Today’s interviewee is Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson, whose team defeated North Gwinnett 19-7 on Friday. It was Lovejoy’s first victory over a ranked opponent since 2012, when North Gwinnett also was the opponent in the Class 6A quarterfinals. Carson was an assistant on that state runner-up team and became Lovejoy’s head coach in 2014.
Edgar Carson, Lovejoy head coach
1. What was the significance of that victory for Lovejoy? “It was huge for our community. North Gwinnett is a 7A program. They’ve got a really good football team. They’re well-coached, and their kids play with discipline. Hopefully, this gets our community back excited about Lovejoy football. It was a big win for Clayton County and the Southside. We might not have all the facilities and amenities like up top, but there’s still some good football played in Clayton.”
2. What was the difference in the game? “I thought our kids did a great job of being disciplined, and I think they grew up. We’ve got a mixture of seniors and underclassmen, and they’ve bought into what we’re preaching. We’ve got a couple of seniors, Antonio Jones and Quentavius Scandrett, who play both sides of the ball [as wide receivers and defensive backs; Jones scored on a 40-yard reverse to give Lovejoy the lead for good in the fourth quarter]. Israel Nwokocha up front, he’s a handful. Him mixed with our freshman, No. 58, Michai Boireau, now that kid there, man, I see NFL written on him if he continues to work hard. He’s very coachable. I can’t say enough about our quarterback, Stephin Craig. He had a couple of bumbles, but he put together some passes. He’s a general. We preach that the most important play is the next play, and he gets that. I think our team just gelled together, and hopefully we can build off this win.”
3. How close is the program to being back to those back-to-back state runner-up teams of 2011 and 2012? “I got here in 2011, and we were loaded. The thing about those teams, we had a lot of depth at every position. Winning breeds competition, and winning breeds people wanting to come to your school. The key is keeping them in Clayton County. You don’t have to go anywhere else to be great. We’ve had a plethora of players here go on to play Division I to NAIA.”
4. Coming off this big win, how good do you feel your team can be this season? “Honestly, I don’t know. We haven’t played a region game yet. We didn’t have an offseason. We missed over 3,000 reps that we would’ve gotten from spring practice all the way through OTAs, contact camp and 7-on-7s. So we still don’t know how good we are. It will depend on how hard we work. Up to now, they’re doing everything we’re asking. The biggest thing for me now is to keep the foot on the gas with my players and coaching staff. We have to understand this game is over and we need get ourselves ready for our next opponent, and that’s Griffin. We’ll see where the chips fall week to week.”
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