Last season the Warriors whet their appetites, now they hope to make it back for seconds.
After years of mediocrity, White County won seven games in 2007 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2001, giving the team a taste of the playoffs and motivation for the 2008 season.
"Like anybody, once you get a taste of that, you want to have it again," said White County coach Gregg Segraves, who is entering his third year at the helm of the Warriors. "I’m proud of the change that we had last year, and want to keep it moving."
If the Warriors hope to make a return trip to the Class AAA playoffs, they will be forced to do it with a rather inexperienced offensive unit. Gone from last year’s team is the starting quarterback (Tyler Norman), two running backs (Eli McCallister and Jeese Brown) and three of their top four wide receivers (Drew Crumley, Josh Ingram and Brandon Vaught), and the more than 2,300 yards of offense they accounted for.
"We’ll probably go through some growing pains, but we have guys with playing experience that will be able to step right in and contribute," Segraves said.
Two of those guys are senior quarterback Chantz Segraves, who has been running the Warriors offense since the eighth grade, and sophomore running back Ashely Lowery, who averaged 4.2 yards per carry as a freshman.
What the offense lacks in experience, the defense more than makes up for. Eight starters return on the defensive side of the ball for White County, including senior lineman Tasi Suaava.
"Their experience is the key to our success," Segraves said. "The defensive line is the strong point of our entire team."
Kevin Frederick leads the secondary after picking off seven passes as a junior last season.
Frederick will once again perform the punting duties for White County, but the key to the special teams may lie in the leg of place-kicker Mark Bardenwarper.
"He may have one of the strongest legs I’ve ever coached," Segraves said. "When he gets some game experience, he may become one of the best in the region."
The program at White County is certainly headed in the right direction under Segraves, and if the defense is as strong as it is on paper, the Warriors will certainly make a push toward the playoffs again. The offense has some question marks, but with a senior quarterback, and a dynamic running back playing behind an experienced offensive line, White County will still be able to put up points.
in a competitive region.