Head coach Mike Chastain does not have to look far if he needs a motivator for the Warner Robins Demons first GHSA 5-A state playoff game against South Effingham, a team that currently owns a 1-9 record.
About four weeks ago the Demons played Thomas County Central, a team with a 2-4 record at the time and before anyone knew it, Thomas County Central had a 21-0 lead at the half.
Warner Robins rallied for a 30-28 win and remain undefeated at 10-0, but have been in five games in which they have trailed at one time or another.
“It’s really pretty simple and I think we are well aware that we have a pretty good football team, but if we don’t come to play every single game, we can get beat,” said Chastain, who is in his second year as the Warner Robins head coach. “I think the guys get the message and I expect a solid effort on Friday night.”
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Warner Robins set three goals as a team before the season, and with the city and region championships taken care of only one goal remains. “We want to be state champions,” said Jaeven West, who has accumulated over 1,200 yards of offense this year. “This has been a special year for all of us and we are a confident football team right now. We are having fun and the fans at the games are having fun, and we just want to keep it going.”
West is one of four transfers from Houston County High School and each one of them has played key roles for Warner Robins. Quarterback Dylan Fromm has thrown for 2471 yards and 29 touchdowns, while his brother Tyler is the third leading receiver on the team with 33 receptions, behind only West and Juluis Cobbs, who leads the team with 48 catches. Coby Reed, the other transfer, was a starter on defense and is currently recovering from an injury.
“The transfers definitely helped us but we had so many good players come back that we were going to have a pretty good football team this year,” said Chastain. “The four guys that came in all have fit in and believe in Warner Robins football and that is what has made the transition so easy.
Jarius Burnett has also given the Demons a solid running game, rushing for 859 yards and 10 touchdowns, while the defense is coming off what might have been its best performance of the year, holding Bainbridge to only 6 points.
“I can honestly say we have had all 11 guys on defense play big this year,” Chastain said. “We have 9 guys on our defense that will play college football and Dalton Hedden, Bobby Kelly and Jam’l Dillard are definite D1 guys. But we have also had huge years from Christian Anderson, Dillon Braunstein, and Jerquan Parrish. It has really been a great group to have on the field.”