Special to the Times
The Valwood Valiants look to honor their senior class with a final regular season win as they host the Warriors of Southwest Georgia Academy (Damascus, Ga.) on Friday.
“We play to win every ball game, but it means much more (on Senior Night),” Valwood Head Coach Ashley Henderson said. “Our seniors mean the world to us. Many of them were here during our rebuilding process and it’s important that we send those guys off right.”
Valwood (8-0, 4-0 in region play) enters the matchup as the favorite to secure yet another Class AA State Championship after clinching the Region 3-AA title and home-field advantage throughout the 2013 playoffs.
They enter Friday’s game on the heels of a convincing 45-13 home win over the Warriors of Brookwood High School (Thomasville, Ga.).
Southwest Georgia Academy (6-4, 2-2 in region play) comes to Valwood having lost three of their last five matchups, with two of those losses coming on the road. Their most recent loss came at the hands of the Wildcats of Westwood High School in Camilla, Ga. on Oct. 25.
The Warriors’ 21-14 loss to Westwood High School also officially crowned the Valiants the 2013 region champions.
Last year’s contest was a blowout victory for the Valiants, as they handed the Warriors a 48-7 loss on SGA’s home field.
Prior to last year’s win, however, the Valiants lost three straight to the Warriors.
“We took the last game, but (the Warriors) have won quite a few against us in recent years,” Coach Henderson said. “Hopefully we’ll hold up on our end of the bargain and breathe some life back into this rivalry.”
While the Valiants may be the favorites heading into the postseason, Coach Henderson knows that the Warriors are not a team to overlook.
(Southwest Georgia Academy) plays a physical, downhill style of offense,” Coach Henderson said. “They’re big and they play a tough brand of football. If we’re not on our ‘A’ game against them, then they’ll smash us right in the mouth.”
The Warriors, similar to many opponents that Valwood has faced this season, rely heavily on their strong run game.
“Their offensive line is so talented and they’re going to make us earn a win,” Coach Henderson said. “We should have our hands full, but I’m confident in our guys. I know our defense is ready and looks forward to the challenge.”
The 17 seniors of Valwood’s football team will be honored during a Senior Night ceremony starting at 7 p.m., followed by kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Goddard Field. Radio listeners can tune into the game on WJEM (The Jock) 1150 AM and 96.1 FM.