Antoine Atwater is the head coach of the Jackson Tigers. Atwater recently sat down with 1010XL to preview the upcoming season, but also to talk about the recently struggles Jackson has experienced on the field.
“A lot of it has been with the change of administration and losing coaches every other year,” Atwater told 1010XL. “A lot of kids these days, they want stability. They want to know that they can go to your program, develop and make them a better man by the time they leave your program.
“So, for me it’s a culture change and trying to change a culture takes time. You have to know as an administration that you have to give that coach time to change the program.
“With the administration we have there, they are great, they support us and give us anything we need to try and help us bring more kids to the program. I know the program is going in a better direction.”
Atwater is entering his second season on the job with Jackson and says there is one big difference from this year’s team that was not there in 2017.
“Definitely experience, we are going to have 16 seniors and a lot of those guys played last year so they now have that experience. We got some guys man, we are going to shock some teams because we got some guys.
“Last year was about trying to compete, this year our mentality is state or bust. That should be any school’s mentality, state or bust.”
For those that follow high school football, they remember how much of a home field advantage Jackson enjoyed in the late 90’s and early 2000’s back when Leon Washington was running the ball for the Tigers.
How does Jackson regain that home field advantage?
“It starts with the school and trying to get the kids to come out to the game,” Atwater said. “Really it starts with winning because if you win people are going to want to come to the game and see you play.”
Atwater did not shy away from what his expectations for his Jackson football team entering 2018.
“I definitely think we will make the playoffs,” Atwater said. “That’s not me being biased. I think that with the talent that we have, we have some talented kids. My mindset now is to get this kids ready because we have a schedule that is pretty beneficial to us to win some games.
“You win some games than kids want to come be a part of your program and want to be a part of something special.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)