WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Coach Robert Davis knows a thing or two about tradition.
He practically started it at Warner Robins, winning three state titles as the Demons’ head coach.
Davis, who coached at Warner Robins from 1973 to 1996 and at Westside from 1997 to 2008, gave a pep talk to this year’s Demons ahead of their state championship game against the Rome Wolves.
“Well, I just told them that they’ve won 14 games,” Davis said. “They’re pretty darn good themselves.”
Davis’ first title as head coach came in 1976, one season after city attorney Jim Elliott’s senior year at Warner Robins High School. Elliott, then a freshman at Georgia Tech, went home for the game.
“I have memories of a cold night and tons of people,” Elliott said. “It was a big win as I recall. 34 to nothing? I mean, it was pretty decisive.”
Elliott credits a coach in the 1960s for laying the groundwork for Davis’ success.
“Joe Sumrall, who’s now passed away, came to town from Thomasville and kind of turned the program around,” Elliott said. “So he got the program on solid footing and then Coach Davis and his predecessor took over and achieved great things.”
Coach Bryan Way, now an assistant at Tattnall Square Academy, won the school’s only other state title in 2004. The Demons haven’t been back in the championship game since.
“At Warner Robins, we used to have tradition,” Davis said. “I think it kind of slid a little bit. Mike and them are bringing it back.”
Mike Chastain, a Northside graduate, has the Demons 14-0 in just his second season as head coach. They went 3-8 in year one.
“Certainly some players came to the school and made a big difference,” Elliott said. “But I think they just needed a shot of confidence and they’ve got it now. Those big close wins earlier this season over Peach County for example–no offense Peach County–but those kind of things gave them a lot of confidence, and look where they are now. It’s amazing.”
The Demons are one win away from state title No. 5.
Can they do it?
“Well they (Rome) got a lot of great players,” Davis said. “Mike’s got some great players too. I always accepted a challenge. (When) You played against good people, I always tried to get our kids to play their best game.
“And a lot of times we did.”
Kickoff between Warner Robins and Rome is Friday at 7:30 at McConnell-Talbert Stadium. 41NBC will have LIVE reports before the game and a special live, on-location edition of The End Zone with Bill Shanks after the game.
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