Dalton High School running back Jahmyr Gibbs isn't overly concerned about state rushing titles, setting scoring records or eclipsing 2,000 yards on the ground this season.
His preferred goal for 2019 -- to be at 1 AMB Drive N.W., Atlanta, GA 30313 in December. That's the address of the Mercedes-Benz Arena, where the state high school football championship games are played.
"The state championship is what I've been dreaming of my whole life," said Gibbs, who verbally committed to Georgia Tech in May. "We want to finish the season in the Benz."
The team -- not personal accolades -- is what the standout tailback is focused on, even after exploding for 420 yards and eight touchdowns on 23 carries last Friday night in the Catamounts' season-opening 62-10 win at Ringgold. After making headlines with his eye-popping performance, Gibbs focused on his teammates who helped make it happen.
"I knew I could do it, I just wasn't expecting it," Gibbs said Tuesday before practice at Dalton High. "I knew it was possible because of what a great o-line I have. Anything is possible with them. They bust their tails every day and I want to do the same for them."
The game was out of reach by the end of the third quarter when he was taken out. Gibbs wasn't aware he was only 65 yards away from breaking the state high school single-game rushing record. Pepperell's Devyn Collins holds that record with 485 yards against Rockmart in 2014.
If a penalty had not wiped out Gibbs' 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, he would possibly have the state single-game rushing record. For now, he'll settle for ninth on that list. He bumped Champ Bailey of Charlton County to No. 10. Bailey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in July and played 15 seasons in the NFL. Gibbs' performance is believed to the most yards rushing in a single game in Dalton history, which dates back to 1924.
As the night wore on, Dalton head coach Matt Land debated when to take Gibbs out of the game. He had to balance several factors. No matter the score, Land said his starters will always play three quarters. He had to gauge Gibbs' desire to get the ball -- Land said "and all the good ones want it" -- as well as the "conditions" of the game, meaning how many hits Gibbs had taken. He had only taken one significant hit, Land said. Also, he kept in mind sportsmanship.
It was a tough decision, but when the fourth quarter started Gibbs' night was over. While Land would have loved for Gibbs to set the state rushing record, he is nonetheless thrilled with the huge night that went down in Dalton football lore.
"He earned that night," Land said.
Before his big night, Gibbs was already on the radar of many college coaches. He's received at least 15 scholarship offers to Power 5 schools such as LSU, Michigan and most recently Southern Cal. Gibbs plans to visit several schools this fall. The 5-11, 190-pounder is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com.
Senior left guard Brant Bagley had a front row view of the record-setting night. Along with his fellow offensive lineman, wide receivers and other blockers, Bagley helped pave Gibbs' way to the end zone time after time.
"We take the mindset that if he's scoring, we're doing our job," Bagley said. "We all know that we're not going to be the ones in the spotlight so we let him take that for us. He's real good about always giving us credit. He's always the first one to come up and tell us good job after he scores."
The offensive line had extra motivation to see Gibbs succeed. Before the game, Bagley said Gibbs made a joke that if he rushed for two touchdowns and 200 yards, he would buy the offensive line a box of doughnuts.
Apparently the guys up front didn't take it as a joke.
"It was definitely pushing us the more he kept scoring," Bagley said. "Once we got to that, we said we're going to double it and get two boxes of doughnuts, so we were definitely wanting to block harder and get downfield so he could score."
Gibbs made good on his bet -- and them some. He bought the offensive line three boxes of doughnuts.
"That's insane no matter who you're playing," Bagley said. "I know people are saying (Class) 6A school (Dalton) vs. (Class) 3A school (Ringgold), but there are still 11 guys out there trying to tackle him. He was doing something special, that's for sure."
Land wasn't completely surprised with Gibbs' fast start to the season. After all, he returned the opening kickoff of the first game last season for a touchdown. He finished the season as the Daily Citizen-News All Area Football Player of the Year, accounting for 1,895 total yards on the ground and 22 touchdowns. Land, who has known Gibbs since he was in kindergarten, sensed his star player was set for great things this season.
"The thing that resonates to me is that this is not something that is coincidence," Land said. "It's not an anomaly. He's worked so hard in the offseason from the weight training to the mental part of the game to the actual craft of the game. I've always said if you can take a great athlete and they can work like the average athlete that wants to be great, you've really got something special. That's Jahmyr. He wants to be the best he can be."