Photo by Derrick Mahone
Drew coach Jarrett Laws is hoping for another big defensive effort from his team when it takes on Forest Park in the Region 4A-AAAAA opener on Thursday at Southern Crescent Stadium.
RIVERDALE — Under normal circumstances, Drew coach Jarrett Laws pulls for Mount Zion High to win football games.
This Friday will be a lot different as Laws will face his former employer at Southern Crescent Stadium in an important Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest.
“This will be the first time I’m not cheering for them in a game,” Laws said. “There is a big emotional factor here.”
None of the current players on the roster where coached by Laws, who spent the 2008 and ‘09 season as the head coach.
But it will be different for new Drew offensive coordinator Jamie Aull, who coached the Bulldogs the previous three seasons before coming over to Drew. Aull, a former all-state lineman at Mount Zion, previous served as the Mount Zion offensive coordinator at the school under Laws.
Laws jokes by calling Drew the Mount Zion North, because he has a deep connection to the program. Several of his assistant coaches worked with him at Mount Zion before he left to build the program at Drew, which is in its fourth year of existence.
Several former Mount Zion players usually make their way to Drew games to show support for Laws, who lead the team to the 2008 quarterfinals.
“It is nothing to see former Mount Zion players on our sideline or in the stands,” Laws said. “It is not a knock on Mount Zion, but I think they just want to show some love to me and my staff since we coached them.”
And the current players know about their coach’s Mount Zion past.
“The kids talk about it,” Laws said. “They tell me that they want respect for me. I think it is an emotional factor.”
Laws said it has been very “hurtful” to see the program struggle through this season. The Bulldogs enter the 7:30 p.m. game with an 0-7 record in Ervin Starr’s first season at the helm.
Starr previous coached at Rex Mill Middle, where he won a county middle school championship. Laws said he has a great deal of respect for Starr and believes he will turn the program around.
“Ervin Starr is a good coach,” Laws said. “Sometimes as a coach you have to tear down the building to rebuild the structure. It will take shape. They are just struggling right now.”
While Mount Zion is looking for its first win, Drew is trying to keep pace with region leaders Union Grove and Mundy’s Mill. The two teams play Friday at Union Grove with the winner taking sole possession of first place in Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A.
Drew lost 32-31 to Mundy’s Mill and host Union Grove on next week. The Titans still have a shot at first place in the subregion if they Union Grove wins and Ola defeats Mundy’s Mill next week.
“If we take care of our business,” Laws said. “It will increase our likelihood for success.”