“We’re a year stronger and have another season with our offensive and defensive systems,” Jackson said. “We have a strong group of upperclassmen who’ve matured physically and are mentally tough.”
The resolve of Decatur has been tested often as the Bulldogs’ close wins over Grady (7-6) and Greenville (14-7) will attest. “We’ve had some close games this season but have kept fighting and not let bad things affect us.”
In the Greenville win, senior Nick Bentley had 85 yards rushing and scored the game-winning touchdown with four minutes left in the contest. Junior teammate Elijah Rachell had a game-high 101 yards on the ground.
“We’ve had several offensive linemen play well, especially center Brandon Crawford,” Jackson said. “We had issues in that position last season and this is his first year as a starter.”
All-Region and All-State linebacker from 2012, Kyle Kitchens, has continued his stellar play in 2013, having 10 tackles against Greenville and cauing a fumble.
“Our defense has been good and we’ve had players fill in like wide receiver Demetrius Cooley,” Jackson said. “He’s gotten in on a lot of plays for us and been productive.”
The Bulldogs have one more non-region game before entering Class 6-AAA play against Cedar Grove on Sept. 28. “We have to continue getting better with fundamentals and building continuity,” Jackson said. “We’re not going to change our approach with region play but be our best and execute.”
The hot start for Decatur has increased the hopes of making a trip to the playoffs, something eluding the program since 2005. “If we can continue to practice with game-like intensity, tempo and stay healthy, we have a good chance to do well in our region and make the postseason,” Jackson said.
The Bulldogs will return to action on Friday in a home contest against Clarkston.