Later this afternoon, the Warner Robins Demons football team tries to win the school’s fourth state title in their history. They won titles in 1976, 1981, 1988 and 2004. This is their eighth appearance in the state final and third straight time they have made it to the title game. They lost to Rome in 2017 and suffered a heartbreaking loss last year’s game to Bainbridge.
Today, Warner Robins will be trying to adding their fifth title when they play the Buford Wolves at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta. Buford is no slouch either. They have 11 state championship trophies. This is the first time the two teams have played. It should be a good one.
I have never attended Warner Robins High School and never played on their football team yet for the past 34 years they have been my team of choice. I know it’s silly but everybody has their thing right? Georgia High School football and the Warner Robins football team has been my thing during football season.
I did actually play high school football – or it would be more accurate to say that I was ON the football team in Villa Rica, Georgia during my freshman and sophomore years. There was never much of a chance that I would have ever been a starter. Before my junior year, my family moved to Savannah, Georgia and I finished my last two years of high school at Tompkins. The school closed in 1989. When I moved to Warner Robins in 1984, my first game was a Warner Robins-Valdosta playoff game. The next season I attended every Warner Robins home game and I have been a fan ever since. Many years I had season tickets. I rarely missed a game. There was a couple of years when I lived just less than a mile from the stadium and could walk to the games on Friday nights. I loved it. I went through the ups and downs of the various teams through the years. From 1996 until 1999, I worked as a part-time writer for a couple of newspapers and wasn’t able to attend their games; however, I did get the chance to cover a few games for the newspaper. I was both thrilled and extremely nervous the first time I covered a Warner Robins’ game. My first interview of Warner Robins’ Head Coach Robert Davis was a bit intimidating but it went well. When those days were over I continued attending Warner Robins’ football games.
I moved away from Warner Robins in 2012 and after two years in Tampa, Florida we moved to Nashville, Tennessee where we currently live. Even with the distance which separated me, I have still tuned into the games or followed the results on Friday nights.
When each season approaches now, I get the notion that I should end this obsession I have with high school football and following Warner Robins but I still end up tuning in or listening to the Georgia High School Football Scoreboard show. I don’t put my life on hold anymore like I used to do. There are times that i will do other things instead of listening to the games but when I get home or finish what I am doing, I immediately go to all of my places to get updates on the games. That’s just how I am and that’s my thing.
I remembered a funny story about the last season that Warner Robins won the state championship in 2004. Before the season began, I had a situation that I wanted to pray about a situation in my life and decided that I would “fast” going to Warner Robins’ football games that season. Instead of attending or listening to the games, I would pray about the need I was focused on. Wouldn’t you know it – that was the season they won the championship. Was my sacrifice of giving up my season tickets and following the games worth it? Was my prayer answered? Yes, it was. I think it was answered about two months after the season.
Yeah, I do some crazy things sometimes. Try to explain to your church that you support a team with the nickname of “Demons”.
It has been fun. There have been exciting games and heart breakers along the way.
In my first Warner Robins-Northside game in 1985, the Demons won the first overtime game in the series 21-14. I still have a video recording of that game somewhere in my collection. Warner Robins went on to get to the 1985 final which was played in Athens against Clarke Central. I made the trip and sat in sub-freezing temperatures watching the Demons come up short in the game 21-7 and endured a Clarke Central fan yelling in my ear the whole time.
It was also quite cold in 1988 but it didn’t matter when Warner Robins defeated Brookwood 33-7 to win the state championship.
The last game I attended in person was the 2009 Warner Robins-Northside game when the Demons overcame a 20-0 deficit to win on an improbable touchdown pass in the final minutes.
There is not enough space or time for me to tell you all the great games I have seen or listened to over the years. There have also been many exciting players to watch such as Willie Reid, Jon Perkins, Eric McDowell, Ben Smith and so many others.
I have to admit that I am not as obsessed now but I do still keep track of how the Demons are doing. I am living in Tennessee now and I haven’t been able to get into high school football up here. It’s just not the same. I live about a mile for a pretty competitive school but I doubt I will ever attend a game. That time has past and i have no desire to follow another team. Warner Robins has – and will always be – my team. I am not their #1 fan but they have been a part of my life for many Friday nights for the past 34 years.