Cahaba Sun January 2022

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ALL-METRO FOOTBALL TEAM Osley named Offensive Player of the Year. 16

Vol 7 | Issue 2 | January 2022 As Trussville As It Gets

City’s work continues forward ‘Vision’ for Trussville expected to become clearer in 2022. 10 Smile More, Birmingham. Call or visit to schedule a free consultation.

HUSKIES MAKE HISTORY Hewitt-Trussville High School wraps up a dominating season by winning inaugural girls flag football title. 12


A Heritage of Progress





Descended from the native peoples of the Mississippian period (AD 8001500), our ancestors endured great hardship and discrimination after the Indian Removal Act with an indomitable spirit, nobility and grace. Our Tribe became empowered with a strong mission to provide for ourselves and the communities in which we live with a dedication to service, philanthropy and the revitalization of traditional arts and culture. The story of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is a true American success story—one of strength and perseverance.

Chief Calvin McGhee met with President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to petition for federal recognition of the Poarch Creek Indians as a sovereign nation. Find out more about our Tribe’s history on our website.


January 5th

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EDITOR’S NOTE | KYLE PARMLEY The beginning of a new year always brings so much excitement. It feels like a great opportunity for all of us to accomplish something that we’ve been putting off, to try something new or to commit to building better habits with the new year. Plenty of us make New Year’s resolutions. And more often than not, we scrap those by the time the calendar flips to February. But this year, I’ve come up with a few ideas I believe are possible to maintain throughout all of 2022. In this new year, I want to continue to work hard to provide the Trussville community and the communities of all of our papers with quality stories and coverage. I want to continue to strengthen those relationships with the people closest to me. And most importantly, I want to grow stronger in my relationship with the Lord in this year. I’d love to hear some of your ideas for 2022. May it be our best year yet!

Please Support Our Community Partners Alabama Affordable Automotive (7) Ascension/St. Vincent’s Health Systems (6) Bedzzz Express (20) Birmingham Gastroenterology (5) Birmingham Orthodontics (1) Bromberg’s & Company (9) Deerfoot Memorial Funeral Home (13) Enroll Alabama (5) ENT Associates of Alabama (11) Lee Marlow, RealtySouth (9)

Main Street Chiropractic (8) Over the Mountain Glass (11) Poarch Band of Creek Indians (2) ROME Study, UAB Division of Preventative Medicine (8) Sewing Machine Mart (2) Southern Coin & Collectibles (7) UAB Center for Exercise Medicine (3) Virginia Samford Theatre (13) Window World of Central Alabama (3)

Find Us Pick up the latest issue of Cahaba Sun at the following locations: ► Edgar’s Bakery ► Golden Rule Bar-B-Q – Trussville ► Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce ► Trussville Civic Center ► Trussville Gas and Water ► Trussville Police Department ► Trussville Public Library Want to join this list or get Cahaba Sun mailed to your home? Contact Anna Jackson at




Hewitt-Trussville fans rally behind the Huskies in the girls flag football championship game against Smiths Station on Dec. 1 at Protective Stadium. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Publisher: Dan Starnes Managing Editor: Nick Patterson Community Editors: Kyle Parmley Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Leah Ingram Eagle Neal Embry Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Community Reporter: Eric Taunton Contributing Writer: Gary Lloyd Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Client Success Specialist: Anna Bain Content Marketing Manager: Ingrid Schnader Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey Advertising: Michelle Salem Haynes Don Harris Jarrett Tyus Warren Caldwell Bob Willard Administrator: Anna Jackson

For advertising contact: Contact Information: Cahaba Sun P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253

Published by: Cahaba Sun LLC

Legals: Cahaba Sun is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or

graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Cahaba Sun is designed to inform the Trussville community of area school, family and community events. Information in Cahaba Sun is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Cahaba Sun. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.

Please recycle this paper.

ON THE COVER: Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat stands outside of Trussville City Hall on Dec. 2. Photo by Erin Nelson.

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Business BUSINESS HAPPENINGS news to PERSONNEL MOVES share? If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business in Trussville, let us know!

Share your news at: about-us/connectabout-us with-us

Regions, with offices at 193 Main St. and 429 Main St., recently announced Brad Kimbrough will retire Feb. 28 following a nearly 29-year career at the bank, the last 14 of which he has served as controller and chief accounting officer. Kimbrough will be succeeded as controller by Anil Chadha, a 20-year banking industry veteran who joined Regions in 2011 and currently serves as head of risk shared services and analytics. Chadha will lead the bank’s broader controller group, which includes Karin Allen, who has been elevated by Regions to serve as assistant controller and chief accounting officer. In addition, James Eastman of the controller group has been named assistant controller and will manage business unit controller functions. Jon Harden will continue as accounting and treasury operations manager.

ANNIVERSARIES Dr. Jewelry, 243 Gadsden Highway,


is celebrating the eighth anniversary of being at its current location. Dr. Jewelry has been doing business in and around Trussville for more than 35 years, and his son, Matt Davis, is completing his gemologist degree. 205-467-0222,

Lighting Concepts, 570 Simmons Drive, is celebrating its 34th anniversary this month. 205-655-7285,

JR Millington Dentistry, 116 Watterson Parkway, is celebrating 10 years in business this month. The practice moved to its current location in 2019. 205-655-7774, Magic City Computers, 7129 Gadsden Highway, is celebrating its 28th anniversary this month. The family-owned business specializes in custom builds, gaming computers, laptops and computer maintenance. 205-655-2848, The Balancing Point, 1027 Gadsden Highway, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this month. The shop was formerly located in downtown Trussville but is now located in Argo. 205-661-0054,

Cahaba Insurance Agency, 11 Office Park, is celebrating its 37th anniversary this month. 205-655-4626, Boot Barn, 1905B Edwards Lake Road, is celebrating five years in Trussville this month. 205-661-0310,

Many reasons call us to care for you At Ascension St. Vincent’s, you’ll find nurses, doctors, caregivers and more who deeply care about you and your health. We have countless reasons for loving what we do: listening and caring for you — body, mind and spirit. Whenever you need care, we’ll be there with the right care, at the right place, at the right time. It’s our calling. © Ascension 2022. All rights reserved.





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The former Sheepdog Firearms location on Deerfoot Parkway undergoes renovations to be suited as the new training facility for the Trussville Police Department on Dec. 2. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Trussville approves $41M fiscal 2022 budget, its largest ever By GARY LLOYD The Trussville City Council in September approved its city budget for fiscal 2022. The $41 million budget is the largest budget the city has ever approved and is more than $2 million greater than the fiscal 2021 amended budget. The budget includes a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for city employees and the continuation of longevity pay for eligible city employees. There are budgeted items for new city vehicles for various departments, police equipment, other needed equipment and more. On the same date the City Council approved the budget, it approved an ordinance issuing a $2.45 million general obligation warrant to acquire, renovate and develop a new facility for Trussville Police Department operations. The facility is the former Sheepdog Firearms on Deerfoot Parkway, which closed in March after four years in business. The large budget comes as Trussville continues to grow. The 2020 U.S. Census showed Trussville with a population of 26,123, a 31% increase since 2010. “The numbers that were released were a little higher than I thought they would be but not surprising,” Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat recently said. “We all realize that Trussville has been and continues to be

a destination choice for a lot of people and businesses. Our investment in public safety, quality of life, schools, and infrastructure makes Trussville appealing for people to live, work, and raise their families. As we continue to plan for the future, we have to recognize the fact that we now have an expectation to live up to, and I know myself and our [City Council] realize it.” Census figures affect Trussville’s funding in a big way for the next decade. Gasoline tax funds, including the state’s 10-cent gas tax, are based on Trussville’s census count for the next 10 years. Internet sales tax is distributed on a population basis from the census count. Capital improvement funds and other funds from the state are allocated by census population. Businesses use census data to determine where to build offices, stores and industrial facilities. Census statistics are also the basis for federal dollars and grant funding, including programs such as Medicaid; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the National School Lunch Program; and Head Start. Each person counted generates nearly $1,600 in federal funding for Alabama and its communities. The fiscal 2022 budget can be reviewed at uploads/2021/10/1-FY2022-Budget.pdf


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SCHOOLHOUSE Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Kyle Parmley at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Meet TCS Network Administrator Matt Kinsley Matt Kinsley joined the Trussville City Schools Technology Department during the summer of 2021. His responsibilities are vast and vital. Without his expertise, day-to-day teaching and learning would look very different. Maintaining a large network in this high-tech era requires a wide array of skills and talents, including a dynamic personality and sharp interpersonal communication skills. Q: What is your job title and what are your general day-to-day duties? A: I am a network administrator. I monitor the network, so things like making sure that the Wi-Fi is functional and user experience is uninterrupted. I monitor traffic on the network looking for any suspicious or malicious traffic and set policies to mitigate security risks. Lastly, a large component of the position is ensuring communication is available

building-to-building so that teachers and staff are able to access their files/applications as needed. Q: What was attractive to you about this position at TCS? A: What interested me the most in the opportunity to join TCS was becoming a part of and working within this community. My wife and I relocated to Alabama from New York in 2020 and have felt the most at home here in Trussville. In addition, coming from a position where I was solely responsible for all IT aspects, it was nice to join a team environment that you could brainstorm and bounce things off of. Q: What have been some of your biggest takeaways so far regarding this new role? A: When a WORF [work order release

form] comes in, get on it! Q: For someone seeking this line of work in which you’re in, what advice would you give them? A: Learn … and don’t stop learning! Technology is constantly evolving, and new solutions to new problems emerge all the time. I try to spend at least an hour a day on Udemy, YouTube or doing some type of research to enhance my knowledge in areas I know I’m weak in. Q: Outside of work, tell us a little bit about yourself. A: My wife and I have a little boy, Charlie, who just turned a year old. I love to participate in all sports and watch a few. I’m also a huge Michigan Wolverines fan and have a Zaxby’s salad almost every day for lunch. – Submitted by Trussville City Schools.

Matt Kinsley joined the Trussville City Schools Technology Department as a network administrator during the summer of 2021. Photo courtesy of Trussville City Schools.

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Williams recognized for workmanship Hewitt-Trussville High School senior Cameron Williams was recently recognized by the Academy of Craft Training for his outstanding welding efforts. Williams’ welding took place at Brookwood Hospital, where an expansion by Trinity Contractors remains underway. Williams spends part of his day at Birmingham’s Academy of Craft Training, a private/public partnership between the commercial construction industry and Alabama’s K-12 career and technical education system. ACT’s mission is to recruit, educate and guide high school students for educational and employment opportunities in the construction industry, where the pool of skilled workers remains low. Williams plans to continue in skilled trades after high school. – Submitted by Trussville City Schools.

Students recently collected thousands of non-perishable food items for the We are Family Food Drive. Photo courtesy of Trussville City Schools.

Elementary schools participate in food drive

Hewitt-Trussville High School senior Cameron Williams. Photo courtesy of Trussville City Schools.

Magnolia Elementary School, along with Paine Elementary and Cahaba Elementary, recently partnered with Miss Trussville Isabella Weyerman during the We are Family Food Drive. Through the drive, which took place Nov. 1-5, students collected thousands

of non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Trussville Ecumenical Assistive Ministry, a local nonprofit organization that provides food and assistance to local families in need. – Submitted by Trussville City Schools.

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COVER STORY: ‘Vision’ for Trussville expected to become clearer in 2022

Development continues in early December at the Trussville Entertainment District. Photos by Erin Nelson.

City’s work moves forward T By GARY LLOYD

Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat said the entertainment district buildout should be complete by the end of 2022.

he future, quite honestly, may be now in Trussville. Downtown loop roads, a new fire station and an expanded Trussville City Hall are all projects of importance in 2022, Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat said. “I think all three of those could be going on about the same time in 2022,” he said. The first loop road connection to be constructed will begin at Talley Street and pass in front of where the Trussville Church of Christ building once was and behind Trussville First United Methodist Church. It will connect with Glenn Avenue, which ends at the intersection with Main Street by Marco’s Pizza, where there is now a traffic signal. The second loop road connection to be

constructed will involve creating a road beside and around Trussville Pediatric Dentistry that connects with Vann Circle and ends at the intersection with Main Street by Edgar’s Bakery, where, Choat said, the Alabama Department of Transportation has indicated another traffic signal may be constructed. Choat said it will take 18 to 24 months to complete the “much-needed” project. Choat said a fourth fire station will be constructed in 2022, likely in the Norris Farms area of Trussville-Clay Road. Choat said his hope is that the new station will include all the administrative offices that are currently at the Administration Building on Cherokee Drive. The city’s Inspections Department could be located at the new station, too. Choat said another major project to likely begin in 2022 is the expansion of

JANUARY 2022 Trussville City Hall into the administration building that sits between City Hall and the Trussville Utilities building on Main Street. The new building would be a two-story facility with the Trussville City Council chambers on the main floor and staff on the second floor. The current City Hall building would become a Public Safety building for the Trussville Police Department and Trussville Fire Station No. 1. Choat said the hope is to tie the design in with the new Trussville Utilities building design, blending modern with the historic architecture of the nearby Cahaba Project. “I think there are a lot of things you’ll see over the next two-to-three years kind of come to fruition,” Choat said. Additionally, Choat said the downtown entertainment district buildout should be complete by the end of 2022. There is currently a freestanding restaurant being constructed. An Alabama Fallen Warriors memorial project is planned for the Veterans Park area, to be built mostly with private donations, Choat said. It will be 11 rows across and 11 down with a flagpole in the middle. Engraved dog tags will adorn concrete markers honoring fallen service members. The plan is to dedicate the project on Memorial Day. “We’re pretty excited about that,” Choat


A rendering of the new Trussville City Hall, a two-story building with the Trussville City Council chambers on the main floor and staff on the second floor. Rendering courtesy of TurnerBatson Architects.

said. “It’s a great project. I’m excited that we want to do it.” Recreationally, the Trussville Civic Center will have all new exercise equipment in 2022. The city may convert a small baseball field into a Miracle League field soon. Choat said a gymnastics center will be built behind the civic center. The city’s gymnastics program currently has 300 children participating, and the cheer program has 400. Freeing up the blue

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gym at the city’s Parks and Recreation building on Parkway Drive — the former Hewitt-Trussville Junior High School — will allow more space for recreational basketball, which saw an increase from around 220 kids to 300 over the past year, Choat said. “We just think we have an opportunity to have something very special here,” Choat said. As the population of Trussville has

grown, more housing developments, especially in the U.S. 11 area on the north end of the city, are under discussion. The latest U.S. Census figures reported in 2020 show a population of 26,123, a 10-year increase of about 31%. With so much growth and opportunity, specific goals in Trussville’s 2040 Plan may come to fruition a decade or more early. “I guess the key word is the ‘vision’ of keeping Trussville moving forward,” Choat said. “I think 2022 could be another year for opportunity and still be part of that vision that we’ve talked about in our 2040 Plan.” A large item in that 2040 Plan was the construction of a fourth elementary school to alleviate overcrowding at Paine Elementary School. It would appear that fourth elementary school could be approaching adolescence by the time 2040 rolls around. Choat said the Glendale Farms area along U.S. 11 is the likely destination for it, and would likely need to be constructed to hold 800 to 1,000 students. He said Paine Elementary is already up to close to 1,350 students, and 1,500 is the maximum before portable classrooms are used again. Choat and key stakeholders in the city planned for this fourth elementary school, for this continued growth, but, “I just didn’t know it was going to come this soon.”

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Huskies win inaugural girls flag football title By KYLE PARMLEY The play worked the second time. The Huskies ran the play in the first overtime unsuccessfully. But in the second overtime, Deandrea Powell’s short pass over the middle was caught in traffic by Hannah Dorsett to lift Hewitt-Trussville High School to the championship in the inaugural girls flag football state tournament. Dorsett emerged from the moment half stunned, half elated, setting off an explosion of emotion for the victors. The successful conversion gave the Huskies a 14-13 victory over Smiths Station on Dec. 1 to kick off the Super 7 high school football state championship event at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. “The other team made a good play, then Hannah dove for the ball,” said Powell, Hewitt-Trussville’s quarterback. “When I saw that happen, it was amazing to see.” Smiths Station tied the game with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, scoring on a 26-yard pass from Brynn Repicky to Emily McGuire. But the conversion failed, leaving the score 13-13. It appeared as if Hewitt-Trussville had put the game away just a few minutes earlier. Holding to a 13-7 lead for the entirety of the second half, Jordan Hunter broke up a Smiths Station pass on fourth down to get the ball back for the Huskies. But Smiths Station got one more stop and got the ball back with less than a minute to play. The Panthers drove the length of the field and scored to send it to overtime. Both teams failed to convert in the first overtime, then D’yona Jones knocked away a Panthers pass to open the second extra frame. That set up Dorsett’s game-winning catch to give her team the title in the first season of the sport in Alabama. “That’s our first overtime — we knew the process, but you don’t know it until you go through it and make those decisions,” Hewitt co-head coach Taylor Burt said. “It was just trying to stay calm and keep playing our game and keep doing what we needed to do. Did we stay calm? Not a whole lot, but we definitely tried, and when it came time for the whistle to blow, they got it together.” Hewitt wrapped up an undefeated season with the win, two weeks after beating Oxford 25-0 in the semifinals. Burt, the school’s two-time state champion softball coach, and Tonya Hunter, the girls basketball coach, split the coaching duties. “We learned together, and let me tell you, this was the best experience I’ve ever had,” said Hunter, who ran the team’s defense. “I love basketball, but this is the best experience sharing it with Coach Taylor and those kids.”

Above: The Huskies celebrate after Hewitt-Trussville’s Hannah Dorsett scored the game-winning point in overtime of the girls flag football championship game against Smiths Station on Dec. 1 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Below: Hewitt-Trussville’s Audre Benson (9) runs the ball as Smiths Station’s Gracie Tice (11) moves in to pull a flag. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Smiths Station drove the field on its opening drive and scored a touchdown on Repicky’s 1-yard run. She threw a successful pass to McGuire for the conversion to give the Panthers a 7-0 edge. Hewitt answered with a nice drive, with Dorsett’s 16-yard reception setting up Powell’s highlight 10-yard touchdown run. She eluded multiple defenders and stretched the

ball across the goal line as her flag was being pulled. The conversion failed, leaving Hewitt with a 7-6 deficit. The Huskies took the lead a couple minutes before halftime. Audre Benson began the drive with a 30-yard run and scored a few plays later on a 6-yard run. Powell completed a pass to Avery Huffstutler for the extra point to make it 13-7.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be with, not just my team, but my family from different sports,” said Benson, one of a few players excelling on both sides of the ball for Hewitt-Trussville. Benson led the team offensively, rushing for 57 yards and catching six passes for 67 yards. Powell finished the afternoon 18-of-22 passing for 161 yards and accumulated 21 rushing yards. Dorsett completed three passes in the game as well, totaling 25 yards. She caught five balls for 48 yards in regulation. Simon, who celebrated a birthday the day of the game, had 48 receiving yards as well, while Jordan Hunter finished with four catches for 23 yards. Lily Burford led the Huskies defense with seven stops. Gracie Reeves had five stops, including a sack. Ana Henson had four stops, and April Hooks finished with two. Layla Bradshaw, Kate Hicks, Jasmine Hawkins, Sarah Beth Golden, Chaney Peters, Olivia Burton, Haleigh Chambers, Riley Rudick, Sarah Hindman, Mary Alston, Taylor Davis, Riley Tyree and Olivia Stults all played for the Huskies this season as well. “It was amazing to win the first ever state championship,” Powell said.





Huskies girls finish 3rd at state cross-country meet Sophia Knox led the Huskies, placing 13th and finishing with a time of 19:15 at the Class 7A state meet Nov. 6 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. Photo courtesy of Marvin Gentry/ AHSAA.

By ERIC TAUNTON The Hewitt-Trussville High School girls cross-country team placed third at the Class 7A state meet Nov. 6 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. Sophia Knox led the team, placing 13th and finishing with a time of 19:15. She was followed by Kylee Sisk (15th, 19:19), Avery Cahoon (20th, 19:33), Maci Mills (21st, 19:33), Kinley Harris (27th, 19:43), Hannah O’Kelley (105th, 21:46) and Amberli Santiago (106th, 21:46). “Going back to the summer, we had a team goal for the girls of having their team average at 19:30 and having a split that was under 30 seconds,” said Huskies head coach Matthew Michalke. “When we set that goal, some people on the team thought it was lofty, but we felt that that was what was going to take to compete in 7A.” Michalke said the girls team met both of those goals, with an average of 19:28 and a 27-second split. Five girls on the team ran under 20 minutes, the first time all season that has happened. “It was by far their best performance of the season,” Michalke said. “They raced hard, they peaked correctly, so we were really excited.” Hewitt’s fifth runner was absent the day of the race due to illness, but Michalke said everyone stepped up and ran a solid race. “Every single varsity girl PR’d [set a personal

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record] except for our No. 2, and she was within a couple seconds of her PR,” Michalke said. The boys team placed fifth in the meet. They were led by Mitchell Phillips, who placed fourth with a 15:45 finish. Philips was followed by Tristan Teer (sixth, 15:46), Rush Lachina (43rd, 16:40), Thomas Himes (47th, 16:43), Garrett Yokeley (69th, 17:07), Jack Pate (84th, 17:28) and Brooks Maddox (86th, 17:30). “This was definitely [their] most complete race of the season,” Michalke said. “We were looking to have all of our five guys go sub-17 [minutes]. We didn’t quite meet that goal, but we were really, really close. We had our top two go sub-16, which was huge.” The top four runners clocked a time under 17 minutes for the first time all season. Yokeley, the fifth runner, nearly got there as well. Yokeley missed a portion of the season due to injury but was able to come back in time for the state race, Michalke said. “That was big, him stepping back up and doing what we thought he was going to do in the summer [before] we lost him for about a month,” Michalke said. Despite the fifth-place finish, Michalke was pleased with the way the boys team performed. “You’re always a little disappointed when you don’t come home with a trophy, but in terms of walking away for both teams and being able to say they did their absolute best, we can definitely say that,” Michalke said.





Clay-Chalkville head coach Drew Gilmer hoists the Class 6A state championship trophy following the Cougars’ game against Hueytown on Dec. 3 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Clay-Chalkville capped off an unbeaten season with a dramatic 46-42 win. Photos by Todd Lester.

Osley’s 5 TDs lead Cougars to state title By KYLE PARMLEY The Clay-Chalkville High School passing attack has garnered plenty of headlines this season. Rightfully so. The Cougars’ aerial attack has been exceptional. But the story the night of Dec. 3 was Edward Osley. The senior running back, who has received a mysterious lack of recruiting attention from big college programs, earned MVP honors after a brilliant performance in the Class 6A state championship game. Clay-Chalkville capped off an unbeaten season with a dramatic 46-42 win over Hueytown in the 6A title game at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium, wrapping up the Super 7 high school football championships. Osley was a force, rushing 28 times for 152 yards and a whopping five touchdowns,

These guys did the same thing they’ve done all year, which is go back to work every single play. They believed the whole time. They love each other and play hard for each other.

the last of which put his team ahead for good with just over seven minutes to play in the game. “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but if I watched him tonight, I’d want him on my football team,” Clay-Chalkville head coach Drew Gilmer said following the game.


Osley finished the season with 33 rushing touchdowns and saved one of his best performances for last. “It really means a lot,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence going into this. I love playing with my team, and I thank my coaches for helping me get better every day.” The state title was the third in program

history for the Cougars, capping off the school’s second 15-0 season ever. ClayChalkville also won championships in 1999 and 2014. “I couldn’t be happier for these guys, parents, students, players, this community. It’s a great night. It couldn’t happen to a better group of young men,” Gilmer said. The game was effectively sealed shortly following Osley’s final score of the night. After the Cougars took a 40-34 lead, the ensuing kickoff bounded off a Hueytown player and shot back behind the ClayChalkville kickoff unit. The Cougars recovered and, shortly thereafter, Khalib Johnson hit Mario Craver on a beautifully thrown 36-yard touchdown pass to make it 46-34. Hueytown added a late score in the final minute to secure the final margin. “I wish I could [say we designed that],”





Above: Clay-Chalkville wide receiver Mario Craver (4) catches a touchdown late in the championship game. Photo by Todd Lester. Right: Clay-Chalkville running back Edward Osley (22) runs the ball as he breaks away from a tackle by Hueytown’s Mikel Hines (90). Photo by Erin Nelson.

Gilmer said. “We were just trying to squib it down the field, trying to put the ball on the ground and give our guys a chance to get the ball. It just so happened it hit one of them and came back to us. I guess it was better to be lucky than good.” Johnson’s final strike to Craver finished off an efficient night for the senior quarterback. The University of Louisville signee completed 15-of-19 passes for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Craver led the Cougars with 126 receiving yards on six catches. “Mario is a great receiver and he made a play for me,” Johnson said. The two teams exchanged touchdowns through the much of the first half. Osley scored on runs of 33, 13 and 2 yards in the first half, while De’Andre Coleman accounted for the Golden Gophers’ scoring on a 66-yard reception and a 1-yard rush. The Cougars took a 22-14 lead into the break and threatened to put the game away in the third quarter. In the third, Clay-Chalkville went ahead by two scores on Nate Owens’ 15-yard reception from Johnson. Jakael Rowser scored on a 7-yard run for Hueytown later in the quarter, but the Cougars answered right back on Osley’s 11-yard score to make it 34-20. Hueytown refused to wilt, though. Earl Woods capped off a nice drive with a 2-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 34-28. The Golden Gophers tied it on their ensuing possession. A fumble recovery gave them a short field and Vince Tucker caught a 7-yard pass from Woods on fourth down to tie the proceedings at 34-34. Osley was clearly not tired, scampering

27 yards on Clay’s next drive to score for the fifth time, giving his team a 40-34 lead with 7:11 to play. Osley averaged 5.4 yards per carry on the night. The game plan going in was to be persistent with the running game, knowing it would pay dividends later on. “We knew it was going to be a big deal for us to establish the run,” Gilmer said. “We can’t be impatient with the 3- and 4-yard runs because eventually we’re going to be able to wear them down.” Marquarius White, a Tennessee signee, caught six balls for 81 yards. Owens went for 24 yards on two catches and Osley had a 20-yard reception of his own. Clay-Chalkville scored at least 40 points in 14 of its 15 games this season, the only exception a 24-18 win over Mountain Brook in the 6A semifinals against one of the top defenses in the state. That win avenged a quarterfinal loss to the Spartans last season. The Cougars won their first region title since 2015 this fall, notching wins over Pinson Valley, Gardendale (twice), Briarwood and Oak Mountain along the way. “We played a lot of great teams this year,” Gilmer said. “It wasn’t about them. It was about us and how we could execute every single play.” Clay-Chalkville defensive coordinator Matt Glover’s unit was led by linebacker DJ Barber, who led the Cougars with 11 tackles on the night. Jayden Sweeney finished with nine tackles as well. Hueytown’s electric quarterback, Earl Woods, put together a great statistical night. He was 26-of-44 passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns, one to Coleman and another to Vince Tucker. Woods ran for 112

The Cougars celebrate with the state championship hats following their 46-42 win over Hueytown. Photo by Erin Nelson.

yards and a touchdown as well. But the Cougars made life difficult for Woods all night. Rodarius Sykes earned a pair of sacks, while Cameran Jones, Devin Finley and Jordan Walker all notched sacks as well. Coleman, Hueytown’s top receiver, finished with 15 catches for 149 yards. He had a receiving score and two rushing touchdowns as well. This year’s Super 7 was the first held at the newly-minted Protective Stadium, where UAB now plays its home games. The threeday event set a new record with a total attendance of 62,544. “This was great news for our schools,”

AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs said. “It is also a testament to the strong support the cities and communities across our state have for our member school education-based athletics programs.” The Cougars have won at least 10 games in each of Gilmer’s five seasons leading the program, twice being stopped short in the semifinals and twice in the quarterfinals. But this team refused to settle for anything less than a blue map. “These guys did the same thing they’ve done all year, which is go back to work every single play,” Gilmer said. “They believed the whole time. They love each other and play hard for each other.”





All-South Metro Football

Osley, Gilmer claim postseason honors

By KYLE PARMLEY The 2021 high school football season has come and gone, with the annual Starnes Media All-South Metro Football Team here to highlight the standout performances of so many players throughout the area. After winning Offensive Player of the Year in 2020, Oak Mountain quarterback Evan Smith is this year’s overall Player of the Year. He finished off a stellar high school career with another brilliant campaign, making contributions in all three phases of the game and showing great leadership as well. Clay-Chalkville took home a couple of honors, with running back Edward Osley claiming Offensive Player of the Year and Drew Gilmer being named Coach of the Year. The Cougars went 15-0, regularly blasting opponents with a devastating offensive attack. Mountain Brook linebacker John McMillan is the Defensive Player of the Year. He was one of the leaders on one of the best defenses in recent memory. The Spartans pitched seven shutouts in its 14 games, allowing 3.8 points per game in their 12 wins. ► Player of the Year: Evan Smith, Oak Mountain ► Offensive Player of the Year: Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville ► Defensive Player of the Year: John McMillan, Mountain Brook ► Coach of the Year: Drew Gilmer, Clay-Chalkville


► QB – Evan Smith, Oak Mountain: capped off an incredible high school career with 28 total touchdowns on the year. He rushed 1,110 yards and threw for 1,184 yards, leading the Eagles to the second round of the playoffs. ► QB – Khalib Johnson, ClayChalkville: put together eye-popping stats, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns on the way to a state title. ► RB – Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville: rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in a remarkable season. ► RB – James Hammonds, Hewitt-Trussville: at the top of the heap in Class 7A, rushing for 1,142 yards with 15 touchdowns. ► WR – Omari Kelly, Hewitt-Trussville: led the area in receiving by a wide margin, hauling in 84 passes for 1,335 yards and 13 touchdowns. ► WR – Marquarius White, ClayChalkville: led the Cougars dynamic receiving corps, eclipsing 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. ► WR – Jackson Beatty, Mountain Brook: led an experienced Spartans position

Clay-Chalkville running back Edward Osley (22) quiets the crowd with a late score during a game against Hueytown in the Class 6A state championship Dec. 3 at Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Photo by Todd Lester.

group with 769 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdown. ► WR – Amare Thomas, Pinson Valley: hauled in 42 passes for 824 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the Indians offense. ► OL – Alex Moorer, Briarwood: a three-year starter and the Lions starting center, finishing with 45 pancakes. ► OL – Riley Quick, Hewitt-Trussville: was the top lineman for a strong Huskies offense and a three-year starter. ► OL – Wilder Hines, Mountain Brook: only gave up two sacks all season. ► OL – Cameron Ambrose, Pinson Valley: the leader of the Indians line, grading out over 90% every game. ► OL – Hoke Smith, Vestavia Hills: led the Rebels offensive line with an 84% grade and 22 knockdowns. ► ATH – Cole Turner, Vestavia Hills: did a little bit of everything for the Rebels, hauling in 42 passes for 581 yards and seven touchdowns, as well as accounting for touchdowns passing and returning punts and kickoffs. ► ATH – Cooper Griffin, Chelsea: moved to tight end this season and caught 51 passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns, while also serving as the team’s backup quarterback and playing on special teams.

► K/P – Peyton Argent, Hoover: made all 62 extra points and converted on 9-of-11 field goals.


► DL – Gavin Nelson, Oak Mountain: finished his career with a stellar campaign, finishing with 96 tackles, 15 for loss and six sacks. ► DL – Justice Finkley, Hewitt-Trussville: wreaked havoc everywhere, finishing with 96 tackles, 10 for loss and four sacks. ► DL – Garyson Maddox, Chelsea: finished with 67 tackles and five sacks while anchoring the Hornets’ defensive line in his third year as a starter. ► DL – Gray Doster, Mountain Brook: lived in the backfield for a dominant Spartans defense, finishing with 10 tackles for loss. ► LB – Jamarion White, Hewitt-Trussville: one of the top players in the area, racking up 127 tackles and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns. ► LB – DJ Barber, Clay-Chalkville: accrued 113 tackles and nine sacks in the middle of the Cougars strong defense. ► LB – Jakhi Mullen, Oak Mountain: racked up 107 tackles with 16 for loss. ► LB – John McMillan, Mountain Brook: made over 100 tackles for the Spartans, 10 of them for loss, forced eight turnovers and contributed 15 quarterback

pressures. ► DB – Reece Garner, Briarwood: finished with 106 tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups and six receiving touchdowns in an outstanding season. ► DB – TJ Metcalf, Pinson Valley: added 95 tackles and four interceptions for the Indians. ► DB – John Ross Ashley, Vestavia Hills: intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles. ► DB – Corbitt Grundhoefer, Oak Mountain: finished with 84 tackles and intercepted three passes in a single game. ► ATH – Garrett Murphy, Oak Mountain: contributed 128 total tackles, two sacks and two interceptions, while making several clutch field goals as well.


► QB – Christopher Vizzina, Briarwood: showed his value as a true dual-threat for the Lions, throwing for 18 touchdowns and running for 16 more. ► QB – Bennett Meredith, Hoover: guided an explosive Bucs offense, throwing for 2,582 yards and accounting for 30 touchdowns. ► RB – Ahamari Williams, Hoover: scored 20 total touchdowns in a strong year, rushing for 1,171 yards. ► RB – Luke Reebals, Briarwood:


Clay-Chalkville head coach Drew Gilmer talks with WOTM after the Cougars’ state championship win. Photo by Erin Nelson.

despite battling injury much of the year, still scored 20 touchdowns with over 1,000 all-purpose yards. ► WR – Mario Craver, ClayChalkville: exploded onto the scene this fall, scoring 10 touchdowns and flying past 800 receiving yards. ► WR – Aron Marsch, Homewood: led a deep Patriots unit with 50 grabs, 634 yards and seven touchdowns. ► WR – Ethan Hammett, Oak Mountain: made several big catches for the Eagles and finished with 510 yards and six touchdowns. ► WR – Jay Butler, Briarwood: made big plays all season, racking up 527 yards and six touchdowns despite missing a few games. ► OL – Nic Rigdon, Oak Mountain: the senior right guard graded out at least 86% in


every game. ► OL – Ethan Vickers, Chelsea: graded out 87% for the year in his second year starting for the Hornets. ► OL – Cooper Johnston, Homewood: has started 24 straight games for the Patriots and graded higher than 90% most games. ► OL – Nelson Crawford, Mountain Brook: senior leader for a Spartans attack that gained over 4,200 yards. ► OL – Luke Oswalt, Oak Mountain: the Eagles right tackle graded no less than 81% all season. ► ATH – Connor Ridderhoff, Chelsea: snapped on every extra point, field goal and punt for the Hornets without a miscue. ► ATH – Carter Milliron, Hoover: a steady and reliable long snapper for the Bucs. ► K/P – Mitchell Towns, Vestavia Hills: punted 36 times for a 37.9 yard average while also serving as the Rebels starting quarterback.


► DL – Devin Finley, Clay-Chalkville: racked up eight tackles for loss and seven sacks. ► DL – Holden Patterson, Briarwood: a great run defender who finished with eight tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. ► DL – Corey Warren, Hoover: anchored a Bucs defensive line with 48 tackles and five sacks. ► DL – Hunter Osborne, Hewitt-Trussville: finished with 60 tackles and 10 for loss, with 16 hurries and nine pass deflections.



► LB – Haddon Stubbs, Briarwood: a versatile player for the Lions defense who nearly reached 100 tackles. ► LB – Houston Owen, Vestavia Hills: posted 121 total tackles for the Rebels. ► LB – Henry Watson, Homewood: finished with 111 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. ► LB – Trent Wright, Mountain Brook: had 105 tackles as one of the top players for the Spartans. ► DB – Grey Reebals, Briarwood: picked off four passes for the Lions. ► DB – Mac McCowan, Mountain Brook: broke up six passes and picked off a pair. ► DB – Brian Condon, Homewood: made 81 tackles in the Patriots secondary. ► DB – Jayden Sweeney, ClayChalkville: picked off three passes and made 46 solo tackles. ► ATH – Jaylen Mbakwe, ClayChalkville: made big plays for the Cougars on both sides of the ball, scoring eight receiving touchdowns, returning a punt for a touchdown and intercepting three passes.


► QB – Cade Carruth, Hewitt-Trussville; Woods Ray, Homewood; John Colvin, Mountain Brook; Zach Pyron, Pinson Valley ► RB – Cole Gamble, Mountain Brook; Will Waldrop, Mountain Brook; Michael Sharpe, Pinson Valley; Tucker Smitha, Vestavia Hills; Aaron Mason, John Carroll; Derrick Davis Jr., John Carroll

► WR – Ethan Anderson, Briarwood; Harvey Ray, Homewood; Jake Thompson, Mountain Brook; Keown Richardson, Vestavia Hills; Jabari Gaines, Hoover; Sky Niblett, Hoover; Cotton Peters, Hoover; RJ Hamilton, Hoover; Quad Harrison, John Carroll ► OL – Harrison Clemmer, Briarwood; Ryan Gunter, Hewitt-Trussville; Sawyer Hutto, Oak Mountain; Cameron Griffin, Pinson Valley; Carson Moorer, Pinson Valley; Jack Dawsey, Vestavia Hills; Hill Stokes, Vestavia Hills; Nelson Greiner, Vestavia Hills; AJ Franklin, Hoover ► ATH – Matt Miller, Hewitt-Trussville ► DL – Miller Stubblefield, Briarwood; Emmanuel Waller, Chelsea; Zach Smith, Oak Mountain; BJ Diakite, Pinson Valley; Caldwell Bussey, Spain Park; Andrew Sykes, Vestavia Hills; Lane Whisenhunt, Vestavia Hills; Markus Clark, Hoover; Terrell Jones, Hoover; Andrew Parrish, Hoover ► LB – Rodarius Sykes, Clay-Chalkville; Carter Engle, Homewood; Quinn Thomas, Mountain Brook; Carter Lehman, Oak Mountain; Mattox Vines, Oak Mountain; Jacobi Jackson, Pinson Valley; Davis Stewart, Vestavia Hills; Josh Carter, Hoover; Ashton Taylor, Hoover DB – Rickey Gibson, Hewitt-Trussville; Parker Sansing, Homewood; Jones Beavers, Mountain Brook; Braxton Dean, Mountain Brook; Jamari Mosley, Spain Park; Jackson Ayers, Vestavia Hills; Will Cox, Vestavia Hills; Jacob Finley, Hoover; Dale Miller, Hoover

Varsity Sports Calendar BASKETBALL Jan. 3: Boys at New Year’s Classic. Wallace State Community College. Jan. 7: @ Vestavia Hills. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m. Jan. 11: vs. Spain Park. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. Jan 14: vs. Gadsden City. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15: Girls @ Lovejoy (Georgia). 11:45 a.m. Jan. 18: Boys vs. Holt. Brookwood High School. 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21: vs. Vestavia Hills. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25: @ Spain Park. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28: @ Gadsden City. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.

WRESTLING Jan. 4: @ Spain Park. 5 p.m.

Jordan. 6 p.m.

Birmingham CrossPlex.

Jan. 27: vs. Arab. 6 p.m.


Jan. 8: vs. Vestavia Hills. 3 p.m.


Jan. 11: @ Hoover. 6 p.m.

Jan. 12: Hump Day Invitational. Birmingham CrossPlex.

Jan. 14-15: Southeastern Pools. Thompson High School.

Jan. 17: MLK Track Classic. Birmingham CrossPlex.

Jan. 20-21: North Regional Tournament.

Jan. 25: vs. Oxford, Mortimer

Jan. 29: Last Chance Invitational.

Jan. 27-28: State Tournament.

Jan. 6: vs. Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

Jan. 5: @ Vestavia Hills. 3 p.m. Vestavia Bowl. Jan. 6: vs. Pinson Valley. 4 p.m. Spare Time. Jan. 11: Rebel Roll. Vestavia Bowl.





OPINION Southern Musings By Gary Lloyd

For me, ‘All I can do is write about it’ I listen to a lot of music. If I’m not in work meetings, chances are that my cheap Sony headphones are covering my ears, funneling the sweet sounds of a wide range of music, from Luke Combs to Linkin Park, from Don Henley to Dierks Bentley. I’ve recently been on a Lynyrd Skynyrd kick. As a child of the 1990s, I grew up on this band, not because they were some new group, but because my parents listened to them as teenagers. I’m familiar with the songs we all know. That chord progression in “Tuesday’s Gone” and the introductions to “Free Bird” and “Simple Man” are all easily recognizable. As an Alabama native who attended the University of Alabama, I’ve heard “Sweet Home Alabama” more times than I can count. I heard it played live by a cover band in a Cancun hotel room lobby once. It’s even been my ringtone. One of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s songs recently came across a playlist of mine one day,

and, admittedly, I had never “I’m not tryin’ to put heard of it. down no big city Titled “All I Can Do Is But the things they write Write About It,” it grabbed about us is just a bore my attention from the Well, you can take a boy moment Ronnie Van Zant out of ol’ Dixieland, Lord opened his mouth. I find But you’ll never take ol’ inspiration in descriptive Dixie from a boy” songwriting. I can’t play As I’ve grown older, one chord on a guitar or it’s become obvious to me rhythmically tap a snare what writing topics intrigue drum, but I love learning me most. They include about the songwriting prothe endless symbolism the Lloyd cess. I talk about it regularly woods provide, bygone eras with a couple buddies who that seem to be fading into are almost as nerdy about it as me. distant memories, the experiences of old The song’s message is clear: to disap- people, peculiar dogs and, well, Skynyrd prove of the paving of the United States by lyrics. describing the natural beauty of this counWhen I cover high school football, I’ve try. It’s a message to slow the “progress” found that I’m no longer captivated by down and appreciate what’s here already. 53-yard flag routes or goal-line stands, I can almost hear the pain in Van Zant’s but rather how the former head coach is voice, the plea. In part, he sings: enjoying his retirement, what the former

star quarterback is up to now that he’s finished college. I guess I want these words to matter beyond the life of a thin, yellowing newspaper page. And I think that’s the point that Van Zant was trying to get across in this song. The chorus, in part: “And Lord I can’t make any changes All I can do is write ‘em in a song” So, for this season of life, I suppose I have Lynyrd Skynyrd to thank for my inspiration. I can’t make you care about those natural and historic areas, about how a 97-year-old World War II veteran replaced his own hot water heater, about the personality behind the football coach you want fired, about a longtime children’s librarian’s plans for retirement. All I can do is write about it. Gary Lloyd is the author of six books and is a contributing writer for the Cahaba Sun.

Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich

My last words of the old year, first words of the new 10:40 p.m. — New Year’s Eve. Hank Williams is on my radio. My wife is sleeping in the passenger seat. My coonhound is in the backseat. To bring in the year, we’ve gone for a drive on county roads that weave along the Choctawhatchee Bay. There are no cars out. The highway is vacant — except for police cruisers. I’ve never welcomed in a year like this. As a boy, my father and I brought in holidays with shotguns. We’d march to the edge of creation and fire 12-gauges at the moon. Then, I’d sip Coca-Cola; he’d sip something clear. Another year goes by without him. 11:02 p.m. — My tank is on E. I stop at a gas station. The pump card-reader is broken. My wife is still out cold. I go inside to pay. The clerk is a young girl with purple hair. She wanted to be with

her kids tonight, but somemy year. one called in with a sinus infection. 11:28 p.m. — I’m drivI buy a Coca-Cola in a ing. My wife is still sawing plastic bottle. logs. I’m riding through the I also buy a scratch-off north Florida woods, sipping lotto ticket. The last few Coke. Trees grow so high minutes of the year, I’m you can’t see the moon. It’s feeling lucky. I use my keys almost like poetry. to scratch the ticket. I win Long ago, my college $5. So, I buy another two. I professor told us to choose a win another dollar. poem to recite in class. Stu“Lucky you,” the cashier dents chose lofty selections Dietrich says. “Wish I could buy from the greats. Whitman, one, but it’s against store Dickinson, Frost. policy.” I consulted Daddy’s Hank Williams songTo hell with policy. It’s New Year’s Eve. book. He’d given it to me before he died. I buy her one. He’d wanted to be a guitar player once upon She swipes a coin from the take-a-penny a time, but he was God-awful. He gave the tray. She scratches. She wins $10. We instrument to me. high-five. I recited, “I’m So Lonesome I Could It’s only $10 but seeing her win makes Cry,” and made a D.

I wasn’t doing it for the teacher. 11:40 p.m. — My Coke is almost empty. I’m parked on the edge of the bay to watch fireworks. My coonhound is looking at me with red eyes. And I’m writing to you, just like I do every day. Listen, I don’t remember how I started writing, or why. I have nothing valuable to say, I don’t know any big words, and I’m as plain as they come. But I won’t lie to you, it has been precious to me. And so have you. These are my last words of the old year, my first words of the new: I love you. Happy New Year. Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the American South. He has authored nine books and is the creator of the “Sean of the South” blog and podcast.





7833 Deer Way

Real Estate Listings MLS #








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135 Yvonne St.





6828 Markham Drive



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42 Waterford Place

2029 Enclave Drive

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