DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The Austin Black Bears didn’t get off to the start they were hoping for, dropping their first two games. But then once region play started, the Black Bears turned it up and are the only undefeated team in 7A region 4. And on Friday night, the defense came to play as Austin got a big win over 6A powerhouse Gardendale. For that, Austin is the week five Tyler Mann Team of the Week!

“We prepared well and we talked about just finishing, executing, starting fast, we talked about the things it would take to win the football game. We felt like it would be a playoff-type atmosphere in the middle of the season and it ended up being that. And they’re different, they’re a Birmingham team we don’t see very often so when we play in the playoffs, we’ll have the same type of matchup, a team that we don’t see regularly,” Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins said.

“We were going to respect them, but we weren’t going to fear them. We were going in to play, we were going to play them like any other team that we’re going to play the rest of the season. It’s a big win, they’re a very unfamiliar team to us, we haven’t played them before so going into the game, we just had to stay with our techniques, stay with what our coaches are teaching us and play,” Austin senior linebacker Druce Clarke Jr. added.

“It gave us way more confidence now, now we can see what we need to work on and see what we did well so we can build on that and keep on getting better. Those first two losses, I felt like we shouldn’t have lost those games but we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, now we’ve just got to keep on working because we aren’t trying to have those losses like we did at the beginning of the season,” Austin senior quarterback De’Air Young said.

“We’re trying to grow through the struggles and we had struggles in the ballgame just like we’ve had struggles every week. We’re trying to learn from those and then build on the positives. We’ve got to stay humble, not get big heads and think we’ve all of a sudden arrived. We’ve got to keep on working and use the ingredients that helped us win these last few ballgames and they’ve got to prepare themselves to be the best version of themselves, every single day,” Perkins added.

Austin will be back in action this Friday, Sept. 30, hosting Grissom in a region game.