Earlier this summer, APS football players and coaches rallied to talk football during the 4th Annual APS Football Media Day at Maynard Jackson High School. Interim Director of Athletics for Atlanta Public Schools, Jasper Jewell explained the significance of this exciting event.
“The purpose of Media Day is to give light and recognition to our young men, student athletes, scholar athletes, coaches, trainers, managers and parents for hard work and dedication during the off-season and to give a brief overview of the upcoming season.” The APS varsity football season begins this weekend.
The keynote speaker for the event was former Douglass High School, Arkansas Razorback and NFL star Ahmad Carroll, a.k.a. “Batman,” who earned his famous nickname from repeatedly jumping over offensive linemen. As a student athlete at Douglass High, football was not his only sport. He was also a track star winning a state championship in the 100-meter.
Carroll took time to speak to the students about the importance of hard work and staying on the right path to achieve their dreams. “Playing football in this time, in this age is a lifestyle,” said Carroll. “It’s not the time you spend with your coaches or at the school. It’s the time spent away from the school and away from your coaches that’s going to make you an exceptional athlete.”
In his closing he stressed the importance of not letting negative influences keep students from achieving their goals. “Don’t let ‘keeping it 100’ or ‘keeping it real’ mess up your life.”
Below are a few team highlights from the team introduction and question and answer session of the program.
KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Academy – Coach Lester Caldwell
KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Academy is the newest addition to the APS athletic family, entering their first season of varsity football. Coach Lester Caldwell introduced each player and highlighted their academic achievements.
Quinton Spear- 3.7, 27 ACT
Oda Merry Mingae 3.8 GPA, 28 ACT
Angelo Matos- 3.9, 30 ACT
KIPP is starting off their first year in the tough 6-AA region. Coach Caldwell told the crowd his players worked hard every summer leading up to this season; their first varsity season. He says that they will be mentally and physically prepared because preparation begins in practice.
“You have to make practice as rigorous as possible to be prepared once game time comes, said Caldwell. “If you make practice as hard as possible it will be a little easier come game time.”
KIPP will kickoff their first varsity football season against North Atlanta High School on August 28 at Grady Stadium.
B.E.S.T. Academy: Coach Joshua Moore
With last year being just the 2nd Varsity season for B.E.S.T Academy, they had a decent showing making their 1st visit to the playoffs. They lost to Carver-Columbus in a heart breaking triple overtime game. Coach Joshua Moore said that that game put their team on the map and helped them gain respect among other teams and the media.
The Eagles look to continue their forward progress in the 2014 season. They’ve had an active off-season with conditioning and playing in 7on7 tournaments. They qualified for the national 7on7 NFL High School Player Development tournament in Indianapolis where they had the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the country.
Coach Moore is expecting his team to have a productive season and continue to build off of last year’s success. “If we do what we’ve prepared to do we should be back in the playoffs,” said Moore.
They’ve dropped down to region 6-AA with teams like Lovett, KIPP, Wesleyan and Pace Academy.
B.E.S.T. Academy will open their season at home at Grady Stadium on August 29 against Callaway.
Mays High School: Corey Jarvis
Although Mays comes off of a good season, finishing 8-4, they are not satisfied with what they displayed throughout the season or how they finished. They lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs to Kell High School out of Cobb County.
Coach Jarvis, said that their motto for the year is “Remember the feeling.”
To aid his team in recalling that loss after the game, Coach Jarvis said he had a parent take a picture of the scoreboard. They placed the picture on posters and put them up in the weight room, his office door and all around their practice facilities to make sure their program doesn’t forget how it felt to lose that night.
Expectations for Mays this upcoming season are high. Not only do they have 3-committed college D1 Players, two of which are ranked in the top 100 in the nation. They also have 36 returning seniors.
Mays competes in one of the toughest regions in high school football, region 6-AAAAA. Coach Jarvis explained that his guys will be prepared for the tough competition. When asked about keeping his players humble and hungry at the same time, Coach
Jarvis responded, “Getting the opportunity to compete in a region as tough as the region we compete in is humbling in itself.”
Coach expressed how hard his kids have been working in the off-season. Along with conditioning workouts, they’ve also played in a number of 7on7 tournaments, winning the National Championship for the Cam Newton 7on7 tournament in North Carolina.
Even with the success and dedication during the off-season, coach Jarvis said that they have a ways to go. “We are just in the beginning stages of our product,” said Coach Jarvis. “Hopefully by the time November and December rolls around, we’ll still be playing.”
Mays High School 2015 Commits:
Aaron Cochran- Louisville
Natrez Patrick- UGA
Dallas Warmack- Alabama
Mays opens its season on the road against Langston Hughes on August 23 at Tri Cities Stadium.
Grady High School: Coach Earthwind Moreland
Coach Earthwind Moreland opened up by stating that he kind of feels like Lebron James “coming home.” Moreland is a class of 1995 alumnus of Grady High School. He went on to play with the NFL, winning a Superbowl championship with the New England Patriots.
Coach Moreland commended his players for their work, saying his guys are ‘on the grind’ everyday. They’ve spent the off-season in conditioning workouts and playing in 7 on 7 tournaments. They won the sectional for the Cam Newton 7 on 7 at North Cobb and came 4th at the Tournament of Champions in North Carolina.
Stepping into a new region, 6-AAAA they will be the only team from the city of Atlanta. Moreland doesn’t see this as a significant factor in his team’s ability to succeed, because his players are familiar with these teams from playing against them in the past.
Grady will kickoff their season at home against Washington on August 23 at Grady Stadium.