GHSF Daily's Four Questions feature historically poses the same questions to a different Georgia head coach each issue. This season, head coaches are being asked Four Questions tailored to current events. Today's interviewee is Northside (Warner Robins) head coach Kevin Kinsler, whose team defeated Dacula 14-7 last week to reach the state finals for the first time since the program's championship season of 2014.
Kevin Kinsler, Northside head coach
1. What was the difference in the Dacula game? How was it won? "Our kids coming out and putting those first points on the board and then creating a turnover on the interception and being able to get up 14-0, that got them out of what they'd normally do with their game plan. They're a pretty good running team. For a while, they were more one-dimensional and had to throw. Our guys up front were able to control the run game, and our offense just kept doing enough to eat up the time. That had a lot to do with how the game turned out."
2. Your team and Bainbridge are the eighth and ninth teams in history to make the state finals with a 5-5 record (or worse). As the season progressed, were you always confident that the tough schedule was going to pay off and that you'd still be playing in December, or were there times when you felt you weren't a good football team? "We knew that we had kids who were inexperienced. They weren't necessarily young, but inexperienced, and we kept trying to sell the kids that this was a process, that they had to keep getting better each week. Even in the games we lost, we lost by just a few points, and we were playing really hard and with emotion but making mistakes to kill ourselves. We lost that heartbreaker against Valdosta at their place. I give all the credit to the kids. What's so hard for kids nowadays is to stick with the process. Things came together and we started playing like we felt we could. Some young guys were able to become important role players for us. They're going to look back at some point in their lives and remember that when their backs were to the wall that instead of quitting, they got it done. It's an important life lesson." [Northside's losses were to state finalists Peach County, Warner Robins and Lee County, plus Valdosta and Jones County, all ranked.]
3. Quarterback Jadin Daniels was recently named Region 1-AAAAAA player of the year, and he's given Northside the offensive threat that it had been missing in recent seasons. What does he do so well that gives opponents trouble? "Jadin is a really good athlete. He's got a really strong arm and a lot of ability to run the football. The thing about Jadin last year was that he doubted himself. He struggled sometimes because he didn't have the confidence to pull the trigger. We simplified things this year so he could have success early, just like baby steps. You have a little success, you get more confident. At some point, the light came on. Now he feels pretty good about what he can and cannot do. Even though we keep things so he can play within himself, he still makes plays. We always thought he had the ability." [Daniels has 1,565 yards passing and 1,549 yards rushing this season.]
4. Lee County, your opponent in the championship game, has been dominant this season. What do the Trojans do so well that makes them difficult to beat? "They don't have a lot of weaknesses. The biggest thing that they do is their defense and special teams create opportunities for their offense to put points on the board quickly. Sometimes they're playing a close game and one or two turnovers later, or a kick return later, they're up by 21. They've got a lot of weapons on offense, and when you give them good field position, they're going to put up points." [Lee County beat Northside 24-7 on Oct. 13. That has been Lee's closest game this season.]
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