Coming up this Friday is probably the biggest rematch in Newton history. The Rams are traveling down to face Lowndes — currently ranked No. 11 in the state by maxpreps.com — again after beating them 15-14 last year on the final play of the game that saw Davonta Jones catch a pass to tie the game before the extra point was good. The Covington News talked with Rams’ head coach Terrance Banks about playing in that hostile environment and his preparation for another shocking win down in Valdosta.
The Covington News: Coach, you’re going down there in South Georgia, to play that team again (Lowndes). The team you got your first victory as a head coach against. What’s the environment like down there? Because I imagine it’s unlike most high school games.
Terrance Banks: It’s not really high school games down there, and it won’t be this time. The environment this time will be 5,000 times what it was. It’s homecoming for Lowndes. Coach (Randy) McPherson, if he wins will get win 200 and that’s a milestone for any coach. And we beat ‘em so they’re out for blood. So you add those three things in and it won’t be a nice environment.
CN: Last year, I heard you guys were mistreated to an extent after the game, any truth to that?
Banks: I mean, they cut the lights out and told us to go home. I’m not mad at ‘em. Hopefully, he’ll cut the lights off, and tell me to go home and never come back. That’s the hope.
CN: You talked about this a little already, but I know Coach Randy McPherson is going for his 200th win on Friday and like you said it’s homecoming. Is that fuel for you guys to go down there and prevent that 200th win and a victory on homecoming?
Banks: Of course. It’s fuel for them to have it that night. He picked that night, hopefully for win 200 and homecoming. He could of had homecoming against any other team he played this year, one that he knows probably would’ve been easier, but he selected us. So we thank him.
CN: Dezmon Copeland has over 300 yards rushing, through four games. Is he someone you want to focus on defensively?
Banks: Their offense has explosive guys on it, and they’re a wing-t offense. You can’t focus on anybody. Everybody gotta read, and if we do that and we tackle everybody that can run the ball we’ll be fine. So we can’t really focus on one person.
CN: Rockdale went down there and tried to make them one-dimensional, but Lowndes responded with a successful passing game. What will you do differently to stop that wing-t offense, but also not get beat over the top?
Banks: Rockdale pretty much did what we have to do. You gotta make them one-dimensional. You have to make them beat you in the pass. That’s not normally what they do. I’m not about to let them run for 300. So if they throw for 300 and beat you, you shake their hand and say good game
CN: Speaking of Rockdale, looking at their film did you see anything that they did successfully on offense that you might want to use?
Banks: Yeah. Rockdale did a lot of stuff successfully against them, they just weren’t able to finish drives. That’s going to be key for us, finishing drives. Same thing Rockdale. Same thing even for Drew. Drew moved the ball on them, but they couldn’t finish drives. Lowndes got turnovers, so we can’t turn the ball over and we gotta finish drives.