It's been a rocky road this season for the football team at Warren County High School.
There have been a host of personnel issues, which have caused the team to dwindle in numbers. The young, inexperienced team has had to cope with the fact that they don't have the overall talent of past years' teams.
Fan support has been down, too.
For certain, it's not been the same atmosphere that's it's been in Lee Hutto's two previous seasons at the helm of the varsity football team. But he and his staff have taken it in stride. Both players and coaches have continued to work hard to make the playoffs. And for the fourth year in a row, the Screaming Devils, the defending Region 4-A Champions, have accomplished their goal.
Last Friday night in the regular season finale at Albert J. Massey Field, the Screaming Devils bowed to the visiting Lincoln County Red Devils 41-7. The loss dropped Warren County's overall record to 4-6 this season, while Lincoln County improved to 9-1.
The Screaming Devils had been kept off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter when quarterback Tay Erwin discovered Antonio Benton open on a pass route. Benton caught the football for what turned out to be a nine-yard touchdown with 4:47 to play in the game. Benton, one of three seniors on the team, also kicked the extra point.
Erwin completed 4-9 passes for 76 yards. He also threw two interceptions.
Senior running back Kentrell Latimore led the Screaming Devils in rushing with 12-carries for 69 yards; while Coby Reynolds carried 11-times for 47 yards; and Erwin, 15-carries for 39 yards. Benton, meanwhile, caught two passes for 55 yards, while Edricus Williams caught one for 15 yards.
This Friday night, the Screaming Devils hit the road to Norcross to take on Wesleyan in the first-round of the Class A state football playoffs. Wesleyan recently captured their first-ever region football championship, defeating Athens Academy 17-7 to claim the Region 8-A title.
Once again, the Screaming Devils will find themselves facing another tough opponent. And again, it won't be easy, but it never is when teams make it into the state playoffs. As Coach Hutto has remarked in previous years it is playoff time and anything can happen. Other coaches have referred to the playoffs as "a second season" of sorts.
One thing is for sure when Warren County travels to Norcross this Friday night: Coach Hutto and his staff will have their team prepared. The rest will be totally up to their players.