The defending GISA 3-AAA region champions are in familiar territory as they make a bid for the state championship in 2017.
Head coach Ashley Henderson, who is entering his sixth year at Valwood, knows what it takes to win championships, and his current team is showing early signs.
“The number of multi-year starters coming back for us this year is big,” Henderson said. “It’s reminiscent of our 2015 state championship team.”
This similarity is comforting as the Valiants showcased significant development throughout last season, and the core of that team remains intact.
“We are returning our top three offensive linemen and about 90% of our offensive production from a year ago,” Henderson said. “Also, our defensive front, despite losing Earnest Carter will be even better this year. Plus, we return a three-year starter in kicker and punter John Miller.”
A brutal non-region schedule will prepare the Valiants for the toughest region in GISA, testing their depth and ability to learn from last year’s mistakes, ball security. Influencing their character, however, is atop the priority list.
“I think if all a guy learns from me and our coaching staff is how to play football then we have failed him miserably,” Henderson said. “We preach taking care of winning the game off the field, in the weight room, in the class room, in the community; if we do that, winning takes care of itself on the field.”
In the Game Magazine / South Georgia / August – September 2017
Returners Provide Consistency and Confidence for Championship Contending Valiants
Written by Cole Parker