Photo by Derrick Mahone
On Monday, Lovejoy defensive coordinator Kevin Jones was named the new coach at Dutchtown.
HAMPTON — Kevin Jones walked into the room at Dutchtown High School and saw almost 100 high school football players with wide eyes and attentive stares. With his first in-person look at the Bulldogs team since being hired as their next head coach, Jones saw a program in better shape than the one he encountered at Lovejoy in 2007.
But Jones said he wants to get Dutchtown into shape like Lovejoy where he was defensive coordinator the past six seasons that included back-to-back state runner-up finishes.
“I only know one way to do it,” Jones said, “and our goal is to play 15 games and play in the state championship in the Georgia Dome. That is our mainstay goal.”
Jones takes over for Jason Galt, who left to become head coach at North Forsyth after six seasons at Dutchtown. Before Galt arrived the young Bulldogs program had not had a winning season. Dutchtown finished 6-4 this past season, its third winning season in the past four, including an 11-2 campaign in 2010 that ended in the Class AAAA quarterfinals against eventual state champion Chattahoochee.
Jones wasn’t too far during Dutchtown’s rise to competitiveness. He lives in Hampton. His kids attend Dutchtown High School and Dutchtown Middle School. And he was working just across the county border helping turn Lovejoy into one of the top teams in the state.
“I’ve kind of been familiar with how things were going with their program, the highs and lows,” Jones said. “Dutchtown has always been good every year. They’ve always been one of those teams that were a few things away from being very good.”
Lovejoy emerged into a dominant team during Jones’ tenure as defensive coordinator. The past three seasons Lovejoy went 37-4, posted 15 shutouts, won three straight region championships, reached the Class AAAA and AAAAAA finals and sent countless players off to college. The Wildcats’ defense built a reputation as frenetic and suffocating with superior speed and produced last two all-state defensive players of the year in Jermaine Hough and Nathaniel Norwood.
Lovejoy allowed just 6.8 points per game on its run to the Georgia Dome last season.
Dutchtown allowed 24.3 points per game and missed the state playoffs for the second straight year.
“[Defense] is what I’m ready to hang my hat on,” Jones said. “I can’t wait until spring practice, because I think what’s going to change for Dutchtown kids is defense is almost like a religion. ... It’s just a way of life to be able to deny people the way to do some things. That’s going to be the signature for Dutchtown football.”
Jones’ only head coaching experience was one 7-3 season at Riverdale in 2006. Prior to that he coached at Clarkston, Columbia and Redan in DeKalb County.
Now, he gets a chance to make Dutchtown his own.
“They looked like a group that’s ready to work. I felt eagerness when I came in to meet them [Tuesday] morning,” Jones said. “I literally told them from the film I’ve seen they’re not very far from being a great team. But I want to build a great program.”