STOCKBRIDGE - If you've followed football in Henry County, you've known for some time about Stockbridge football and the danger the program can bring to a team.
The athletes are always dangerous in the right system and a name that really showed up a lot over the course of 2018 was Isaiah Taylor. But he's graduated, and in his stead, a young brother poised to take over.
12 games are under Jalen Taylor's belt entering this year including a number of defensive appearances, Taylor is a safety and wide receiver and continues to get better. Especially because he has a goal to accomplish.
"My brother has set the bar high and knowing me, I am trying to top that," Taylor said of his brother's accomplishments. "He was a great wide receiver for Stockbridge and he taught me a lot of what I know now. So for me to top what he did would mean a lot to me and this program."
Taylor has been working every day to get better at what he does and knows that the comparisons to his brother are always going to be there. However, he wants to make a name for himself because of the work he's done. That's not to discount the work his team around him has done though.
"I wouldn’t be what I am without this team and the coaches around me," Taylor said. "Making a name for myself will make them proud."
With the defensive coach becoming the head coach, the defensive expectations that coach Steve Boyd hasn't changed.
"He has always been hard on everyone even when he wasn’t the head coach," Taylor said. "He just has a little more to say now because he knows that he has to be the voice of the team. But other than that, coach Boyd is going to be that great coach he’s always been."
Taylor has learned a bit more over the course of a year. Nothing is given to him and discipline and leadership are required if he hopes to do well. But there is some solidarity between Taylor and quarterback Jevon McDonald that he can rely on.
"Jevon and I have been playing with each other since eighth grade," Taylor said. "When we got to ninth grade, we discovered our connection as a receiver and quarterback and it went from there. But I think he thinks of me as a playmaker and a leader of this team and I can say the same about him."
The senior does have to contend with college recruitment this year but utilizing what his brother taught him could help. Working on his craft every day is how his brother taught him and he hopes to continue that.
"No matter how tired or lazy you get, if you want to be good at that specific thing it takes practice," Taylor said. "Practice makes perfect."