Dalton Hedden has done a little bit of everything in his two years as a Warner Robins Demon.
The senior, who transferred from Northside after his sophomore year, came to Warner Robins and won the starting quarterback job in Mike Chastain’s first year as the head coach at Warner Robins. As a junior, the then 265 pound Hedden threw for 889 yards and six touchdowns.
By the end of the year, Hedden had made the move back to being a lineman, and this year he has played a key role on the defensive line for the 14-0 Demons.
Warner Robins hosts Rome for the GHSA 5A state championship at McConnell-Talbert Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Hedden was quick to note that it really doesn’t matter where he plays. “I was at quarterback because at that time, that’s where I was needed,” said Hedden, who remembers a long run against Houston County and a 50 yard scoring pass against West Laurens as highlights of his career as a quarterback. “I enjoyed the challenge of the position, but there was really a lot of pressure and I didn’t have a whole lot of experience playing that position. I think I could throw the ball pretty well, but that lack of experience definitely hurt.”
Hedden knew where he would be playing as a senior. “I was able to focus on playing the defensive line and that allowed me to put on weight and get stronger,” said Hedden, who now weighs in right at 290 pounds. I think it has been a great move for me and it has obviously been a great year for our football team. I think the defensive linemen have done a great job and we have become a family.”
That defensive line consists of Hedden, Bobby Kelly, Jam’l Dillard and Dillon Braunstein. According to Chastain, they have played a huge part of Warner Robins success on the playoffs. “Those guys have been excellent in the playoffs and have been a big part of us being able to stop so many great running backs,” Chastain said. “They have really played their best football over the last four weeks.”
Hedden knows that Rome, which is also 14-0, will be a difficult opponent. “They are great at position blocking and try to run you into the ground,” Hedden said. “The key for us is to explode off the ball and just play sound football after that. It was difficult not playing this game last we, but we have adapted as a football team and can’t wait for Friday night.”