“We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores. They’ve done a good job and are much improved. We still don’t have a full senior class but we’re a lot better prepared,” he said.
New Manchester’s football program has two new players this season which Cleveland said will make a difference this year.
Transfers Nashon Hester from Douglas County High and Michael Fulton from Lithia Springs, both seniors, are the new additions to the team at inside and outside linebackers.
“They should really provide the defense with leadership,” Cleveland said.
With 16 seniors and 40 juniors this season, New Manchester returns 10 starters on offense and eight starters on defense.
Going into their second official season, Cleveland said the team has been doing seven-on-seven drills four days a week against themselves, all summer. The offensive line also went to a five-day camp in Cochran in mid-June.
After getting two wins in their inaugural region season, Cleveland said they feel confident and have some ambitious goals this year.
“[Our goal is to] try to get over the hump and have a winning season. We feel that goal is attainable. Having a winning season puts you in position for a possible playoff spot…Last year we were in the bottom tier. Hopefully, we’re in the middle tier now,” said Cleveland.
One element of the Jaguars’ game that Cleveland said has improved and will truly make a difference this year is their physical size and strength.
Head coach: Rob Cleveland, 10th season as a head coach (39-44-0), third year at New Manchester (4-8-0).
Key returners: QB Tabashi Thomas, RB Malik Thomas, RB Omari Jared, G Samyedre Neal, LB Tre Wilson
Last year: 2-8 overall; tied for eighth in Region 5-AAAAA.
Aug. 23 Paulding County
Aug. 30 Lithia Springs
Sept. 6 at North Paulding
Sept. 13 Woodland
Sept. 20 at East Paulding
Sept. 27 Rome
Oct. 4 Allatoona
Oct. 11 at South Paulding
Oct. 18 Bye
Oct. 25 at Villa Rica
Nov. 1 Bye
Nov. 8 at Hiram