WARRENTON - It was a mission - one to beat the Washington-Wilkes Tigers for the first time since 1970.
The mission was fulfilled by the Warren County High Screaming Devils as they soundly defeated the visiting Tigers 33-13 at Legion Field last Friday night to launch their 2007 football season.
"I'm really proud for our kids," Warren County Head Coach Lee Hutto said. "This is a great start to our football season. I was real proud of the way we executed - both offensively and defensively. We played hard and made some big plays. It was a little disappointing that we allowed them a couple of long touchdowns."
Coach Hutto, now in his second season at Warren County High School, believes his players have a confidence level this season that can take them a long way.
"You can see it in their faces and by the way they play that they are much more confident this season than they were last season," Coach Hutto said. "They are confident, because they believe in themselves."
Warren County dominated Washington-Wilkes throughout the game - both offensively and defensively. The Screaming Devils rolled up 401 total yards of offense to the Tigers' 257 yards. Warren County, working their ground game out of the Wing-T, accounted for 327 yards - the team being led by senior quarterback Tommy Seals, who rushed eight times for 107 yards.
The Screaming Devils ran through a banner that read: "Toast the Tigers" before hitting the field defensively to stop the Class AA Tigers on their first drive. It ended at the Warren County 28 on a fourth down and one - the second fourth down gamble of the drive.
On the second fourth down gamble, Warren County's defensive unit rose to the occasion to stop the Tigers. It came on a fourth down and six situation at the Warren County 23. Some of those on the defensive side of the ball for the Screaming Devils playing a large role in ending the Tigers' threat included Devon Walls, Darius Jenkins, Jonathan Lewis, Sean Heath, Tay Erwin, Reginald Johnson, Van Williams, Cedric Bacon, C.J. Williams and Tommy Seals.
The Screaming Devils, behind the engineering of Seals, started their first scoring drive after taking over the football on downs. A 77-yard sustained scoring drive ensued, culminating on the first play of the second quarter by a 6-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Van Williams. The extra point by C.J. Williams failed.
Leading 6-0, Williams kicked off to the Tigers, but a costly fumble on the attempted catch by Ty McGill gave the ball right back to the Screaming Devils at the Tigers' 38.
With 10:20 left in the first half, Seals fired a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Travis Burley to make it 12-0.
Because of a stubborn and determined defensive unit, Washington-Wilkes could get nothing going on their next drive, ending up punting the ball.
Once again, the Screaming Devils wasted no time moving the football. Eventually, they scored again on 6-yard run up the middle by junior halfback Kentrell Latimore. Freshman halfback Coby Reynolds ran for the two-point conversion, which built Warren County's lead to 20-0 by halftime.
The Screaming Devils scored two more times in the second half to increase their lead to 33-0 and ensured themselves a stunning upset over the Tigers.
Coby Reynolds scored his first varsity touchdown on a 25-yard run with 10:42 left in the third. The PAT by C.J. Williams made it 27-0.
The Screaming Devils mounted their last scoring drive after putting up another fine defensive stance against the Tigers that ended on a fourth down play at the Warren County 20. Erwin broke up a pass play that resulted in the Screaming Devils taking control of the football again.
Seals and company then attempted another scoring drive with him being the main attraction. On the first play from scrimmage, Seals carried the ball for a 16-yard gain. He then broke loose on a long run - his longest of the game - a 56-yard run that got the Screaming Devils all the way to the Tigers' 10. The threat ended when the Tigers managed to stop them on a fourth and three play at the 3.
The Tigers, realizing that they had to do something quick to at least avert a shutout, attempted to pass the ball. As it turned out, it was a bad decision. For Seals was there and picked it off at the Washington-Wilkes' 42.
Latimore later scored on a three-yard run with 10:34 left in the fourth quarter. The PAT by Williams was blocked.
Several younger players replaced veteran starters the rest of the game for Warren County. The Tigers took advantage and averted being kept off the scoreboard by scoring a pair of touchdowns afterwards.
Runs of 65 and 78 yards by freshman running back Eric Scott, got the Tigers into the end zone.
Warren County 33, Washington-Wilkes 13
Star of the game: Quarterback Tommy Seals rushed eight times for 107 yards and completed 3-for-7 passes for another 74 yards. Defensively, Warren County's Jonathan Lewis recorded seven tackles.
Play of the game: The Screaming Devils offensive and defensive lines simply dominated the line of scrimmage.
Up Next: Warren County (1-0) plays Swainsboro (1-0) in Swainsboro on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.