4 Questions with Dutchtown head coach Niketa Battle

Today’s interviewee is Dutchtown coach Niketa Battle, whose team is 5-0 in Battle’s first season with the Bulldogs. Dutchtown defeated Warner Robins 14-7 last week in the first Region 2-5A game for both teams. Battle coached the previous six seasons at Mays, where he won three region titles. Dutchtown is a Henry County school that has reached the football playoffs the past five seasons and reached the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019 with current Alabama star Will Anderson.

1. What was the significance of the victory over Warner Robins for your team? “We knew if we competed with Warner Robins midseason, it would be the clear indication that we’re heading in the right direction for the reminder of the season.”

2. Are you surprised that your team is 5-0? “Not surprised at all. The challenge for our coaches and players was to work extremely hard during the spring and summer months. Players had to learn the new systems that we implemented for the season. Everyone took the challenge, and this is the fruits of our labor.”

3. What attracted you to the Dutchtown job? “The Dutchtown job was always under the radar for me. I live in Henry County, not too far from the Dutchtown community. The program has been highly competitive over the last five seasons. So the thought was always lingering in my head, what an honor it would be to be able to coach in the area you live in. And principal Nicole Shaw has built an excellent culture of academic success at Dutchtown. Also, Coach Fedd [former coach Clifford Fedd, now at Sumter County] did a remarkable job laying the foundation of a blue-collared work mentality. The players love the grind of getting better. This has made the transition of building on the foundation fairly easy.”

4. What was the main thing that you felt you and your staff needed to do at Dutchtown? “The program has been striving and on the brink of becoming a contender of later-round playoff games. There were minor changes that we made as a staff. A new offensive coordinator [Terrone Owens] and defensive coordinator [Michael Bell] had to make their philosophies mend with what has previously led to the success of program. Some verbiage changed, and new packages were implemented. This was done after self-scouting to improve our overall success on both sides of the football. We are harping on finishing. As cliché as it may sound, that’s what the program needed more of. Our coaches and players have now continued to build on the abilities of focusing, attacking and finishing.”

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