During the 2012-13 seasons while in Region 2-AAA, the Warhawks had to travel to Macon (Central Chargers and Southwest Patriots), Fort Valley (Peach County Trojans), Columbus (Carver Tigers), Jackson (Red Devils) and Zebulon (Pike County Pirates).
Now a member of Region 4-AAAA, Henry County will only travel as far as Walnut Grove in the region and as close as Locust Grove and Eagle’s Landing.
“That is the main reason why we wanted to move up in classification,” Henry County coach Morris Starr said.
“Numbers-wise, when we compete against teams that are truly 4A they tend to have twice as many guys as we do in the program. But the main thing for us is I’d rather the kids have a chance for their families to come to the games.
“You look in the stands and hopefully more people will be there when we do have an away game,” Starr said.
“Families and fans are able to see the kids play because it’s not an hour and a half away so that was more important.”
The rest of the Warhawks’ sub-region opponents are newcomers Hampton and Eastside-Covington.
“I think we will be able to compete,” Starr said. “Our kids are excited about playing in this region and I’m excited about coaching in this region, so I like our chances.”
As far as the makeup of the team, the Warhawks have six starters returning on offense and four on defense, including versatile senior Marquez Souder.
“Marquez is our best player hands down and that is not easy to say because we have a lot of good players,” Starr said. “He is the most athletic kid we have. He can play multiple positions. He is a three-sport athlete. He is the kid that we can put just about anywhere.”
At practice, Souder has spent time at the quarterback position and defensive back spot. Middle linebacker Malik Jackson is one new player Starr expects a major contribution from this season.