Today's interviewee is Dacula coach Clint Jenkins, whose team defeated Lanier 34-10 last week to win the Region 8-AAAAAAA championship. Dacula is 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in Jenkins' second season. His first Falcons team reached the state semifinals.
Clint Jenkins, Dacula head coach
1. What was the difference in the Lanier game? What allowed you to pull away? "Credit Lanier for taking some of the momentum early and driving. I felt like our kids overcame some adversity early and just kept playing. Holding Lanier to a field goal on that first series was huge, and our offense did a good job getting it going after that. We definitely have to clean up our special teams play and we will, but our offense and defense played well Friday night."
2. What is the makeup of this team, both skill-wise and personality-wise, compared to 2018? "Hard to compare. It's a new year. We loved that 2018 group, and we knew replacing nine starters off that defense was going to be really tough, but I am really proud of how this year's defense has played to this point. Statistically, we have been better this year, and that's amazing. Offensively, we returned nine guys, and I feel like we are just getting better every week under our offensive coordinator Ken Burnette." [Dacula returned Region 8 offensive player of the year Trenton Jones and first-team all-region QB Jarrett Jenkins.]
3. Dacula made a run to the semifinals last season for the first time since 2005. Great win over Valdosta. What does that finish mean to this year's team? Is it a rallying cry, or is it just something in the past? "I think it was a huge confidence-builder for the kids that played in that game. But it's a new year, and we are a different team. We try to just focus on the step in front of us every week. Can't live in the past."
4. When you got the job, Dacula had won region titles three of the previous four seasons. What's the most important thing you and your staff did to not only keep things moving forward, but actually take it to another level? What advice would you give to new coaches in a situation like that? "I was lucky to be here as the defensive coordinator during our success, so I had a little advantage taking over knowing the program inside and out. I felt like we were on the right track with Tommy Jones [now at Cherokee Bluff], and we just needed to keep working, and it was important to me to keep this coaching staff intact, which we have. Consistency and accountability are the keys to what we are trying to do here at Dacula."
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