Christmas came early this year for Coach Lee Hutto and his group of Screaming Devils from Warren County High.
The Devils overcame a 14-point deficit in the first quarter and a 15-point deficit in the third quarter last Friday night to defeat the Hancock Central Bulldogs 34-27 in the final regular season game for both squads. With this win, the Screaming Devils nailed down second place in Region 7-A, but more importantly, they will now play host to their first state playoff game for the school since 1968.
And that game will be played at The Brickyard in Thomson Saturday night. Warren County's game against the Bowdon Red Devils starts at 7 p.m
"Bowdon High School is one of the top Class A programs in the state," said Coach Hutto. "The Red Devils have a lot of history and tradition in their football program, and they are a very disciplined and well coached team."
This will be the second time in as many years that the Screaming Devils have played the Red Devils. Bowdon eliminated Warren County in the second round of the state playoffs last year.
"The Red Devils are an excellent team with great speed and strength. They operate out of the Wing-T offense very effectively," Coach Hutto added.
The Screaming Devils' win over Hancock Central improved their overall record to 6-4 and their region mark to 5-2 to claim second place in the region. The Lincoln County Red Devils won the region championship, and they will now host Trion High School this week. Hancock Central will now travel to Gordon-Lee High School, as they represent the region as the third-seed. Wilkinson County, the region's fourth seed, will travel to Bremen High this weekend.
"Our contest last week with Hancock Central was a great football game and a great win for our program," Coach Hutto said. "Our kids fought extremely hard after being down by two touchdowns on two separate occasions. Each one of our players showed a lot of heart, character and determination to fight back and win."
Coach Hutto said he was proud of the way some of his younger players stepped up after several key injuries.
"Kentrell Latimore stepped in at quarterback and cornerback when Tommy Seals got hurt, and he led our football team like a senior would do," Coach Hutto said. "He did a tremendous job. Antonio Benton also stepped up and played cornerback as a result of an injury."
The Screaming Devils rushed 53 times against Hancock Central to amass 308 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs rushed for 136 yards and passed for 108 yards on the night.
Quadrez Reese was the leading rusher for Warren County with 108 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Quamaine Walker rushed 73 yards on 13 carries.
After falling down 14-0 with three minutes left in the first quarter, Warren County finally mounted a drive that eventually put its first points on the board. With only seven seconds left to play in the opening quarter, Reese scored from the five yard line.
Following another Hancock Central scoring drive early in the third quarter that increased the Bulldogs' lead to 21-6, the Screaming Devils scored two consecutive touchdowns to narrow the deficit to only two points.
At the 7:36 mark of the third period, Devarrus Reynolds scampered seven yards for the team's second touchdown of the game. The run for two points failed, thus the score became 21-12.
With only 2:01 remaining in the third quarter, Reese scored his second touchdown of the game on a beautiful six yard run. Ivory Story's extra point kick made the score 21-19.
The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown with only eight seconds remaining in the same third quarter to make the score 27-19.
Warren County scored twice in the fourth period to finally pull ahead of Hancock Central. The first score came at the 11:49 mark of the quarter on a five yard run from quarterback Tommy Seals. Seals' two point conversion tied the score at 27-27.
The Screaming Devils broke the tie and pulled ahead on the scoreboard with only 31 seconds remaining in the game on a one yard run by Story. Story's PAT made the final score 34-27.
Warren County 34, Hancock Central 27
Star of the game: Kentrell Latimore came on to play quarterback for the injured Tommy Seals, and it seemed the team did not miss a step. He led the team on crucial drives in a great comeback win.
Play of the game: Tommy Seals scored the tying touchdown, after suffering an earlier injury, with 11:49 left to play in the game on a five yard run to make the score 27-27.
Up next: Warren County will play the Bowdon Red Devils this Saturday night at 7 p.m. in The Brickyard of Thomson High in the first round of the Class A State Playoffs.