With high school teams all over the state switching to the flavor-of-the-day spread offense, the Stockbridge Tigers continue to have success with their tried and true old-school approach.
The No. 2-ranked Tigers (13-0) reached the semifinals this week against Rome by employing a triple-option attack, just like the one coach Paul Johnson uses at Georgia Tech. It makes sense, though, since Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley was around the triple option throughout his All-America career at Georgia Southern.
“Every coach has the way he likes to do things,” Whitley said. “A lot of teams have gone to the spread, but we’re going to stay with things we’re comfortable doing.”
Whitley has taken Stockbridge to the heights of success since he arrived in 2009. In his eight seasons as head coach, the Tigers are 75-24 and have posted double-digit wins for five straight seasons. This year the Tigers are 13-0 and playing in the semifinals for the second time. Stockbridge plays at No. 4 Rome on Friday night.
“We’re just trying to get better and better every week,” Whitley said. “The kids have been working hard.”
And they’ve done it by stressing fundamentals and hard work. The offense has gotten progressively better as the season has rolled along. The defense has gotten better and limited Griffin to 34 points in a quarterfinal win.
“We’re not a fancy team,” Whitley said. “We try to do the simple things well … tackle well, take care of the ball.”
The offense is led by quarterback Kenderick Duncan, a senior who has been in the program four years and started at safety. This is his first year to start at quarterback and he’s thrown for 949 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 602 yards and seven touchdowns.
Duncan missed almost a month with a foot injury and junior Gabriel McKenzie stepped in to lead the team. McKenzie has thrown for 390 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 126 yards and one touchdown.
“I feel good with those two at the quarterback position,” Whitley said.
The strength is the rushing game, led by senior Jalen Holston. He has rushed for 1,296 yards and 14 touchdowns and has surpassed 100 yards on six occasions. Jordan brown has run for 446 yards and five touchdowns. The Tigers average 238 yards on the ground and 334.9 yards per game.