WARRENTON -- The Warren County High Screaming Devils turned out to be their own worse enemies at Albert J. Massey Field last Friday night.
End results? Their third straight loss of the season after getting off to a fine start with wins over Glascock County and Landmark Christian.
The Screaming Devils have an open date Friday, as they prepare to take on Wilkinson County at home in two weeks.
"This one ought to hurt real, real bad," Warren County first-year head coach Marleau Blount told his players after they suffered a heartbreaking 19-18 loss to the visiting North Paulding High Wolfpack. "Y'all were five touchdowns better than that team."
As had been the case in two previous losses to Eagles Landing Christian and Dooly County, turnovers proved to be Warren County's biggest problem.
"We can't expect to win when we turn the ball over to the other team, especially at critical times," lamented Warren County defensive coordinator Joey Moon. "Penalties killed us again, too. We've just got to get better all the way around, if we're going to win again."
As for North Paulding, a 3-year-old school located in the Metro Atlanta area, head coach Heath Webb was happy to escape with a one-point victory.
"It's been a very emotional week for our players and our student body," coach Heath said, referring to the severe flooding conditions that kept the school closed all last week. "We were able to practice two days for the game against Warren County. I thought our kids did a great job against a real fine football team."
Coach Webb said his team played flat during the first half.
"We came back in the second half and showed that we had what it took to win the game," coach Webb said. He said the key ingredient was commitment.
"Our players were committed to winning this football game," coach Webb said. "I'm very proud of them."
The Screaming Devils led 18-13 going into the fourth quarter. Warren County's defensive unit managed to hold North Paulding at the start of the final quarter, nearly blocking a punt before getting the ball back at the 50.
A return favor was paid back to Warren County by the North Paulding defense. The Wolfpack couldn't move the ball and were forced to punt the ball away from inside their end zone with 7:33 left in the game. The punt was nearly blocked by Warren County junior Gregory Howard.
The Screaming Devils then took over in excellent field position at the North Paulding 43 as time continued to tick off the clock. Penalties stalled that drive, though before North Paulding's Mason Dumas intercepted an errant pass from Warren County junior quarterback Dondrecus Dozier with 5:04 left in the game. Warren County's Dominique Menchaca made the tackle on Dumas. It gave the Wolfpack the ball at their 30 -- 70 yards away from pay dirt.