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Posted: August 23, 2014 10:00 p.m.

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A chance to make history

Q&A: Terrance Banks

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A chance to make history is on the line this season for the Newton Rams. For the first time in school history, the Rams have the opportunity to make it to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. The Covington News talked with Rams’ head coach Terrance Banks about his team and the process they must go through to reach their goals.

The Covington News: Do you believe you have the talent to make history at Newton and go to the playoffs three years in a row?

Terrance Banks: Of course. That’s one of our goals, to get to the playoffs for the third consecutive season. We believe we have enough talent here, it’s just all about the meshing as a team. I think individually we definitely have enough talent, but this is a team game. The one sport where you gotta have everybody to buy in. It’s about that buy-in. Have we bought in? We’re about to find out. We definitely think we have enough talent to get to the playoffs for a third consecutive year.

CN: I’ve watched you guys practice, and it seems this is going to be a very fast-paced offense. Possibly not much huddling. What can fans expect from the offense, as far as pace goes?

Banks: We believe that plays to our advantage. I said last year when I got hired, having coached in Gwinnett County for four years and having watched a state champion come from that county in three of those years, having played a state champion and knowing just the numbers game that’s one of the things that we run into in our region. Just the number of kids on the team which in itself breeds competition. I think one of the things that if we have to, we can play to our advantage and we’re trying to play to our advantage, is the fact that a lot of teams don’t wanna play uptempo. A lot of teams still use a lot of guys both ways. If a normal high school game goes 55 plays on offense and 55 plays on defense, we’re trying to play 75 on offense and 75 on defense. Which means that your players gotta play an extra quarter a game. Any time you gotta play an extra quarter that means one or two things: you gotta sub ‘em or he’s gonna be tired. Either one of those leads to lack of focus and missed assignments, which is hopefully good news for us.

CN: You guys are in a tough region, so suffice to say, your schedule won’t be a cakewalk. How does a tough schedule prepare you for region-play and the playoffs?

Banks: We wanna be region champions, but the most important thing is we wanna be confident going into the playoffs. That’s what I tell people all the time. Yes, a region championship is our goal, we definitely wanna be region champions. One of our other goals though, this years is to play 12. You only get ready for what’s ahead of you by going up against the best of the best. That definitely prepares us for where we wanna be.

CN: Defensively, what will be your priority? Stopping the run? Rushing the quarterback?

Banks: It’s still high school football. I remember when I played football and I would always see my father say, “Football is a real simple game it’s about blocking and tackling.” It’s not too many teams that have prolific passers that can thread the needle. We’ll see some, but we wanna force teams through the air and we wanna stop the run. If we stop the run that’ll make you predictable, which will open up things.

CN: You’ve got a lot of talent and experience on offense, probably not as much experience on defense, but you’re not a weak team. It seems you guys can go as far as you want to go. Is that the feeling you get from the team this season?

Banks: Yeah. I’m excited about the potential that we have. I think while our defense doesn’t have a lot of returning starters, we do have a lot of guys with experience. We technically have four returning starters from Newton, but we have two kids that started at other schools last year, Lithonia/Eastside. So they bring game experience to us. You looking at six kids who started for 10 games and you looking at another side that has significant playing time. The good news is you get five games before it really counts.

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