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'Battle-tested' Demons ready for one last test

Warner Robins defensive end Bobby Kelly (99) celebrates after a sack against Carver-Atlanta on Dec. 1. (Mason Prince, WGXA)

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- It's been a long season for the Warner Robins Demons, but in a good way. The Demons are 14-0 and are on their way to a 5A state championship match up with Rome (14-0) on Friday afternoon at Mercedes Benz Stadium. You may look at that 14-0 record next to Warner Robins and think that all those wins must have come pretty easy. You would be mistaken.

Warner Robins has had some blow-out wins, but most were tough, grind-it-out type of victories. The Demons played three state title contenders this season, Peach County (3A) and Coffee (6A) in the regular season and Lee County (6A) in the preseason. All three will be playing at the Benz this weekend. In fact, seven out of their 10 regular season games were against teams that made the playoffs. Those tests have only made the Demons that much stronger.

"Absolutely it has been a long season," said Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain. "We had a long summer to prepare ourselves against a lot of good teams and playing a long schedule like we have and playing a lot of good teams. We really feel like our guys are battle tested and ready to roll this week to face a really good Rome team."

The battle-tested mindset is a phrase that his team has started to pick up and use just like their head coach. Offensive tackle Christian Armstrong thinks their difficult schedule is a big positive.

"It helps us a lot," said Armstrong. "We're definitely battle tested. We played some great teams. Three of the teams we played this year are playing in the state championship and we beat all those teams so that means a lot."

It's been a long and winding road for the Demons to get to the doorstep of state championship number five, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

"Us having a tough schedule like we did has prepared us for the situation we're coming in to," said defensive end Bobby Kelly. "It was tough going into the week of practice and going to the state championship has really prepared us not only physically but mentally in the preparation for Friday night."

Warner Robins and Rome kickoff their game at 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon and tickets are being sold for $22.

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