Valdosta gives thanks and looks ahead to 2004

In high school sports Valdosta high football is unparalleled. The Cats tradition stands up with any prep football power in the country. In the past couple of years the Cats have been less than great.

Enter new coach Rick Darlington and it is clear that Valdosta is back.

Make no mistake Rick Darlington wasn't hired to rebuild the Valdosta high football program, former coach Mike O'Brien left the tradition rich Cats with a winning percentage of over 80%, he was however expected to watch over a football renaissance, after a state runner up finish Saturday night, Mission accomplished

"We are about winning championships", says Darlington, "but more than that we are about making our community proud, making our mommas and daddys proud, i felt like this team did that this year"

The cats started 1-3 this season, hardly a start becoming of Valdosta football, but they say its not how you start, its how you finish ... In that respect the Cats were near perfect

"I think this team will be remembered for its character, to go from 1-3 to where we finished, that shows this teams character", says Darlington.

There is no doubt that the 2003 Valdosta Wildcats overachieved, never the less the bar has been set ... Its a bar Coach "D" plans on jumping over in 2004.

"We plan on taking this thing one step further and finishing the job off next year."

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