AUGUSTA, Ga. - FOX54's Trent Butler teams up with Aquinas High School head coach James Leonard in this week's 1 on 1.

Trent: “Time once again for our 1 on 1 segment...and Aquinas Head Coach James Leonard…11th season right.”
Coach Leonard: “Yes sir.”

Trent: “Awesome thank you for your time. Good start so far two wins on the young season
tell us about your observations about the team so far?”

Coach: “2-0 so you are proud of them um still got a lot of work to do though you know losing your best player third quarter of the first game is never easy. Played a heck of a Westside team last week. Um, but you know we still got some guys coming back from injuries that are slowly getting healthy but we are excited about this year’s team.”

Trent: “Don’t want to dwell on the negative but you lose a guy like Clark Jackson you were telling me earlier. Really one of the best players in the entire area. A guy that can play division 1 college football. You can’t really replace a guy like that so how do you approach that as a coach as far as is it running back by committee or do you have some folks who can step up. Of course, you always ask you guys, you gotta step up?”

Coach: “You know on offense it'll definitely be by committee. Christian cates will be our one back. Which with Clark playing both ways, Christian was going to be the number one back anyway. Clark just did so much on both sides of the ball and special teams. But what I’m proud of the most Clark is still our team captain. He's still at every practice. Still very involved. He does a great job keeping up the guys and getting the guys motivated so we are very proud of Clark. Defensively Wes Michaelson is stepping up big time for us. Junior Chris Jackson stepped up huge for us last week. Had a great game. Senior Frank Anderson and Copland Thurmond are stepping up. We knew we had depth going into this year. You know you never want to lose your best player. Proud of our guys stepping up.”

Trent: “Sounds like it. Heading onto the road. Hope you have a safe trip to Savannah. They are 2 and 0 just like you on the season. You said they are bigger than you guys right now, how do you counteract that when a team is larger upfront.”

Coach: “Yeah you know I think everybody we play this year will be bigger but savannah country day is much bigger. We've beaten them the past two years. So, I know they will be very motivated. It’s their first home game this week. They have a heck of a team. Their new coach who came in two years ago has down an unbelievable job. A really good guy. So, you know we are expecting a war. We are going to have to go down there and play our best game to get another W.”

Trent: “You win the game if you do what?”

Coach: “If we protect the football. We turned it over on downs and turned it over period last week so we cannot have any turnovers. We need to minimize how many times we are punting. Their offense is too good to give them any extra possessions. You know our defense has been playing strong all the way through the scrimmage. But offense has got to step it up and protect the ball a little better.”

Trent: “You know Alabama Coach Nick Saban would call this rat poison but before Clark went down a lot of people were saying this was one of the best teams Aquinas has had in many years. When you hear things like that its gotta make you feel good but also I know you gotta focus. Keep rolling. 2-0 start. Which is positive.”

Coach: “We feel like we still have a really good team. You know losing Clark definitely hurts but again like I said with Clark doing what he's done for us we are very happy with Clark. Like I said we still have a couple guys coming back from injuries Zaire Douglas is a big time player for us...Tyler Hegler is coming back so getting some guys back from injury is going to be really big for us.”

Trent: “Alright coach thanks so much we appreciate your time and good luck against Savannah Country day.”

Coach: “Thank y'all for being here.”