DACULA — A football game that drew attention statewide was another day at the office for five Dacula football players.
The Falcons’ offensive line paved the way to huge numbers in a dominant, 56-21 victory last Friday at two-time defending state champion Lee County, and the guys doing the dirty work up front performed as they expected, as they have all season.
“To be honest, it just felt like another game,” Dacula center Riley Adcock said of the Class AAAAAA quarterfinal.
The stats were at another level, though. Against difficult competition, No. 1-ranked Dacula rolled up a staggering 725 yards of offense — 522 on the ground and 203 through the air.
“It was pretty impressive, even sitting there watching it was pretty impressive,” Dacula head coach Clint Jenkins said. “You’ve got to credit those (offensive line) guys. They’re kind of what we’re about. They’re a tough group, blue collar, just come to work every day. They’re pretty nasty. We like that in our offensive linemen.”
Adcock and his fellow linemen — guards Mohamoud Diallo and Adam Watkins, and tackles Jake Royals and Micaiah Umenyiora — led the way for Dacula’s potent offense long before last week. The Falcons average 40.9 points, 277.5 rushing yards and 183.9 passing yards, and their three top running backs have totaled more than 3,000 rushing yards.
The fivesome is a big reason why the team is back in the AAAAAA Final Four — it hosts fellow unbeaten Harrison on Friday — and hunting for the program’s first state championship.
“Our whole offensive line has been a tribe inside a tribe, just working together,” Adcock said. “Micaiah and Mohamoud stepped up after we had a few guys go down and they stepped up in big roles with no drop off. We’ve even stepped up our game since then. Just working with them is fun. We have a good time, working, moving people. We just do what we’ve been doing. Coach says nothing can happen without us.”
Royals and Umeniyora are tall, bookend tackles. Diallo, 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, is the smallest of the group, while fellow guard Watkins is a two-way presence and a state champion thrower in track and field.
Adcock is a two-time all-county selection who makes the group click.
“Riley’s definitely our leader up front,” Jenkins said. “He really studies the game. His whole approach, he takes everything really seriously. He really does a great job with the game plan. Riley’s our guy up there. He kind of quarterbacks that offensive front. He’s also the guy who gets on them when he needs to get on them. Riley is a great example of what you want as an offensive lineman. To me, he’s kind of a throwback guy. He plays the game the right way.”
Jenkins credited the work of offensive line coach Jed Aldridge for his work with the group. Aldridge was the Falcons’ defensive line coach under previous head coach Tommy Jones, but Jenkins switched him to offense when he became head coach before the 2018 season.
In two seasons in charge, Aldridge has made his mark on the other side of the ball.
“(Aldridge) will be tough on you,” Adcock said. “He’s very good on correcting. One thing I know I can always go to him with is if I have a question about anything on the offense, the little steps, the little techniques. You know he can help you on those. He sees almost everything. He can help you with steps, making sure you do everything right, all the little things that you do wrong.”
Dacula’s linemen didn’t do much wrong in last week’s win at Lee County. They still have higher goals, though.
“We want to grade out an average of 93, 94 (this week),” Adcock said. “As a group, pancake blocks, probably about 30 pancakes. Finishing blocks. Last week we didn’t do so great on (pancakes), so I’d like us to step that back up.”