DCSS Football Previews

DCSS Teams Kick Off Seasons Friday
Posted on 08/19/2021

With football season getting underway soon, each of Douglas County’s high schools are looking to build on successful 2020 campaigns that saw all five of them qualify for the state playoffs. 

Entering 2021, each school has seen some change from the previous year, with many teams graduating key players, two teams getting new coaches this year, and another getting ready to move into a new facility. 

But despite the changes, one thing remains constant with each team looking to secure a state playoff berth by the end of the season.

Cougars looking to go from ‘good’ to ‘great’

AHS Football TeamComing off an impressive 8-3 finish in 2020, Alexander High School and first-year head coach Olten Downs have their sights set on building on this success and reaching a new level as the 2021 season gets underway. 

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the head coach of Alexander High School,” Downs said. “We have some remarkable young men. They’ve come to work hard this summer, and we’re just trying to build on a winning tradition and take the program to another level.”

Downs takes over for former Alexander head coach Matt Combs, who stepped down in January after 10 successful years. 

Prior to taking over as the Cougars head coach, Downs spent the past two seasons as head coach at Westover High School in Albany, where he led the team to the state playoffs in 2020. 

In his inaugural year leading the Cougars, Downs will be leaning on a group of stellar seniors led by defensive back Shawn Parker, quarterback Donovan Hoskins, defensive tackle Nehemiah Dukes and fullback and tight end Justin Williams. 

“We’ve gotten great sponsorship from our parents who are very involved,” said Downs, “and the guys have been very responsive and we’re trying to get them to take it from good to great. We want to take that mindset to another level.”

The Cougars open the 2021 season at home on Aug. 20 against Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville. 

Three C’s guiding Chapel Hill into new season

Last season marked Chapel Hill’s first state playoff appearance since 2017, and the Panthers are looking to return in 2021 under new leadership. 

CHHS Football Team

Brad Stephens takes over as head coach of the Panthers after Justin DeShon left to become the head coach at Hillgrove. 

Stephens enters with an impressive resume, having taken South Atlanta High School to the state playoffs in four of his five seasons and winning the school’s first region title in 2020. 

To return to the state playoffs, Stephens says the Panthers have been letting a simple philosophy guide them in their preparation for the new season.  

“Since we’ve been there, the three C’s we’ve instilled in our kids are to be committed, coachable and to compete,” said Stephens.

Along with taking this mentality into the season, the Panthers have several impact players on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Komari Frye and cornerback and wide receiver Datakis Nunnally, who both received Region 6-5A All-Region Honorable Mention recognition. 

Along with these two, the Panthers also expect solid contributions from running backs Rodrick Payne and Jelani Lovett, wide receiver Spencer Beauchamp, defensive end Aaron Redmond and lineman Andrew Dorsey. 

The Panthers open their season Aug. 20 on the road at Alexander High School. 

Jaguars young and hungry entering 2021

NMHS Football TeamDespite all five Douglas County School System high schools making the state playoffs in 2020, New Manchester strung together the deepest run, winning the Region 6-5A Championship and advancing to the Sweet 16 last year. 

This year, head coach Cedric Jackson, who was named Region Coach of the Year following last season, returns a young group that is still hungry to continue building on last year’s successful season. 

“We’ve got a young team this year, and they’re full of potential,” Jackson said. “So we’re excited to see what’s going to happen when they get out on the field.”

Though the Jaguars will be young, they still retain some experience from last season’s Sweet 16 appearance. 

Defensive end De’Andre Jones, a recent Georgia State commit, returns after earning First-Team All-Region recognition in 2020. DeSean Travis, a Second-Team All-Region performer, also returns to help anchor the defensive line, while Josiah Bivens will anchor the linebackers. 

Offensively, the Jaguars also expect to return some firepower, as Rashad Benson will return as a running back and linebacker, and Christopher Morgan will also see time in the backfield and at free safety.

New Manchester kicks off its season Aug. 20 with a road game at Carrollton. 

Lions hope to build on last season’s accomplishments

LSHS Football Team

After hosting a state playoff game for the first time in several years, Lithia Springs High School returns a strong core of seniors looking to build on last season’s successes. 

The Lions finished as runners up in Region 6-5A in 2020, just one game behind crosstown foe New Manchester High School. 

The Lions return a bevy of talent, with All-Region Honorable Mention recipients Jamius Duncan, Jai’Que Hart and Christen Williams leading the way. Lions’ head coach Corey Jarvis also expects contributions from defensive back Ollie Payne and wide receiver Davion Leslie as well. 

The Lions begin their season Aug. 20 with a showdown at crosstown foe Douglas County High School.

Tigers entering new den in 2021

When the 2021 football season begins for Douglas County on Aug. 20, the Tigers will still be breaking in their new digs, as a yearlong

renovation project to their new stadium is expected to be completed around the beginning of the season.

DCHS Football Team

The renovations include a new two-story fieldhouse and increased seating capacity on the Selman Ave. side of the field.  

But despite not playing a true home game last season, the Tigers still qualified for the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 5-6A. 

“We’re looking forward to this year,” said Tigers head coach Johnny White. “Unfortunately we had a passing of a young athlete, so we now have the same purpose, and we all have the same why. If my young men stick together this year, we are looking forward to a great season.”

The Tigers will lean on three All-Region Honorable Mention performers from 2020 to help lead the team. Defensive backs Samson Israel and Myles Oliver will be counted on to help anchor the secondary, while Mitchell Moultrie will be a key piece on the defensive line.

The Tigers begin their quest back to the state playoffs Aug. 20, as they’ll take on Lithia Springs at their newly renovated stadium.

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