0

Warner Robins coach expects Parkview to pack a punch

Parkview football is bigger than one player, even a special player like running back Caleb King.

And Warner Robins head coach Bryan Way, whose squad takes on the King-less Panthers on Saturday in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome, certainly isn't expecting less of a battle just because the state's best player transferred elsewhere.

"We saw them in their scrimmage and they still look like they've got pretty good players to me," Way said. "We're not feeling sorry for them, I can promise you that."

He says the fact that the Panthers don't have King anymore might actually make them more difficult to game plan for defensively.

"Watching some tape from last year, they probably gave the ball to Caleb King 85 to 90 percent of the time," Way said. "Now with the two backs there, you can't necessarily key on one or the other. They are both capable runners and that makes it a little more difficult to plan for."

Though he's quick to add he's not exactly downtrodden that his defenders won't have to try and track down King 25 to 30 times on Saturday.

"Well, that guy was first team for a reason," Way said with a laugh. "Because he was better than the other ones. It's not all bad not having to prepare for him."

For Way, whoever is in the backfield for Parkview is almost irrelevant. It's still Parkview. It's still one of the top programs in the state - a program that has a terrific record at the Georgia Dome - and one of the few programs that has similar tradition to Warner Robins.

Both schools have won four state championships, and the Demons have actually won two national championships in their storied history. Warner Robins won its last state title in 2004 in Class AAAA.

Now the Demons are back up in AAAAA, and they start their new classification against a team that has made the quarterfinals of the state playoffs each of the last 11 years.

"We were talking with our players about it," Way said of the Panthers. "They've probably been the most successful team in AAAAA for the last 10 years ... and we like to think we have a pretty decent football tradition here at Warner Robins.

"Both teams, when they run out on the field, expect to win. And our coaches are excited about the opportunity, our players are excited. We just hope we can compete and play well."

Warner Robins, which finished 9-2 last season, should be bolstered by the return of quarterback Mark Wright, who led the team to the state championship as a sophomore but tore his ACL early last season and missed the remainder of the year.

Wright rushed for 247 yards and five TDs and threw for 769 yards and eight touchdowns in leading the Demons' vaunted wing-T attack in 2004.

"He runs pretty well and he throws pretty well," Way said. "The best thing about him is he's an outstanding leader. He's a good athlete and he understands our offense."

Parkview has still not settled on a concrete No. 1 starter at quarterback, and head coach Cecil Flowe said both Mitchell Farris and Clayton Wilkin should see action on Saturday.

The two inexperienced QBs will be handing the ball off to a stable of backs that includes sophomore Kenny Bellevance, senior Tremayne Graham and senior Antonio Mohn, who rushed for 777 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore in 2004 (he missed all of 2005 after suffering a preseason knee injury).

"No matter what year it is, they are very well-coached," May said. "They are very well disciplined and they play the game like it's supposed to be played. They execute on both sides of the ball and they are not going to beat themselves."