Camden County looked liked the team well on its way to winning the AAAAA crown last year as the Wildcats blew past all competition in the regular season. Even the first two rounds of the playoffs barely caused the Wildcats to break a sweat. But Colquitt County was also hot coming into the quarterfinal matchup against Camden County, and the Packers handed the Wildcats their first loss of the year, eliminating them from the playoffs.
“You can always learn from a win or a loss,” Camden County head coach Jeff Herron said. “We are not used to our season ending in the second or third round. We had to revaluate what we do and be motivated to do better.”
Their motivation started yesterday as the Wildcats began offseason workouts with weightlifting and conditioning. They will make the trip to Carrollton twice this summer to take part in two different camps.
If the Wildcats take on the offseason workouts like they did with spring practices, Herron will have nothing to worry about.
“Spring practice went real well,” Herron said. “We got a lot accomplished.”
Part of the reason spring practice went well for the Wildcats is a solid group of seniors returning to Kingsland. Leading the group is quarterback Brice Ramsey, who is committed to Georgia. Ramsey was the 2011 Region 3-AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year, passing for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ramsey won’t have to do it all this year because he will have J.J. Green right beside him. Green, who is also a Georgia commit, led Wildcats with 912 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Green can also get it done on special teams as he was named Region 3-AAAAA special teams player of the year.
Defensively, the Wildcats are led by Jarrad Davis who notched 61 tackles and two sacks last year. Green also can play a little defense, picking off three passes to go along with his 33 tackles.
It’s fortunate the Wildcats will have players like Ramsey, Davis and Green returning because, with the Wildcats moving up to Region 1-AAAAAA, the level of competition for Herron’s group has been turned up a notch. Playing against Peachtree Ridge in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome to start the season is one thing. But when the Wildcats have to face Lowndes, Valdosta and Colquitt all on the road, things could get really interesting. That being said, Herron loves the change and so do the rest of the Wildcats.
“We have gotten complacent over the last 10-12 years,” said Herron whose team has not lost a region game during that span. “It’s exciting for our players, coaches and community, but we have to work harder.”
Camden County has been called the team of the decade for its work during the 2000-2009 span. With three state titles under during that span, the Wildcats know how to win when it matters the most.
But will playing in one of the toughest regions in the state keep the Wildcats from holding the trophy at the end of the year or will it motivate them?
“It’s not going to be easy because there are seven or eight teams that can win the state title,” Herron said. “Our goal is to win state every year and we have good coaching, good talent and a good community that supports us.”