August 4, 2003
Valdosta-Our annual high school football previews start at Valdosta High where the Wildcats have a new coach who knows all about the school's championship tradition.
New head coach Rick Darlington has only been at Valdosta High for less than six months, but he is familiar with those of he is following.
Rick Darlington said "I know they asked Coach Hyder why Valdosta is good and he always said we believe in coaching next year's team this year and I think we have got to do that. We have got to get these young guys ready to play Wildcat football just as much as the seniors."
And even though his first Valdosta team has more than 30 seniors, coach Darlington says that all positions are open including quarterback where returning starter Cedric Hatten is battling with Garrett Rowe, Scott Shuman and Torris Williams to be the triggerman in Darlington's flexbone offense.
Darlington said "It really relies on quickness and maybe reading people instead of blocking them." Valdosta though may start the season without one of their top offensive weapons.
Senior running back Corey James broke his jaw during the summer passing league and coach Darlington says his status for the start of the season is unknown.
Wildcat fans will see a change on defense where Darlington brings a 4-3 multiple scheme that is patterned after the University of Miami.
While Darlington is worried about the front line.
The secondary has three experienced starters including college prospect Carlton Williams.
Not only has Darlington been quick to learn Valdosta High's tradition but also the teams he will have to beat to win a region title.
Darlington added "We went around in the spring and got a chance to see most of them play and there is definitely some talent here and we are going to have our hands full every Friday night."
Rick Darlington's first game at Valdosta is on the road at Wayne County on August 29th.