The Warren County Screaming Devils football team will be under the leadership of a new head coach when they take the field this fall.
Steven Simpson joined the staff last year as an assistant coach and now has accepted the job as head coach following the departure of Cherard Freeman.
The new head coach brings a mixture of football experience to the role. He spent his playing days first at John Milledge Academy and then for two years at Georgia Military College. He is a graduate of Georgia College and State University.
His coaching career has included working as an assistant coach at Briarwood Academy, Wilkinson County, and Dublin. Simpson was the linebacker coach for Dublin's 2006 state championship team and coached the 2006 defensive player of the year for AA.
He came to Warren County last year after working at GMC for 12 years. He was the athletic director for seven years and head football coach for five years.
In his first year at Warren County this past season, he was part of the team’s finding success.
“Last year was a little bit of a learning experience getting to know the kids,” he said.
“The kids played hard, were very respectful, worked hard, and would do what you asked them to do,” Simpson said. “We got on a roll, got hot at the right time and played some good offense, good defense, and good special teams, and made a run. I think that sort of propels us into this next year.”
He said Freeman had the program heading in the right direction and last year was a big step. The Devils finished the year 8-3, which was their strongest season in recent years.
Simpson said the team graduated some substantial players this year, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“When you’re losing both guards, your center, your quarterback, and both running backs you’re kind of gutting the middle of your offense,” he said. “But, we’ve got some quality players that can step in and fill those roles.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Warren County only graduated three.
“We won’t have nearly as much depth as we had last year, but athletically I think we will be on par with last year,” he said.
The new head coach said defensively, the game plan will remain basically the same. On offense, there may be slight changes but points out how both he and Freeman favor the wing-t offense.
Simpson is involved with high school athletics on a broader scale and is part of the Georgia High School Association state executive committee.
Although there is not a time set yet for teams to resume workouts and weight room sessions, Simpson said the focus will be the safety of the student athletes around the state.
“I do feel confident that we will have some football season this year,” he said.
Freeman decided to leave WCHS to accept a coaching position in Bryan County. The move puts him closer to his home in Statesboro and will allow him more family time.
“It was just closer to my house and my kids are getting older, so I decided to take the job,” Freeman said.
“It’s a program that’s been down. I think they’ve won one ball game in the last three years,” he said. “I think there is potential, just bring a little discipline in there and correct a few things they are doing wrong and hope for the best.”
His plan is to go in and get the kids stronger and have them buy in to what he will be trying to do. Freeman said they need someone to be consistent with them and push them to get better.
His said main memories of Warren County will always be how the team got better and improved over the past five years and then reached the third round of state playoffs last year.