WARNER ROBINS -- The last time Warner Robins won six games in a season was 2009.
A year later, the Demons went 2-8, their worst season since 1966.
That was also the last time Warner Robins gave up 60 or more points in a game, until 2014.
The Demons finished 6-5 in a 2014 season that left them a little confused, and the returning players aren’t happy about it.
“We thought since coming off an 11-2 season, we just thought we’d do the same thing, maybe better,” senior defensive back and wide receiver Marquez Callaway said. “We were good talent-wise, but as a team, as a whole, we weren’t good as a team.”
Warner Robins never could really get going and was very much up and down. The season opened with the Demons being shut out for the first time since early in 2010, losing 19-0 at home to Peach County. The Demons scored 93 points in the next two games, then lost 62-30 to Houston County.
Two nice wins followed before the Demons battled Northside in a three-point loss. And then Warner Robins scored 95 points in the next two games. It was enough to squeeze into the playoffs, even with a 31-21 loss at Jones County in the regular-season finale.
The Demons came frustratingly close to knocking off top seed Harris County in the first round of the playoffs, only to lose 33-31.
The good news was that Warner Robins lost only to playoff teams. The bad news was the wide-ranging results. So clearly, a drastic improvement in consistency is atop the list for the Demons in 2015. And that means greater attention to details.
“We made way too many mental mistakes last year to beat good teams when it counted,” head coach Bryan Way said. “What we have to do as coaches is a good job of focusing on the details. That’s the difference, in the details.
“When you get two good teams playing, the teams that make the fewest mistakes and execute the best are the ones that win.”
The Demons tended to make just enough to lose close games to Northside, Jones County and Harris County. Those results were countered by the 32-point loss to Houston County, which now owns a two-game winning streak over the Demons.
It’s likely to be a hungry and humble Warner Robins team that visits Peach County in the opener.
“I think we’re a little bit more mature,” Way said. “I think we’ve got a little bit more cohesiveness. That’s encouraging.
“We’ve still gotta continue to get better in all areas on the field and off the field. I’m encouraged by some of the things that I’ve seen.”
One big boost will be stability and experience at quarterback. Ivan Corbin transferred from Houston County last year and won the job over Connor Shaw and Robbie Leever. Corbin completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 922 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions, adding 650 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
There’s rebuilding job going on up front -- especially with returning tackle Tez Raybon out for a while with a wrist injury -- but the Demons have a group of experienced seniors on offense, like Shaw, Conner Johnston, Terry Harris and Callaway.
“It seems like everything’s been a lot smoother,” Way said. “No major glitches that we’ve had to deal with. I think that has a lot to do with your focus and your leadership out of your seniors.”
Way said the issues he saw last year on defense don’t seem to be around this year.
“We weren’t very good at linebacker, but we knew we were very inexperienced, and that proved to be the case,” he said. “We never got any better there, but I think we’re much better there and much better in the secondary than we were.
“I think we’ll be better across the board.”
Callaway certainly prefers his senior season to be more like his sophomore year. Last year isn’t a good memory.
“We didn’t have good chemistry; we didn’t have good leadership,” he said. “We went out and played on our own. That made us realize for this year, we still have talent, but we’ve got better as a team.”
ABOUT THE WARNER ROBINS DEMONS
Head coach: Bryan Way (85-44-1 in 11 seasons overall and at Warner Robins).
Assistant coaches: Bob Davis (offensive coordinator); Paul Carroll (defensive coordinator); Greg Robinson, Skip Johnston, Nick Brooks, Antonio Talton, John Teague, Tommy Howell, Chad Averett.
Offensive scheme: Shotgun wing-T.
Defensive scheme: 3-5-3.
2014 record: 6-5.
Region: GHSA 2-AAAAA.
Returning starters: Six on offense; seven on defense.
Players to watch: Marquez Callaway (Sr., WR/DB); Ivan Corbin (Sr., QB); Matt Trott (Sr., TE); Conner Johnston (Sr., FB/LB); Trey Ethridge (Sr., DE/LB); Tyrome Tharpe (Sr., OLB); Connor Shaw (Sr., ATH); Jacquez King (Sr., DE); Chandler Jones (Sr., DL/OL); Michael Bradley (Jr., DB).
Aug. 28 at Peach County
Sept. 4 at Greenbrier
Sept. 11 Cross Creek
Sept. 18 vs. Houston County
Sept. 26 Richmond Academy
Oct. 2 at Evans
Oct. 16 vs. Northside
Oct. 23 at Lakeside-Evans
Oct. 30 Grovetown
Nov. 5 Jones County