WARRENTON, Ga. - It's a numbers' game at Warren County High School.
The same was true a year ago and such was the case again this season with the football program. Even though the Screaming Devils don't lack talent to play the game and get into the state playoffs year after year, they greatly lack having the numbers needed to keep players from having to play on both sides of the ball.
"We've definitely got to find a way to get our numbers up," said Warren County Head Coach Lee Hutto. "We found that to be true against Clinch County in the third round of the state playoffs and again this year in the third round of the state playoffs against Emanuel County Institute."
Coach Hutto, who has just completed his second season at Warren County High School, keeps pondering how he can get more students interested in playing football.
"I think about that quite a bit," said Coach Hutto. "If we'd just had five or six more players this season, I think it would have made a big difference in the outcome of the game against ECI."
In the off-season, he's hoping more students will become interested in football and join the team.
The Screaming Devils ended their season this year, making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the Class A state playoffs. They were defeated by the ECI Bulldogs 34-17 in a game that was actually closer than the score might indicate.
"We've got to find a way to get beyond that 13th game," said Coach Hutto. "We won the region championship, which was one of our goals. And just because we didn't win a state championship certainly doesn't mean that we didn't have a great season."
The work ethics and habits of his team paid off, as the Screaming Devils captured their first region football championship in 26 years.
"Our players will always have that to be proud about," added the 34-year-old Coach Hutto, a former player, teacher and assistant football coach at Thomson High School. "It had been a long time since the school had won a region championship."
The support of the community this season "has been tremendous," said Coach Hutto. "The stands were always full and that meant a lot to our players and coaching staff."
Now that the school has a new football stadium, Coach Hutto is hopeful that he and his assistant coaches can build a bigger and stronger football team next year.
Coach Hutto also has been busy of late sending out information to various college recruiters about four college prospects from this year's team. The four players include: quarterback sensation Tommy Seals; versatile running back Devarrus Reynolds; talented wide receiver Travis Burley and defensive standout Devon Walls.
Seals is considered a Division I prospect, while Burley and Walls are likely Division II college prospects.
Next year, the Screaming Devils will be "a very young team and a little inexperienced," said Coach Hutto.
Right now, there are 14 returning players expected to be back with the team next season. Many of those same players got valuable playing experience this season, as many of them played the entire second halves of five or six games. The makeup of next year's team tentatively will include four seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and 15 freshmen.
"We'd like to pick up at least six to 10 more players," said Coach Hutto.
The Screaming Devils will open up against the Glascock County Panthers next season at home. The Panthers play a non-region schedule.