VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - It’s a new year for the Valdosta Wildcats football team but the goal is the same.
Make it to the championship game.
But to get there the work starts now.
After last year’s devastating loss in the quarter finals... there’s no time to mess around.
“They either buy in or they go home. You know, it’s pretty simple around here,” said Head Coach Alan Rodemaker.
Working to repeat their 2016 championship season... Rodemaker’s focus... is their weaknesses.
“The kicking game is an area of concern. We got our long snapper back but we don’t have our punter or kicker back. So, kicking game and offensive line are really the areas that I’m concerned about,” said Rodemaker.
In their divison... the Wildcats' defense allowed the most points against last season.
Defensive lineman Jylon Bennett says to avoid that more guys have to be ready.
“I have to make sure the young sophomores and juniors follow my lead. And we have to expect more out of people who don’t expect to play. We have to expect them to be ready whenever their number is called,” said Bennett.
That starts by building their brotherhood.
“We have to have each other’s back because you have to trust. Because, football is the ultimate team sport, you have to account for the people around you," said Bennet. "You have to trust the guy next to you that he’s going to do his job. So, you have to be connected as brothers.”
The Wildcats are down 20 seniors and eight starters this season.
Overcoming that obstacle is no easy task.
Senior running back, Shavious Wright is up for the challenge.
“We are a good offense but we have a long way to go we have to be more consistent and work harder and be more mentally tough,” said Wright.
With practice underway and the regular season only a few months away, the Wildcats hope their weaknesses turn into strengths by August.
They take on Jackson Friday, Aug 23 at 7:30 p.m. for the first game of the season.