4 Questions with Carver-Atlanta coach Darren Myles

Today’s interviewee is Carver of Atlanta coach Darren Myles, whose team defeated then-No. 3 Sandy Creek 36-29 last week in a Region 5-3A game. It was only the second time since 1967, when Carver played in the Class 2A championship game, that Carver had beaten a top-three opponent, the first since defeating No. 2 Creekside in 2014. Carver, a Class 3A quarterfinal team last season, is ranked No. 7 this week.

Darren Myles, Carver (Atlanta) head coach

1. What were the key moments in the Sandy Creek game for those that didn’t see it? “We had several. Sandy Creek was fourth-and-15 and tried a fake punt at about their 45-yard line The score was 14-8 at the time. It was a great call and well-executed, but Devonte Amasiani did a great job running the guy down and tackling him. They gained about five yards. That allowed us to put together a drive and make it 14-14. Then when we were down 29-28 with about five minutes left, we made a connection on a touchdown pass from Bryce Bowens to DeAndre Buchannon. We were backed up on our 10. They were in 0 coverage, and we just took a shot and connected. DeAndre did a great job running the route and pulling away from the defender after he caught it. That allowed us to go ahead 36-29. They’re a good team and drove back down the field and got to our 20. Taurin Kemp let his wide receiver go on a snap route to drop back and intercept the corner route. It was great play recognition, and he intercepted the pass. We had to punt, but Jalen Smith, our long snapper, was able to strip the ball from the returner. We ran the clock out.”

2. What did you do well in the game, especially on offense? “We were well-balanced. Usually we rely on the run, but some of the things they were doing forced us to take some shots. We stuck to the run, but we mixed in the pass and kept them on their heels.”

3. You were ranked in preseason. You lost early to a Class 7A team, West Forsyth, 38-8, and later to Class 3A’s No. 1 team, Cedar Grove, 17-0. You didn’t score many points in either. What are you doing different? “We got hit with COVID, and we were out as a team for 10 days and some players for 14 days before we played West Forsyth. We were down 7-0 at halftime and just got worn down from fatigue in the second half. With Cedar Grove, they are prototypical college size everywhere on defense. The first series of the game, Quintavious Lockett [three-star running back prospect] went down. His ankle got rolled. He had three carries for 70 yards on the first five plays. We also had four interceptions, one a pick six. The score was 0-0 at halftime. We’re just doing a better job at protecting the ball now. Bryce Bowens had taken control of the offense at quarterback and kept us well-balanced.”

4. You made the quarterfinals last season. How does this year’s team compare to that one? “This team is more experienced. We have about 70% of the guys still on this team that played in that quarterfinal game. We had only one senior on the offensive line last year. We need to be healthy. That’s what caught up with us against Pierce County [in 2020]. We lost our starting running back, Jarveous Brown, and our H-back had to play tailback. In this Sandy Creek game, it was the first time we’ve had everybody together, all 11 starters on offense. So we’re more battle-tested and experienced, and that will be the difference – if we stay healthy down the road.”

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