50-in-50: Mays begins Corey Jarvis era

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Corey Jarvis is used to stepping into tough coaching situations and being successful.

In 2005 he took over at M.L. King, filling the shoes of Ken Barrow, who captained one of the most successful starts to a football program in state history by leading the Lions to a record of 25-12 in their first three seasons. Jarvis went 49-11 in five seasons with playoff appearances in all five.

Then Jarvis moved on to Duluth, where the team had gone an abysmal 6-54 in the six seasons prior to his arrival. Though the Wildcats didn’t make the playoffs or finish with a .500 record, Jarvis led them to twice as many wins (12) in just three seasons as they had achieved in the previous six.

Now Jarvis will take on another challenge at Mays, a program known for never quite getting as much success out of its talent as it should. The Raiders have made the playoffs in seven of the last 10 years but have advanced past the first round just three times in that span.

“I have a lot of respect for what coach [Dominic] Callaway did,” Jarvis said of his predecessor, who went 35-18 in five seasons with three trips to the post season, competing in one of the state’s toughest regions – 6AAAAA. “But a lot of people feel like the program has underachieved over the years. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s out there as far as Mays is concerned.”

Jarvis plans to change that, but he knows it won’t be easy. He has plenty of upgrades in store for the program, on the field, in the weight room and in the school’s hallways.

“The first thing we’re working on is getting stronger. You would think we would be a lot stronger than we are with all the athletes we have,” Jarvis said. “And the next thing is the discipline piece. We’re not letting them get away with some of the things they’ve been used to getting away with, and that goes for in school, too.”

So far the buy-in has been there. Jarvis said the program’s numbers have dwindled a bit, coinciding with a slight decline in overall enrollment. But he’s seeing more players come in each day and has about 70 on the roster now, with an incoming ninth grade class of more than 25.

“We’ve had a couple of players, and parents, who’ve had some complaints, but for the most part everyone has been receptive,” Jarvis said of the heightened discipline and attention to detail he and his staff are instilling at the southwest Atlanta school. “Our numbers are getting back to where they need to be.”

On the field, Jarvis will go with what has been successful for him in the past – a 4-3 defense and a commitment to running the football, after having to go with more spread concepts on offense at Duluth.

“We just didn’t have the backs or the line to be able to consistently run the ball,” Jarvis said. “But here I think it’s something we will be able to get back to.”

That will start with a stout offensive line, led by sophomore Dallas Womack, the younger brother of Alabama All-American – and former Westlake High School star – Chance Womack, who many believe will be one of the first to have his name called in the upcoming NFL Draft. The younger Womack will team with juniors Cameron Brittain and Mason Sims up front, while the Tyler brothers – Roderick, a junior, and Kessley, a sophomore – who transferred from Washington High School, look to be the primary ball carriers.

Meanwhile, three sophomores are vying for the quarterback spot – Ayiende Russell, Cornelius Griffin, and Silas Bailey, who reportedly can throw the ball effectively with either hand.

Defensively, linebacker Shiheim Rutherford will lead the charge, with help from safety Henry Witherspoon and cornerback Jerome Smith.

The new Raiders will get tested early and often as they open with city rival Carver, which went 9-2 last season, before embarking on the gauntlet that is Region 6AAAAA, which includes Southwest Dekalb, Stephenson, Tucker, Miller Grove and Jarvis’ former employer, M.L. King.

“When I took the job, people told me I was leaving the SEC of AAAAAA and going to the SEC of AAAAA,” Jarvis said, referring to Region 7-AAAAAA, which includes state-champion Norcross, North Gwinnett, Mill Creek and Collins Hill. “But I think, eventually, our kids will be able to match up with anybody we play.”

Mays Raiders

2012 record: 5-5 (5-4 in Region 6AAAAA; failed to make the playoffs)

Starters returning: 4 on offense, 4 on defense

Key players lost: LB Michael Cheeks, RB Eric Farley, LB Gemini Jackson, QB Tre Jones, S Khalil Osborne, WR D’Angelo Yancy and C Kevin Reid

Key players returning: DT Brandon Bradley, OL Cameron Brittain, WR Tyshawn Brown, DE/OL Natrez Patrick, LB Shiheim Rutherford, OL Mason Sims, CB Jerome Smith, S Henry Witherspoon, OL Dallas Womack

Spring practice dates: May 6-17

Schedule:

Aug. 31 vs. Carver, Atlanta (Lakewood)

Sept. 6 at Miller Grove (Hallford)

Sept. 13 vs. M.L. King (Lakewood)

Sept. 20 at Southwest DeKalb (Hallford)

Sept. 27 at North Atlanta (Lakewood)

Oct. 11 vs. Arabia Mountain (Lakewood)

Oct. 18 at Dunwoody (Adams)

Oct. 25 vs. Lakewood, DeKalb (Lakewood)

Nov. 1 at Stephenson (Hallford)

Nov. 8 vs. Tucker (Hallford)

Outlook: Mays loses a significant amount of talent to graduation, including D’Angelo Yancy, arguably the state’s best receiver, who is heading to Purdue, and the quarterback position is a question mark. But if the returning players – and parents – buy into Jarvis’ program, which means dedication to discipline and the weight room, the Raiders have enough talent to surprise and steal one of the four playoff spots in Region 6AAAAA.

11 comments Add your comment

William

March 30th, 2013
10:42 pm

First. You would think with all the athletes Mays would be better. Here’s hoping they are.

S. Thomas Coleman

March 30th, 2013
11:27 pm

@William: I think Coach Jarvis and his staff will have them right before too long.

MakeThe Call

March 31st, 2013
8:27 am

Mays does not have the players everyone thinks they have. If you look at the college signees from this class you will see. The team under Coach Calloway competed in arguably the toughest region in the state. Mays needs help but a new coach isn’t the solution you have many schools around the state that have big time players every year and have not won state. I guess everyone of the principals and AD’s at those schools should fire all the Head Coaches.If Mays does not have a record that exceeds 500 they will get rid of Coach Jarvis and bring in one of the Harbaugh brothers. Coach Jarvis is not the answer!

Dekalb Co Guy

March 31st, 2013
8:39 am

@Make The Call

College signees dont have much to do with winning high school football games. Many teams compete for championships every year with maybe 2 or 3 college prospects. Callaway did a good job at Mays. Obviously, there probably was some disconnect with the administration. Without a doubt, Mays was a good football team though their record didnt show it, they were 5-5 with all 5 losses to playoffs teams and no loss was greater than 7 points. That does show that they were close to winning ball games. The feeling I got from Mays fans and alumni was that they can never win the big game. they always came up short and that was a big part of why Callaway was replaced.

MakeThe Call

March 31st, 2013
10:26 am

@ Dekalb Co Guy I understand what you are saying but players have to make plays no exception. If your coach has taught you the proper way to execute a play and you go out and do the wrong thing over and over who is at fault? sometimes in sports at every level good teams do not win because they simply do not have the talent that their opponents have. MLK,Stephenson,SWD and others have Players year in and year out Mays doesn’t. The same mentioned teams go to the playoffs and never get over the hump and win a state title and their coaches have stayed in place except for MLk and Coach Godfrey chose to step down. In my opinion Mays is going to fall really hard because things were done the wrong way and Jarvis is not the saviour.

BcS2010

March 31st, 2013
11:04 am

Even with the new coach Mays will b competing for the 4th playoff seed with miller grove and SWD. I think they could come 3rd at best because Mlk will b a little down due to the new Coach and his system but they still should finish 3rd. This is Tucker and Stephensons region this year with 4 teams fighting for the final 2 seeds but really 3 teams fighting for 1 seed because mlk should still finish 8-2 or 7-3

Dekalb Co Guy

March 31st, 2013
12:13 pm

@Make The Call

Yeah the players have to make the plays. Coaches cant make the plays for them if the players keep messing up even though they are taught differently. But on what level of competition are players fired? Coaches are always going to be the one held accountable for a team’s failings. High school, college or pro. The team didnt do as well as the powers that be felt they should, so he was let go.

As far as level of talent…you say Mays doesnt have the players that the Tuckers and Stephensons, have? That is a hard thing to guage. Sure Stephenson and MLK generally get their kids more scholarships than other schools and have had some really sought after college recruits. But I dont think that is because they have significantly more talent than Mays. Mays has as good of athletes and players as anyone in their general area. And off topic but some of that “elite talent” that the MLK, Tucker and Stephenson get transfer in anyway. Nothing you can do about that. Also, Tucker and South Dekalb both have solid youth football programs. IT allows the talent kids and chance to develop and hone those skills which eventually lead to that “perceived overabudance of talent” which you seem to feel exist at those schools. And as far as the “eyeball” test goes, I saw Mays play both Stephenson and MLK last year. They didnt beat the Raiders because they had “lots more talent”. They made the plays, and executed when they had to, and Mays didnt.

dekalbFB1

April 1st, 2013
6:06 pm

Mays may want to employ a education coach to assist Coach Jarvis with grades of the players. I think Mays has and had the talent to win. Build a strong Booster Club/Touchdown Club, obtain sponsors, have players and parents support. I promise you will see immediate positive results!

FootballTopFan

April 1st, 2013
9:20 pm

FootballTopFan(c)would like to wish the Mays Raiders and Coach Corey Jarvis the best of luck and success !!!

Mays sports has unlimited potential.

Maize High

April 1st, 2013
9:51 pm

@ dekalbFB1 …. This is Mays grades aren’t problem at Mays. Generally the team carries a
GPA any 3 t0 3.3 as team avg. If Jarvis can get the team in the weight room, which may be the biggest problem…. Mays will be ok. But it hard for guys to weight room when you have B/C Calculus, AP English and, you 4hr of sleep from studying allnight.

Mays Maniac

April 3rd, 2013
1:26 pm

Were Back!!! I love this energy that the New Coach has brought to the “Hill” , Everybody is excited even the staff, we support the new venture Mays is about to embark on WINNING all the way. The Hill Is Real!!! Welcome Coach Jarvis