4 Questions with New Manchester head coach Cedric Jackson

Today’s interviewee is New Manchester coach Cedric Jackson, whose team earned its first playoff victory in history last week by beating Hiram 21-17 in Class 5A. New Manchester, a Douglas County school that opened in 2011, also won its first region title in history this season. Jackson was promoted last season from defensive coordinator.

Cedric Jackson, New Manchester coach

1. What do the region title and playoff victory mean for the program, and what has the response been at the school and in the community? “Winning the region and a playoff game has definitely created some excitement within the school and the community. Our football program is 10 years old, and winning is the way we want to build and establish tradition.”

2. What would you want people to know about your team this season? “This team has displayed total commitment to our program. 2020 has been full of uncertainties, and we asked our players to make sacrifices to give the team an opportunity to be successful.”

3. When you were hired as head coach in 2019, it came after the original hire, Kevin Whitley, got a sudden opportunity to join Georgia Southern’s staff. What did you think when that happened? “Yes, Coach Whitley was the original hire for NMHS, and I was excited to have an opportunity to observe and learn from a guy that’s been pretty successful in Georgia football. When Coach Whit’s promotion occurred, we were weeks away from our first preseason scrimmage. This led to me being appointed to lead this team. I was the defensive coordinator here for three years, so I had a good relationship with the kids and the community. Our players were confident in my skills and abilities, so I just wanted to reassure them that everything was going to be OK and we would win. Getting the job so close to the season was one of the most challenging situations I’ve had to face. We basically changed the entire offense, defense and special teams in a matter of days. And now we’re in a pandemic, and our players have worked extremely hard to overcome challenges each week and remained focused on accomplishing our goal of winning the region championship. I’m so proud of our players and coaches.”

4. What was the most important thing that you and your staff have done in your two seasons as head coach to bring the program to this point? “Character development. We spend a tremendous amount of time instructing our players on how to be productive in every aspect of their lives. We strive to be a first-class organization, which involves developing our players physically, mentally and spiritually, and this alone has given us an opportunity to compete and be successful.”

Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.