May 15, 2007
Valdosta -- The Valdosta high school football team lost an unprecedented nine games last season.
Their previous record for losses in a season was seven.
But the Cats were in every game, as seven of those defeats were by five points or less.
The team is on the field for spring practice this week, and the Wildcats are expecting a big turn-around in the fall.
The Valdosta football team is in the second week of spring practice, and head coach Rick Tomberlin says he likes what he's seen so far.
"We've had a lot of heavy contact, a lot of effort, a lot of leadership," says Tomberling. "We've got to get better."
The Wildcats suffered through an almost impossible number of close losses last season, on their way to a 1-9 record.
Tomberlin says, "Boy, it was tough. I've never had a year like that. The positive is we played a lot of great teams real close. Extremely close. We got to learn how to finish. We got to learn how to get the job done when it really counts at the end."
Valdosta returns 10 of 11 starters on the defensive side of the ball this year, and Tomberlin is confident of a big turnaround.
The coach says, "It's happened to a lot of great programs. We're not saying we're going to be this way, but Jimmy Johnson was 1-14 his first year at Dallas, Chuck Noll was 1-13 his first year at Pittsburgh. Jimmy won three Super Bowls, Coach Noll won four Super Bowls."
And Coach Tomberlin says his team has to put in the extra work now, because there won't be any breaks in the fall.
"We've got the toughest region in maybe America, and the toughest non-region schedule that I know of, so we've got our work cut out for us," says Tomberlin. "But I've been very happy with the players thus far."
The Wildcats spring game is Friday at 7pm at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.