|High School||Warner Robins Demons|
|Head Coach||Bryan Way|
|Team Colors||Cardinal & White|
|Offensive System||Wing T|
Sure, Roswell and Peachtree Ridge were the Class AAAAA State Champions in 2006, and rightfully so. Both schools had outstanding seasons before settling for a 14-14 tie in the championship game. However, the "Most Accomplished Team" award for the 2006 season should go to the Warner Robins Demons.
Not only did Warner Robins move up a Class, but they moved into what some consider the most competitive region in Class AAAAA history. Not only did they contend in Region 1-AAAAA, but they finished with a (4-2) record and qualified for the state playoffs. With wins over Mundy's Mill, Camden County (10-2), and Norcross (12-1), the Demons were finally eliminated in the playoffs by Peachtree Ridge, the eventual co-champions, 13-7.
"We played in a lot more games than people thought we would, including myself," said Bryan Way, who will be entering his fourth season as the head coach at Warner Robins. "We had some good players, but overall, we probably weren't the most talented team. Even though we ended up with five losses, we wound up (9-5). You have to consider that a success with the number of games we played and the competition that we played against. It was a very tough schedule in the region, as well as outside the region."
"I feel like we got as much out of that team as we could have possibly gotten. I'm very proud of them. We have great kids that work real hard and they think they're suppose to win. That's very very important and I'm very blessed to have the opportunity to coach them."
Warner Robins had 38 seniors on last years team. The Demons will have 26 seniors in 2007 which includes a good group of guys up front on both sides of the ball. However, skill players on both offense and defense are going to be very inexperienced. That will be the major concern for Coach Bryan Way and his coaching staff this season.
"We like to set our goals high," said coach Way. "Everybody wants to win the state championship and that's our goal. We have to play some guys that are going to be really inexperienced, especially at the skill positions. They're very talented, but they haven't been in the fire a whole lot. You don't know how they're going to react until they get there."
"We've been preparing real hard and working real hard all summer long. We are very excited about the upcoming season. It just depends on how quickly these young kids can grow up and mature as to how good were going to be. I'm excited about it. I think we've got a chance to be pretty good."
Offense: Warner Robins will rely heavily on the their running game which features a lot of misdirection out of their traditional Wing T formation. When they do throw, it's mostly play-action passes in running type situations. Whenever they are forced into a passing situation, it usually spells disaster for the Demons.
The Demons have three returning starters on the offensive line including 6-foot-4, 330-pound tackle, Robbie Bailey. Most of the guys up front have experience and should be better than last year. Wide receiver Laureal Richardson (Right) should prove to be a valuable weapon in the Demons passing game. Richardson had 6 receptions for 115 yards as a junior averaging 19.2 yards per catch. At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, he's got tremendous speed, good jumping ability, and he's an exceptional athlete.
"We have to be much more consistent on offense than we were last year," said coach Way. "We went through periods during games where we didn't move the ball very effectively. I know a lot of it had to do with who we were playing. We played a lot of good defenses, but we have to be a little bit more consistent with both our running and our passing."
"I think having a veteran offensive line is gonna help, especially with our young backs. I think we do have a little bit more speed and size in our backfield than we had last year, but they haven't played that much when it counted. The main thing is we have to execute overall and be more consistent throughout the year."
Defense: Warner Robins will base their defense out of a 4-3, but they will change it up occasionally. They'll play with a five man front every now and then. They're mostly readers and not penetrators. They do not blitz very often, but instead, they hit and react.
The Demons have three out of four returning starters on the defensive line and the fourth guy was a part time starter last year. Their leading tacklers, linebackers Brian Buford and Roderick Rose will have to be replaced. They're hoping for strong play from linebacker Ventrinyer Miller.
"Brian and Roderick are two big holes that we have to fill, but we've got guys that have some game experience there and some ability," said coach Way. "We feel like they're going to step in and do a good job for us. We are going to be breaking in two new corners. We've got to do a real good job of coaching those guys up a little bit. We've just got to make sure they use the proper fundamentals, good technique, and do whatever we ask them to do."
"We really feel good about our defense, with our athleticism. We've got decent size and pretty good foot speed overall. We really try to emphasize not giving up big plays. If our defense can make the offense have to work, and not give up big plays, then more often than not, they're going to stop themselves. We try to play a good sound defense, and normally if we can do that, then we have a pretty good chance to win."
Special Teams: One thing for sure, special teams are of no concern for Coach Way and his coaching staff this season. Junior kicker, David Clark (Right) is likely to shatter every school kicking record at Warner Robins. Clark currently holds the school record for longest field goal (50) and most FG's kicked in a season with (12).
Region Outlook: It just doesn't get any better than this. High School football at it's best. I'm talking about Region 1-AAAAA football and you better bring your "A" game every week if you expect to keep your head above water. Just ask Valdosta, Lowndes and Coffee, they're the teams that drowned in 2006. All four Region 1-AAAAA playoff teams won their first-round games including two schools (Warner Robins and Tift County) advanced to the state semi-finals.
"It's certainly the toughest region we've ever played in," said coach way. "I know this sounds crazy, but it's a lot of fun as well. The games are fun anyway. Football is very important to every town and every school in our region. It's a great atmosphere for the kids. They're always big crowds there and the games mean something. If you're lucky enough to get out of the region and into the playoffs, your not going to play to many teams a whole lot better than the teams you played all year. So for those of us that are lucky enough to get out, we're pretty battle-tested and pretty much gonna be ready for the playoffs."
2007 Football Schedule
Sep 01 Camden County
Sep 07 Northside, Warner Robins
Sep 15 Central Gwinnett
Sep 22 Beach
Sep 28 @ Houston County*
Oct 13 Valdosta*
Oct 19 @ Coffee *
Oct 26 Tift County *
Nov 02 @ Colquitt County *
Nov 09 Lowndes*
* Region Game
Key Game: Sept. 7th vs. Northside, Warner Robins