Patriots now the hunted in Region 1-AAAA - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Patriots now the hunted in Region 1-AAAA

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Westover Patriots achieved unprecedented success in 2013, earning the program's first region title. 

Now they'd like to sustain it.

The Patriots are back at practice as they ready to defend their region crown. It won't be easy though.

Head coach Octavia Jones says the Patriots know they won't sneak up on anybody this year and they are prepared for that.

"Of course everyone's going to have that target on our back. So we're going to have to be ready to accept everybody's best game week in and week out," Jones says. "We keep stressing and preaching to make them understand that this is what got us here, and this is what we have to keep doing in order for us to keep having success."

Jones' team lost several key players, including QB Ta'Keevian Harris, RB Shannon Saunders, and the state's leading sack man, Brenten Wimberly.

But they do return a good core of players, of course including top recruit DT Trent Thompson.

Jones says replacing players is just part of the game, and is no reason to temper expectations for his team.

"Coaching high school football, you're going to lose great players every year. Hopefully, we've done our job as coaches training the younger guys that have been waiting in the wings for their turn," he says. "In this year's senior class, we have 21 guys. In the junior class, we've got 31. So we have bodies that are in place. We just have to get them ready to step up and fill those shoes."

Westover kicks off 2014 at Lee County on Saturday, August 23 in a game that will be on ESPNU.

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