Last season, the Benjamin E. Mays football team finished 12-3 and advanced to the Georgia High Schools Association Class AAAAA state championship game in the Georgia Dome.
And here’s the bad news for opponents of the Raiders: The team is even more focused this season!
Mays is a perfect 9-0 thus far this season, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution has the Raiders ranked number two in their top 10 poll for Georgia’s Class AAAAA schools. Who’s number one? Northside-Warner Robins, the team that defeated Mays in last season’s state title game.
But Raider head coach Corey Jarvis said his team is not thinking about a rematch with Northside-WR. It is not thinking about the number two ranking. After defeating Tri-Cities last Friday night (41-7), all the players have on their minds is the next game – Friday against Stephenson (ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA in the AJC Top 10). If the Raiders win it will give them their first region championship since 2003 and just the second in the history of the school’s football program. The game has been selected by Georgia Public Broadcasting as its Georgia High School Game of the Week, and will be broadcasted live by the network.
“Last year we had a lot of guys with big names,” Jarvis said, referring to players like linebacker Natrez Patrick, considered one of the best players in the country last season, now playing and studying at the University of Georgia. “We lost a little bit of our focus during the season but got it back as the playoffs started.
“This team has maintained that focus all season,” Jarvis said. “We talk to them all the time about taking things one game at a time and they have done a great job of doing that.”
Still, it’s not as if this team is without talented players like Patrick. Jarvis said his quintet of senior captains is made up of five talented, smart leaders who have guided the team to its current level of success this season. They are Monquavion Brinson, a defensive back who has committed to play at Syracuse University; Marquez Daniel, a defensive lineman who has scholarship offers from the likes of the United States Army Academy at West Point and the United States Air Force Academy; Randrecous Davis, a defensive back/receiver who has committed to play at the University of Georgia; Myles Reid, a defensive back who has committed to play at the Miami University in Ohio; and Devonn Smith, a defensive back, who is being recruited by Fayetteville State, Livingstone College, and a number of other schools.
“Our captains have been great leaders, on and off the field,” said Jarvis, noting that each one has a grade point average of at least 3.2. “They are also very involved in community service. They’re great young men.”
Jarvis said they have done an excellent job of keeping the team focused, which can be hard to do when a possible return to the Georgia Dome and another shot at a state championship could be just a little over a month away.
“You have to get some breaks along the way, some divine intervention,” Jarvis said. “No team can win a state championship without having some luck go its way at some point. But we have to stay focused and keep doing what we’ve been doing. This team is committed to doing that because they tasted success last season and they want to have an even better feeling at the end of this year.”