Terrance Banks, Newton
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “You have to have talent. Jimmies and Joes are still the most important. Coaching is the second-biggest factor. We went 4-6 all three years at Duluth. Off of that staff, Corey Jarvis produced four head coaches – myself, Lee Hannah, Jason Conner and Shaun Cahill. We were a tremendous staff that reached a peak in those three years. Norcross, North Gwinnett, Mill Creek and Peachtree Ridge simply had a few more guys. Administration is third. They can enhance No. 2 and morale, or destroy it. One reason we have turned a corner here at Newton is we have nine assistant coaches that teach in this building.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “I have three young men who are making the ultimate choice – Artice Hobbs at Army/West Point, Robert Black at the Air Force Academy and now Jaison Taylor committed to the Naval Academy. Three young men who decided it was more than just football. Commitment to country was also key. Those three young men are special, and all were great students with excellent character.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “As a player, I remember our quarterfinal game versus Elbert County (Lakeside 1996) The atmosphere, the fact that their county jail sits up top on the visitor side. When they went up 21-0, we were like ‘Where are we at?’ That Blue Devil, the blue-and-white sea of fans. I rib my defensive coordinator, Spencer Fortson, who played there, all the time because we won 35-21! As a coach, the best place in this state to play is the concrete palace, Martin Stadium at Lowndes High. The atmosphere is amazing. I love playing Lowndes, and they love their Vikings.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “The 1996 state championship game [Thomas County Central vs. Lakeside of Atlanta.] Me and [former Thomas Central star] Joe Burns are good friends now, and we laugh and joke about this. Well, he does. But we went into halftime down 13-9. We forgot to come back out as they went on to rout us 41-9. As a coach, the quarterfinal game versus Etowah [in 2014]. We were up by seven with seven minutes left but ended up losing by 14. Getting back to that spot is not an easy task. I would love to redo those seven minutes.”
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