WARRENTON, Ga. — The brawl, the investigation, the retirement. And those playoff-costing defeats.
Since October, Warren County football has been through a turbulent time, most of it stemming from a postgame brawl with Hancock Central.
But all that is in the past now. The Screaming Devils are dreaming of a state playoff appearance and a Region 7-A championship.
“When you’ve been through everything that could go wrong, there’s nothing to do but do right,” senior Noah Lewis said. “We know what it takes to win. When we hit that wall, we know how to climb over it now.”
Coach David Daniel, who was injured during the brawl, retired this past week to focus on his health.
Zach Houston is taking over the offensive coordinator duties and will serve as athletic director. Houston was previously an assistant at Henry County. The team won’t have a head coach this season.
Houston said he applied for a job in Warren County “on a whim” as he saw an opportunity for advancement.
“I think we can do great,” Houston said. “I think we have great athletes here, especially for the size of the school.”
The Screaming Devils enter this season looking to erase the disappointment of missing the playoffs last year.
Warren County opened 4-0 in 2011 and won six of its first seven games with a three-point road loss to Lincoln County the only blemish. But losses in consecutive games to Washington-Wilkes and Wilkinson County cost the Screaming Devils a playoff berth. The win against Aquinas – which reached the quarterfinals – in the season finale couldn’t salvage a postseason spot.
But this season, as Class A splits into different playoffs for the public and private schools, Warren County knows it can’t repeat that late-season slump.
“We feel like that’s one of the reasons we didn’t make the playoffs,” senior Damien Clarke said. “This year we want to be sure we do make it.”