better than to end his high school career with a victory and build even more for the program.
"It would be great and would make my season," Cunningham said. "We are very excited and ready to go. Coach has us pumped up. We hope to knock off a top five team in the state.
"This year has been great. It has given the county some hope and drive. Hopefully it opens the eyes of the younger players to know we can compete in football."
Coach Cunningham is sad to see his standout quarterback graduate but hopes his days of playing football aren't over.
"Austin has an opportunity at the next level, and I hope he gets it," Cunningham said. "He has been contacted by Marietta College, and we plan to get more films out to get more looks.
"Being 6-foot-2, it gives him a nice frame in the pocket.
"He sees the field so well and has great vision. It's rare to see some of throws he makes. He has the capability to grow. He's not really fully developed yet."