A season ago, Jalen Addie watched as Dylan Fromm put together one of the most prolific seasons at the quarterback position for the Warner Robins Demons.
This season Addie was tasked with leading the Demons at the same position on a team with high expectations coming off a pair of region titles and back-to-back state title game appearances.
“Knowing all the great things Dylan did before he left, it falls on me to keep everything going,” Addie said. “He was a great leader, taught me a lot of stuff.”
On Friday, the junior led the Demons to their third straight region title with a 47-17 victory over the Veterans Warhawks.
“It feels great to lead my guys to a region championship,” Addie said. “Now let’s push for five more.”
In the first quarter, Marcayll Jones got the Demons going with a direct snap touchdown run after a pair of passes by Addie set up the score. Veterans would answer with a field goal before Addie hooked up with Armon Porter on a deep strike.
The Demons defense would then step up as Donovan Haslem came up with a key interception to set up a 78-yard touchdown pass from Addie to Porter.
“After the play fake I was just thinking, I know he got jets,” Addie said. “I am going to lay it out there and let him go get it. He made my throw right. Much thanks to him for making me look good.”
Addie’s growth as a passer was on full display against Veterans as he finished 13-of-24 for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
“He stepped up and made some big throws,” Warner Robins head coach Marquis Westbrook said. “I am very proud of the way he has grown in this offense. A couple weeks ago, he wasn’t quite there and he stayed with it.”
While he was able to beat the Warhawks through the air, he had five runs for 55 yards including one that set up Jahlen Rutherford for his first touchdown of the night to put the Demons up 26-3 midway through the third. Westbrook said the run by Addie was a turning point.
“It was huge. It gives our kids confidence,” Westbrook said. “That play alone signifies who we are. We are resilient, we take shots and then we go out and we deliver shots.”
The Warhawks looked to be in a position to mount a comeback when Blake Ethridge found Nate Boehm for their first touchdown of the night.
The Demons would answer with a pair of touchdowns including Addie’s final touchdown of the night to Jones before Veterans scores near the end of the game.
“Overall our guys played a heck of a ball game,” Westbrook said. “I am just proud of them.”
The win seals the region for the Demons and sets them up with the number one seed in the playoffs as they look to get to their third straight state title game — this time with Westbrook at the helm in his first season as the Demons head coach.
Westbrook was the defensive coordinator for Warner Robins last season and said a lot has changed in a year despite the same results.
“We had a bump in the middle of the season but got back on it in region play,” Westbrook said. “It is kind of a mirror image of last year almost in terms of record wise but it’s a different team.”