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HEWITT-TTRUSS SVILLE

MOUN NTAIN BROO OK

CLAY-CCHALKVILLE

PREP FOOTBALL

2016

VEESTTAVIA HILLS

SEASON PREVIEW ANALY ANALYSIS, YSIS, S SCHEDULES, CHEDULES, ROSTERS AND MORE FOR 12 METRO TEAMS TEAMS

CH

EL

SE

A

JO H

NC

AR RO L

L

SPAIN PARK

PINSON VALLEY

OAK MOUNTAIN

HOOVER

HOMEWOOD


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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AUGUST 2016

briarwood Entering Class 5A action, Lions aim to capitalize on returners’ growth. 8

john carroll Putting past behind them, Cavaliers set sights on building foundations. 46

mountain brook

chelsea Hornets gunning for return trip to playoffs by staying focused. 14

Spartan seniors determined to bounce back from last season’s unraveling. 52

claychalkville Challenging schedule awaits Cougar squad hungry for 3rd shot at title. 20

hewitttrussville After reclassification shakeup, Huskies welcome new opponents. 26

homewood Relying on skill, sk Patriots transition into rebuilding mode. 34

oak mountain Strong start to the season crucial in Eagles’ plan of attack for new year. 60

pinson valley Leadership, physicality on the field among Indians’ top priorities. 66

spain park Following stellar 2015 performance, duplication is name of Jags’ game. 70

vestavia hills

hoover Not focusing on last year’s finish, Coach Niblett has Bucs full-speed ahead. 40

Rebels’ senior class prepares to step up, take ownership of season. 74

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look forward


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

RECLASSIFICATION: How have the regions changed? CLASS 7A

CLASS 6A

CLASS 5A

REGION 3

REGION 3

REGION 5

HOOVER HUFFMAN MOUNTAIN BROOK OAK MOUNTAIN

SPAIN PARK THOMPSON TUSCALOOSA CO. VESTAVIA HILLS

REGION 4 BOB JONES BUCKHORN GADSDEN CITY GRISSOM

HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE HUNTSVILLE JAMES CLEMENS SPARKMAN

BENJAMIN RUSSELL CHELSEA CHILTON COUNTY HELENA

OPELIKA PELHAM WETUMPKA

BRIARWOOD FAIRFIELD MOODY PLEASANT GROVE

REGION 5 HOMEWOOD HUEYTOWN JACKSON-OLIN JOHN CARROLL

PARKER RAMSAY SHADES VALLEY

Briarwood was reclassified to Class 5A, after two years at the 6A level. The Lions will look at a completely new set of region opponents.

REGION 6 Huffman jumped into Class 7A, and the Vikings will displace Hewitt-Trussville to mark the only change in Region 3. The Huskies move to Region 4 and now sit in a region made up heavily of Huntsville-area teams.

ST. CLAIR CO. SHELBY CO. WENONAH WOODLAWN

CARVER-B’HAM CENTER POINT CLAY-CHALKVILLE GARDENDALE

MINOR PINSON VALLEY WALKER

Chelsea remains in Region 3. Oxford, Pell City and Valley are replaced by Helena, Pelham and Wetumpka. Homewood and John Carroll stay in Region 5. Walker, Minor, Briarwood and Pelham are gone, replaced by Parker, Ramsay and Shades Valley. Clay-Chalkville and Pinson Valley remain in Region 6. Huffman, Shades Valley and Woodlawn depart and are replaced by Carver-Birmingham, Minor and Walker.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Hoover fans at the 2014 title game. Staff photo.

Biennial AHSAA restructuring shuffles regions, schedules

W

By KYLE PARMLEY

ith every two years comes the wind of change that is region reclassification. In 1984, the decision was made to add two classifications to the previous structure of a four-class system. From then through 2013, Class 6A remained the largest tier in the AHSAA. During that time, metro teams such as Hoover (seven times), Vestavia Hills (1998) and Clay-Chalkville (1999) won state championships in 6A. Homewood took home five at the 5A level, adding to a 1974 title at the 4A

level. Briarwood has even claimed three, two at 3A and another at 5A. The last cycle of reclassification brought about a new class: 7A, which now includes the top 32 schools in terms of enrollment. In 2014 alone, Hoover took home the first blue map in 7A football and ClayChalkville won its second state title in 6A. While the 2016 version of the shuffling of the deck was not near as earth-shattering as previous times, there are some changes that will mix up your favorite team’s schedule. Class 7A, Region 3 sees only one change, as Huffman joins the fray and

Hewitt-Trussville is sent to Region 4. The Huskies now find themselves in a region of primarily Huntsville-area teams. Chelsea, Homewood, John Carroll, ClayChalkville and Pinson Valley all see some change in their respective regions. Briarwood faces a whole new set of region opponents, as the Lions were dropped to 5A after the last two years at 6A. While the schedules will be slightly different, the football should be just as exciting.

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

BRIARWOOD CLASS A REGION

Lions

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

KOLBY KWARCINSKI WR CARSON EDDY RB MARK HAND LB ETHAN HOUSEL LB CHAMP STEWART DE

Photos courtesy of Todd Kwarcinski.

SR

WILLIAM GRAY QB HEIGHT: T:

WEIGHT: WEIGH


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Carson Donnelly, No. 28, and Bennett Miles, No. 3

Entering Class 5A action, Lions aim to capitalize on returners’ growth

T

By SAM CHANDLER

he Briarwood Christian School football team is finally back where it belongs. After 16 seasons of playing against schools with far more populous enrollments — due to the 1.35 multiplier forced upon private schools — the Lions return to a classification that truly matches their size. Resulting from the most recent wave of AHSAA realignment, Briarwood drops from Class 6A to 5A for the 2016 season. “The 1.35 doesn’t put us out of 5A,” Lions head coach Fred Yancey said. “We’re kind of in the top six or eight of 5A, but in reality

we would be third from the bottom, but that’s OK. We’re in 5A.” Prior to this fall, 1999 marked the last time Yancey’s team enjoyed the luxury of playing in its enrollment-correlating classification. After winning back-to-back 3A state championships in 1998 and 1999, Briarwood made the lofty jump to 5A at the turn of the century. Entering his 27th season at BCS, Yancey said the long-awaited shift should help his team in 2016. “Absolutely. I’m hoping it does,” he said. “I hope that our boys take the challenge to realize they’re playing against schools our size

See BRIARWOOD | page 10

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

BRIARWOOD CONTINUED from page 9 that play good football, and we’re going to have to match them.” The Lions will compete in 5A, Region 5, which is headlined by Wenonah High School and Pleasant Grove High School. Like Briarwood, both of those teams advanced to the second round of the state playoffs last season. Although the Lions only posted a 4-6 regular season record in 2015, they managed to secure a playoff spot for the 23rd straight season. Once there, they scored a hard-fought — and unexpected — first-round victory over 6A-7 champion Fort Payne High School. “We had to come from a place where we weren’t so good to become a good team, and that was our goal all year — to become a good team and beat a good team — and we really did,” Yancey said. “That was a big win to kind of prove the point that the kids were still getting better.” Briarwood will aim for further improvement this fall.

KaseyDavis

Dentistry

AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE

Yancey said he expects Gray — a stellar student with a GPA over 4.0 — to grow more comfortable in his starting role this fall. “I really do. I think William is such a good student that he’s not overwhelmed with information, and he’s got a year of starting under his belt,” Yancey said. “That’s a good sign that he’ll handle the offense fine.” But the success of Briarwood’s season, Yancey said, will boil down to the play of its running backs. Facing increasingly athletic competition in their new region, the Lions need a ball carrier who can make opposing defenses pay for their mistakes. “That will be the toughest thing,” Yancey said, “is do we have a running back that’s really quality?” Only time will tell who emerges as the bellcow back. J.R. Tran-Reno, Ashton Domingue and Wilson Hand are among the potential candidates.

Carson Eddy, No. 44

Despite losing a trio of college-caliber defensive starters in Carter Bankston, R.J. Jennings and Sam Sherrod, the team returns much of its core, especially on offense. Quarterback William Gray, wide receivers Carson Eddy and Kolby Kwarcinski and linemen Hunter Whatley and Nathan Cale enter the season with a year of varsity experience under their belts. “The chemistry on the offense is going to be really good,” Whatley said. “We all know each other and have been playing with each other forever.” Gray, a senior, will once again be tasked with directing Yancey’s option-based spread offense. After battling through growing pains in his first year under center, the dual-threat QB said he spent the offseason sharpening his ability to read defenses.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE

Champ Stewart, No. 29

Briarwood will also be searching for rising stars at key positions in the team’s 4-3 defense. In Sherrod’s absence at linebacker, Yancey said he expects senior Ethan Housel and sophomore Mark Hand to step up and fill the void. “We’re hoping that as a sophomore he steps up and becomes a big-time player for us,” Yancey said in reference to Hand. Up front, three-year starter Champ Stewart will anchor a line missing two significant pieces in Bankston and Jennings. Yancey said Stewart, a senior defensive end, has already received an offer from Jacksonville State. He will be joined in the trenches by seniors Jordan Harmon and Cooper Thompson. Bennett Miles, Bradford Pattillo and Carson Donnelly will contribute to a veteran secondary.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Gray will double as Briarwood’s punter. Although the kickoff specialist and place-kicker positions represent question marks, the Lions will look to discover viable options as they march toward their season goal: a state title. “Only one team in the classification’s going

to win it, but we tend to think that we want to be in that hunt,” Yancey said. “We want to be a team that has a reputation for playing at an extremely high level, fast pace; and that we have a reputation of playing with a lot of pride.”

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

BRIARWOOD 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRADE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Kolby Kwarcinski Ethan Housel Bennett Miles Andrew Sherrod Wilson Hand Barrett Tindall Michael Hiers Ashton Domingue J.R. Tran Reno William Gray Luke Miskelley Gabe Morris Matthew McKenna Cade Dickinson Mark Hand Luke Hess Mason Algren Gabe Russell Jordan Harmon Hudson Hartsfield Jonathan Hill Caleb Daniels Jay Kynerd

12 12 12 11 12 12 11 11 10 12 12 11 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 11 11 12 10

HT. 6' 6' 5'10 5'9 5'9 5'11 5'11 6' 6' 5'10 6' 5'9 5'11 5'9 6'1 6'1 5'8 5'11 6' 5'9 5'9 5'9 5'9

WT.

POS.

190 R 180 LB 160 DB 160 DB 185 FB 185 HB 168 QB 185 LB 185 QB/FB 190 QB 185 R 140 R 160 R 150 DB 180 LB 170 DB 140 QB 180 LB 210 DE 150 DB 170 FB 155 R 140 FB

STAFF

#

NAME

GRADE

26 27 28 29 30 32 33 34 35 36 40 42 44 45 50 51 52 54 55 56 57 58 59

Bradford Pattillo Graham Core Carson Donnelly Champ Stewart Alex Key J.A. Perry Max Crutchfield Mac McNamee Joseph Mungenast Brandon Guthrie Noah Whatley Brandon Kassouf Carson Eddy Sam Hamner Hunter Whatley Will Pratt Tucker Johnston Carson Kolb Conner Hutson Nathan Cale Cooper Thompson William Heidepriem Garrett Bell

12 12 11 12 10 10 11 10 11 11 10 11 11 10 12 10 12 11 12 12 12 11 11

HT.

WT.

POS.

6'1 5'10 5'11 6'3 5'8 5'9 5'10 5'9 5'10 5'9 6' 5'9 5'9 5'9 6'1 5'10 5'10 5'10 5'11 5'10 5'10 5'11 6'3

180 160 175 210 140 190 160 140 180 175 160 160 155 145 225 185 225 180 230 195 235 185 235

R R DB DE R DE DB R LB HB LB LB R LB OL DL OL OL OL OL DL OL OL

#

NAME

61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 70 71 72 73 77 80 81 82 83 84 86 88 89 91

Landon Berg Jacob Hawk Evans Hess Will Baumbach Cole Scordino Ward Combs Patrick Blythe Michael Holmes Ross Godbehere Mac Brown Ian Davis Riley Bush Brooks Burgess Collin Dorrill Ryan Walker Bryce Perrien Reid Mays P.C. Strickland Quaid Rasmussm Jake Dyson Michael Murphy Dalton Brooks

Fred Yancey

Record at Briarwood: 243-89 27th year at Briarwood

assistant coaches

OFFENSIVE LINE: Ernest Carroll RUNNING BACKS: Daniel Forester RECEIVERS: Bobby Kerley LINEBACKERS: Matthew Forester DEFENSIVE LINE: Shane Harmon DEFENSIVE BACKS: Brent Reese and Chris Donnelly

HT.

WT.

POS.

10 11 12 12 10 10 11 10 10 12 10 10 11 10 11 10 10 11 10 11 10 10

6' 6'1 6'1 6' 5'10 5'9 6'3 5'8 5'10 6'3 5'11 5'8 5'11 5'10 5'10 5'8 5'10 6'1 5'10 5'10 5'10 6'1

235 200 215 210 220 190 215 195 160 210 175 220 200 170 160 130 155 215 170 155 150 215

OL DL OL OL OL DL DL OL OL OL DL OL DL DL DB R R HB HB R DB DL

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: @ Vestavia Hills (Jamboree) AUG. 26: @ Chelsea SEPT. 2: Moody SEPT. 9: @ Wenonah SEPT. 16: Fairfield SEPT. 23: @ Mortimer Jordan

head coach

GRADE

SEPT. 30: @ St. Clair County OCT. 7: Woodlawn OCT. 14: @ Shelby County OCT. 21: Pleasant Grove OCT. 28: @ Madison Academy

2015 RESULTS (5-7, 4-3 in Class 6A, Region 5 CHELSEA: L 21-16 @ JACKSON-OLIN: L 26-20 HOMEWOOD: L 27-0 @ HUEYTOWN: W 13-10 OAK MOUNTAIN: L 35-0 WALKER: W 15-7 @ PELHAM: W 14-0

2nd round playoffs)

MINOR: L 26-14 JOHN CARROLL: W 34-12 @ MADISON ACADEMY: L 27-22 PLAYOFFS @ FORT PAYNE: W 30-26 AUSTIN: L 27-0


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

CHELSEA Hornets

AUGUST 2016

CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

MATTHEW MARQUET QB JAY VICKERS WR REGAN WORTHAM LB JALYN MILLER DE TYLER THOMAS K

Photos courtesy of Cari Dean.

ZALON REYNOLDS RB HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

SR


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Matthew Marquet, No. 5

Hornets gunning for return trip to playoffs by staying focused

T

By KYLE PARMLEY

he last two years have been similar for the Chelsea football team, in the fact that the Hornets have started out 5-0 both times. In 2014, Chelsea lost the next four and missed the playoffs, but last year, the Hornets turned the tide and won two of the next four to secure a postseason berth. Chris Elmore’s squad lost to Opelika and Benjamin Russell both times around — not losses for any team to hang its head about — but the difference was how his squad responded last year, as opposed to 2014. “We came out of those two games and got two more victories against Pell City and

Oxford, and that was the difference from the year before,” Elmore said, who enters his third year at the helm of the program. Chelsea gave No. 5 Blount all it could handle in the teams’ first-round matchup. The game was tied after three quarters before Blount pulled away in the final period for a 41-28 win, a performance Elmore called a “testament” to the team’s belief in themselves and the system. Elmore is taking the results from last year’s slate to instill confidence. Blount defeated McGill-Toolen, the Class 7A state champion, and nearly knocked off 6A champ Spanish Fort, and the Hornets played them to the wire.

See CHELSEA | page 16

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

CHELSEA CONTINUED from page 15 Opelika and Benjamin Russell were each Top 10 teams in 6A, and the Hornets battled with them as well. “We felt like overall that we couldn’t have asked any more of our players than what they gave us this season,” Elmore said. “7-4 maybe doesn’t look that impressive to some people, and I understand why, but we were proud of it, because of who we played and who beat us.” The Hornets played the same schedule the last two seasons, but shuffle things up in 2016 with a few new opponents in Class 6A, Region 3. Out are Valley, Oxford and Pell City. In are Helena, Pelham and Wetumpka. Outside the region, Chelsea travels to Oak Mountain to begin the season, hosts Briarwood Christian and Gardendale, and goes to Cullman to wrap up the regular season. If Chelsea is to make a second consecutive playoff appearance, it will have to maintain the strategy of staying focused on the moment. “Coach Elmore preaches it quite well,” senior running back Zalon Reynolds said. “We have to have that 1-0 mentality. We take every week, every practice, every rep that we do, we take it as if it’s the first game of the season.”

AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE An offensive unit that averaged nearly 32 points per game last season returns a host of playmakers for the Hornets. QB Matthew Marquet and running back Zalon Reynolds form the backbone of a dangerous attack. “I think Matt and Zalon are as good of players around,” Elmore said. “They’re both hardworking kids that are never going to give you any trouble.” The Hornets will need to replace AJ Jones’ production out of the backfield, and Reynolds’ increased workload will shoulder much of that, but Elmore would still like to establish some depth. Jay Vickers leads a receiver group that will feature a handful of guys who played significant minutes a year ago. Vickers established himself as a go-to threat in 2015, and guys like Zach Adams, Josh Gregg and Lee Rickard, among others, will

Jay Vickers, No. 3

be counted on as well. On the offensive line, Chelsea graduated three players, but had to go eight men deep into the rotation last year, and that developed depth will provide the core of the line in 2016. The challenge there will be for the Hornets to find quality depth should injuries strike.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE Chelsea has to replace three linebackers and a free safety, all among the team leaders in tackles in 2015. There will be some familiar faces in new places, as the deck is reshuffled a bit. Senior Regan Wortham moves to linebacker from defensive end after the departure of the trio of Blake Travelstead, Justin Painter and David Hardenbergh. Fellow senior Bryson Hardy slides over from corner to free safety to fill a void. Elmore said, “They’ve played in those games and they know what to expect. Now it’s just a matter of getting them ready to go at those different positions.” Jalyn Miller will start at defensive end and could see time at linebacker, Zac Young will get his chance to play the ‘Hornet’ safety spot, and junior defensive lineman Warner Wright impressed coaches with his toughness and work ethic during the offseason and will see significant playing time.

Regan Wortham, No. 7

Tyler Thomas, No. 17

SPECIAL TEAMS Tyler Thomas will handle the placekicking duties for the third straight year for the Hornets, and his leg has gotten stronger according to what his coach has seen from him. Chelsea will have to find a replacement at punter after Painter’s departure. Marquet is a possibility if needed, and would add a playmaking threat to make opposing teams think with his ability to throw the football.

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

CHELSEA 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

POS.

GRADE HT.

1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 19 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 25 26 27

Zalon Reynolds Colton Turner Jalyn Miller Jay Vickers Tyler Thomas Matthew Marquet Zac Young Regan Wortham Hunter Blackburn Lee Rickard Bryson Hardy Alec Little Kenny Simpson Will Rowser Will Sullivan Turner Griffin Josh Gregg Dylan Seabolt Hamad Hader Jackson Bryant Colton Carter Gaitan Blanchard Cody Walker Kaleb Tindall Theo Mangos Evans Shaw Tristan Pinska Bailey Hix Will Shaw Kendrick Simpson Ben Brasher Joseph Turnes Ethan Shaw

RB DB DE WR K QB DB LB WR WR DB QB DB WR DB QB QB/WR DB QB QB WR DB DB QB LB DB DB DB LB RB LB WR LB

12 10 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 11 11 12 10 10 12 11 10 10 11 10 11 10 11 12 12 12 12 11 10 11 10

WT.

5’7 177 5’5 108 5’9 203 5’10 163 5’8 158 6’0 172 5’10 173 6’0 175 5’11 149 6’0 157 5’7 142 5’10 n/a 5’7 157 5’6 180 5’7 160 5’5 150 5’11 178 5’8 155 5’5 125 5’8 160 5’8 150 5’7 165 6’0 172 6’1 185 5’9 165 5’9 148 5’10 140 5’9 134 5’11 180 5’7 176 5’6 150 5’10 154 5’11 175

STAFF head coach

Chris Elmore Record at Chelsea: 17-14 Fourth year at Chelsea

assistant coaches

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Zeb Ellison LINEBACKERS COACH: David Crabtree DEFENSIVE LINE COACH: Lee Hibbs RUN GAME COORDINATOR: Nathan Fordham PASSING GAME COORDINATOR: Gerald Neaves

#

NAME

POS.

28 29 30 31 32 32 33 34 35 36 37 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Scott Arnold Wade Moore Lionel James Vick Lindsey Austin Bearden Jeremy Strickland Christian Pruitt Will Hayes Colby Lambert Reid Burleson Austin Stallworth Carson Alexander Carter Burleson Nolan Forehand Hunter Offord Jakob Clayton Cody Massey Connor Griffin Stephen Fant Lake Phillips Clint Glaze Will Peacock Reid Maddox Cameron Pierce Jahnari Chisolm Houston Needham John Allen Bass Mason Roberts Logan Brasher Dalton Gentle Warner Wright Wesley Pouncey Marc Moody

DB WR RB RB DB WR WR LB WR DB RB LB DB DB LB DB RB HB LB WR DB TE DB DB DE OL DL DE OL DL DE OL OL

GRADE HT. 11 11 11 10 12 10 11 11 11 11 12 10 11 10 11 10 10 10 10 10 11 10 10 10 11 12 12 11 10 11 11 10 10

WT.

5’10 180 5’10 139 5’8 167 5’7 169 5’8 177 5’8 150 5’11 164 5’8 175 6’0 150 5’5 140 5’8 178 5’6 140 5’5 140 5’8 145 5’8 185 5’9 133 5’11 157 5’8 155 5’7 165 5’8 123 5’8 155 6’0 190 5’7 125 5’8 155 6’1 225 5’9 224 5’10 226 5’9 158 6’0 172 6’0 214 6’1 213 5’9 213 5’11 165

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: @ Oak Mountain AUG. 26: Briarwood SEPT. 2: Wetumpka SEPT. 9: @ Benjamin Russell SEPT. 16: @ Pelham SEPT. 23: Gardendale SEPT. 30: Open OCT. 7: @ Opelika OCT. 14: Chilton County OCT. 21: Helena OCT. 27: @ Cullman

#

NAME

POS.

58 59 60 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 70 71 72 73 74 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 99

Brett Bearden Matt Tyson Kevin Fine Todd Justice Spencer Jordan Jackson Dunn Matt Fant Nathan Tolbert Michael Griffin Drew Chambers Hunter Thompson Chris Knecht Tristan Carlee Ben Carpenter Garrett Evans Carson West Cade Pruitt Nathan Wood Hakeem Stanford Devin Hill Jacob Christian Reggie Fisher Lando Nichols Doug Wood Caleb Gore Zach Adams Jonah Moore Zach Shaw Andrew Bartlewski Nathan Trent Connor Graham Tanner Middleton Dawson Downard

OL LB OL DE OL OL LB OL OL OL OL DE DL OL OL DL DL OL DL DL OL WR DB WR DE TE WR WR WR WR WR K DL

GRADE HT. 12 10 12 10 11 11 10 11 11 11 10 10 10 11 10 10 12 12 10 11 12 10 10 10 11 11 11 10 10 10 11 11 12

5’8 5’9 5’10 5’11 6’0 6’1 5’7 5’8 5’8 5’9 6’0 5’10 5’6 6’0 6’1 5’10 6’1 6’1 5’10 5’11 5’10 6’0 5’5 6’0 5’10 6’1 6’5 5’10 5’6 5’6 5’9 5’5 5’8

WT. 222 175 230 182 223 171 157 189 182 198 202 155 206 186 218 210 231 285 185 273 301 170 140 155 177 236 152 166 134 133 131 146 171

2015 RESULTS (7-4, 4-2 Class 6A, Region 3 1st round playoffs) @ BRIARWOOD: W 21-16 @ SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: W 43-10 VALLEY: W 48-3 @ CHILTON COUNTY: W 44-21 HELENA: W 40-20 OPELIKA: L 40-25 @ BENJAMIN RUSSELL: L 42-24 PELL CITY: W 17-16 @ OXFORD: W 38-17 @ THOMPSON: L 56-21 PLAYOFFS @ BLOUNT: L 41-28


20

PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

CLAY-CHALKVILLE CLASS A REGION

Cougars

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

QUENTIN YOUNG RB TERRILL COLE WR TONY GURLEY RB KHYLON CLAYTON OL EDDIE ROX OL XAVIER WRIGHT OL TARRANCE MUSE DL KEILEND CLAYTON DL Photos by Ron Burkett.

NICO COLLINS WR HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

SR


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

21

Quentin Young, No. 26

Challenging schedule awaits Cougar squad hungry for 3rd shot at title

J

By KYLE PARMLEY erry Hood is selling his Cougars as the underdog. He’s done it a handful of times in the past few years, but it’s been pushed aside as coachspeak. When the likes of Hayden Moore, Terelle West, Ty Pigrome and T.J. Simmons were running rampant toward the end zones of Cougar Stadium, it was hard to believe him. Those guys have all departed the program and graduated from an offense that put up out-ofthis-world numbers all decade. Now, one name stands out that everyone knows: Nico Collins. The senior wide receiver has given opposing coaches nightmares during the past three

years, teaming up with Simmons to form one of the most dynamic receiving tandems in the nation. He’s the only starting skill player returning. Collins will look to do the same in his final year and knows what will happen if opposing defenses put too much emphasis on stopping just him. “(There will be a) lot of teams keying on me, but (we’ve) also got people on the other side that can make plays. It’s kind of like either way you’re going to have to stop all of us because we’re all out there making plays,” he said. Collins will certainly not be the only

See CLAY-CHALKVILLE | page 23

g in pt s! ce ent Ac Cli ow w N Ne

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

Nico Collins, No. 7

AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE The biggest hurdle for developing the 2016 version of the Clay-Chalkville offense is replacing Pigrome at quarterback. Willie Miller got the start in the spring game, with Tyrese Sewell taking a chunk of snaps as well. One of them is likely to take hold of the spot as the season gets underway Tony Gurley and Quentin Young are two players who will make their mark on the running back spot, and each has played major varsity minutes in the past, although neither has carried the load for the offense at any point. At the wide receiver slot, Collins is confident that he has some fellow route runners who will turn some heads as the season begins. He mentioned Terrill Cole, Marquis Drakes and Roderick McCloud as athletes who will emerge. “(The offense) is going to change up a little bit because it’s not going to have a T.J.,” Collins said. “T.J. was physical on the line and put his hand on the ground, all that. Now we don’t have one of those, so now maybe we can go with some five-receiver sets.” The Cougars will look to Khylon Clayton, Eddie Rox and Xavier Wright to anchor the offensive line.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE Hood is extremely high on the front line of the Clay-Chalkville defense, including Keilend Clayton and Terrence Muse. “The D-line is big and the linebackers can all really run,” he said. JaMarlin Sewell is the only returning

starter in the secondary and will likely be flanked by three younger starters on the back end. “That’s the part where if they can figure all this out by the start of playoffs, they’ll be seasoned veterans by then,” Hood said.

CLAY-CHALKVILLE CONTINUED from page 21 weapon at the Cougars’ disposal, however. New playmakers will make themselves known. There was a time when no one knew who Simmons was, and there was a time when no one knew who Collins was. “We’ve been there before,” Hood said. “That’s why we have a program, and those guys need to step up next.” The Cougars are hungry to get back where they’ve been the last two years, in the Class 6A state championship game. They won in 2014 but fell to Spanish Fort last season in the final

SPECIAL TEAMS Drennon Mayhew has improved greatly, according to Hood, and has earned a chance to take over the kicking duties for the Cougars.

Coach Jerry Hood

game. To get there again, they will have to navigate a Region 6 that has a new look to it. Gone are Woodlawn, Huffman and Shades Valley, three of the bottom four finishers

last season. Minor, Walker and Carver-Birmingham replace them. The region becomes undoubtedly tougher, but Hood did not lighten up on the non-region contests, scheduling Florence, Bessemer City, James Clemens and Park Crossing. “I scheduled the hardest schedule I could find because I know that after nine, 10 weeks of the people we’re playing, we’re going to be battle-tested and ready for the playoffs,” he said. The goal is to simply make the playoffs with the caliber of teams the Cougars will face. “I mean, if we can sneak in the playoffs at that point, we’re a dangerous team,” he said. At that point, the Cougars can play the underdog card.

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

CLAY-CHALKVILLE 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRD. POS.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 22 23

Kylen Brown Roderick McCloud Reggie Carr Nyre Holden Tony Gurley Willie Miller Nico Collins Tyrese Sewell Marquis Drakes JaMarlin Sewell Demetrius Davis Tarrance Muse Kendall Moultrie Hunter Langford Keondre McGhee Logan Pruett Dylan Rush James Theus Drae Benford Tyree McSwain Jaylin Mack Terrill Cole Josh McIntosh Jonathan Dixon Nick Jones Isiah Harris Cordarien Williams

SR JR SR SR SR SO SR SR SR JR JR SR JR SO SO SO SO JR SR SR SO JR SR SR SR SO SO

WR WR LB WR RB QB WR QB WR DB QB DL RB WR DL WR DB DB WR DB DB WR DB RB RB DB DB

#

NAME

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Ja’kendric Lavender JR Trey Miller JR Corey Lee JR Quentin Young JR Lawson Hinkle JR Allen Williams JR Jalen Holder SO David Mosby JR Demarcus Burris SO Courtney Braxton SO Cameron Ware SO Bass Riggins SR Derek Bean JR Drew Heller SO Jeremy Rice SO Keauntaie Moultrie JR Darius King JR Jordan Allen SO Brandon Williams SO Jack Jones SO Curtis Blakely JR Jacob Walters SR Devin Dale JR Julian Malone JR Daunte Davis SO Detoyrian Reeves SO Harold White SO

STAFF head coach

Jerry Hood

Record at CCHS: 69-21 (9 wins vacated in 2011)

Eighth year at CCHS

assistant coaches

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/QUARTERBACKS: Stuart Floyd DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/DEFENSIVE BACKS: Sean Talsma DEFENSIVE LINE: Curtis Coleman LINEBACKERS/STRENGTH & CONDITIONING: Drew Gilmer WIDE RECEIVERS: Chris Mills OFFENSIVE LINE: Obed Ellis RUNNING BACKS: Brett Rogers

GRD. POS. WR DB LB RB RB WR DB WR RB RB DB DL LB DB RB RB WR DB DB LB LB LB DL DB DB WR RB

#

NAME

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 60 61 62 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75

Andru Ransaw Lasalle Douthard Tae Lanier D’Markes Davis Kyle Carter Noah Tatum Kendall Smith Anthony Lougheed Xavier Wright Drennon Mayhew Marjory Chacon Felix Lynch Keon Carey Lane Tolar Sam Robinson Bradley Deason Stephen Garndner Eddie Rox Tre Mitchell Noah Montgomery Charles Monte Khylon Clayton Damon Moore Brock Bethea Damion Hill J.D. O’Rear Taylor Merritt

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: Florence AUG. 26: @ Bessemer City SEPT. 2: Walker SEPT. 9: @ Pinson Valley SEPT. 16: Center Point SEPT. 23: James Clemens SEPT. 30: @ Gardendale OCT. 7: Carver-Birmingham OCT. 14: @ Minor OCT. 21: @ Park Crossing (Cramton Bowl)

OCT. 28: Open

GRD. POS. SO SO JR JR JR SO JR SO SR JR SR JR SR JR SO SO SO SR SO SO JR SR JR SO SO JR SR

DB LB DL LB DL OL DL LB OL K K OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL DL OL

#

NAME

76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 85 86 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 97 98 99

Clayton Miller T.J. Busby Nick Christian Wyatt Hooks Mario Ratliff Amiah Williams Bakari Casselberry Nathan Dunnavant Eddie Smith Taborie Hamilton Omari Scott William Wimberly Dietrich Bristow Micah Perry Zach Nicols Logan Higgins C.J. Prince L.C. Purifoy Keilend Clayton Trey Flowers Jamico Harris Darren Davis Heisman Clowney Sam Thomas Tomas Lee Robert Sykes Myles Bitten

GRD. POS. JR JR SO SO SR SR SO SO SO SR SO SO JR JR SO SO SR SO SR JR JR SR SO SO SO SO JR

DL OL DL DL WR WR WR WR WR DL WR WR WR WR WR K DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL LB

2015 RESULTS (14-1, 6-0 Class 6A, Region 6 State runner-up)

@ BLACKMAN (TN): W 38-7 @ MINOR: W 49-15 @ HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: W 41-40 @ HUFFMAN: W 41-7 PINSON VALLEY: W 65-10 @ CENTER POINT: W 56-0 SHADES VALLEY: W 52-14 @ WOODLAWN: W 72-6 GARDENDALE: W 52-27 HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: W 53-35 PLAYOFFS CULLMAN: W 48-14 HOMEWOOD: W 40-39 @ MINOR: W 50-14 @ AUSTIN: W 45-35 SPANISH FORT: L 31-28


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE CLASS A REGION

Huskies 2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

ELLIOTT MCELWAIN RB GRAYSON CASH RB CHRISTIAN SMITH DL NICHOLAS JACKSON LB SIMON MISKELLEY LB PARKER COLBURN K

Photos by Ron Burkett.

SR

NOAH IGBINOGHENE WR HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

27

analysis Noah Igbinoghene, No. 9

Huskies welcome new opponents following region reclassification

F

By KYLE PARMLEY

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inding yourself alone on a list with Hoover High School can only be construed as a positive when it comes to football. In the two years since Class 7A was formed, only two teams have advanced to the postseason from Region 3 each season: Hoover and Hewitt-Trussville. But with every two years comes reclassification, and the Huskies no longer find themselves in Region 3. Huffman received the bump up from Class 6A to 7A, and Hewitt-Trussville was sent to the north region. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” Husky head coach Josh Floyd said. “When the regions came out, I was a little disappointed because we enjoyed playing these schools down here. It’s been a great region to be a part of, and a really tough region to be a part of.” Hewitt-Trussville now finds itself in a region made up of six Huntsville-area schools and Gadsden City. Although that will bring about two long road trips to Buckhorn and Sparkman, Floyd is excited about the prospects. He said, “As far as competition, I think this region has a ton of athletes. That’s what I’m seeing … I think it’s going to be extremely competitive.”

See HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE | page 29

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE Floyd’s up-tempo offensive scheme has taken root at Hewitt-Trussville, as evidenced by the “Husky Fast” moniker with which the team identifies itself. With the growing comfort in the system, Floyd has noticed the ability to make minor adjustments when necessary. The Huskies are replacing star players on both sides of the ball, notably quarterback Zac Thomas and running back Jarrion Street. Both are playing college football now; Thomas at Appalachian State and Street at Ole Miss. Out of the four guys with a chance to replace Thomas, Davis Burgin and Jordan Long got a late start, missing spring practice because of the baseball team’s run to the state championship. Burgin took the bulk of the snaps after Thomas fell victim to a season-ending injury late last season. Also in the running are Grey Ryle and Mountain Brook transfer Connor Adair, who

Grayson Cash, No. 2

has experience as a starter. “When it comes down to game time, we’ll see who goes out there,” Floyd said. As far as finding someone to carry the football, Floyd said, “It’s hard to replace a guy like Jarrion. He’s pretty special. That’s why he’s going to be an SEC running back.” Grayson Cash will get the first chance to do so, and will not only play his third position in

three years, but start. As a sophomore, he was a receiver. As a junior, a defensive back. Now, a running back. Floyd knew no other way to describe Cash to college coaches than as a “football player.” “Grayson can do a little bit of everything,” Floyd said. “The thing that I like about him, too, is he’s a heck of a receiver. He can be a guy we can get the ball to on the receiving end.” Elliott McElwain led the Huskies in receptions from the running back slot a year ago and will be a big contributor once again. Noah Igbinoghene’s stock rises by the day, and he will undoubtedly be the leader at receiver. He’s also a top-notch track and field talent, giving him the speed to burn opposing defenders. “Noah is obviously a special talent. The thing I love about him though is he comes to work every day. He just works hard. Even though a guy as talented as him, he’s driven to be the best,” Floyd said. The Huskies are replacing both starting offensive tackles on the line.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE Hewitt-Trussville has to fill the holes left behind by Jaison Williams, Jalen Williams and Bailey McElwain among others, but Floyd emphasized the importance of strong defensive line play and started with Christian Smith, who will be a leader up front for the Huskies. Gavin Craig, Hunter Davis, Josh Bailey, Nathan Vaughn and Christian Renda should also contribute on the line. Nicholas Jackson, the team’s leading tackler a year ago, is back at linebacker. Simon Miskelley returns as well in the middle of the defense. In the secondary, the Huskies have rising star David Acfalle and Nathan Helms as a strong duo of cornerbacks. Seth Keahey graduated, but Cash also moved to the offense, opening up two other spots. T.J. Alexander and Trevor Sisk are among the players who will battle to fill that gap.

HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE CONTINUED from page 27 On the field, Hewitt-Trussville enters its third season under Floyd. Last season, the Huskies had a great season going, before being bitten hard by the injury bug and losing the last three games of the year, and shut out in two of them.

David Acfalle, No. 6, and Cash, No. 2

29

In fairness, two of those losses were to Hoover and Clay-Chalkville, both state title contenders. “I look at some guys that played last year, especially late in the season, maybe they weren’t totally ready to be out there playing Hoover and James Clemens. But now, it also motivates you during the offseason to say we’ve got to finish better,” Floyd said.

SPECIAL TEAMS Parker Colburn handled all the kicking duties with great success in his freshman season and will be asked to do the same in his sophomore campaign. “[He] got a lot of good experience last year,” Floyd said of Colburn. “He’s kicking the ball really well, and he’s ready.” In the return game, Igbinoghene and Cash will be weapons in the return game. Cash returned a kickoff in the game against Tuscaloosa County last season.

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30

PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

POS.

HT.

WT.

1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Davis Burgin Grayson Cash Logan Pitts Zack Defnall Lee Reagan Markell Jones David Acfalle Christian Smith Connor Adair Noah Igbinoghene Bradley Turner Trevor Sisk Andrew Holt Creed Parker Nathan Helms Jordan Long Grey Ryle Josh Morgan Elliott McElwain Christian Stewart Isaac Hall Zac Seeley David Ladner TJ Alexander Antonio Reed Josh Lipscomb Dakota Grace Tiger Wilborn Tucker Gardner Michael Pace Micah Nixon Nicholas Jackson JP Roberson

QB RB WR DB WR DL DB DL QB WR WR WR FB DB DB QB QB WR RB WR DB DB DB DB DB LB DB RB LB LB DL LB RB

6’2 6’1 6’2 n/a 6’0 5’10 5’11 6’2 6’4 6’0 6’0 5’8 6’1 n/a 5’9 n/a n/a 6’0 6’0 6’0 5’8 5’9 5’10 5’11 5’10 5’8 5’7 5’10 5’8 5’7 5’11 6’0 5’9

175 195 205 n/a 185 220 192 298 192 194 170 158 215 n/a 153 n/a n/a 175 206 155 140 150 150 175 170 180 148 168 163 162 222 215 174

GRD. 11 12 11 10 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 11 12 10 12 12 11 12 11 12 11 11 12 11 10 12 10 10 10 10 12 12 11

#

NAME

POS.

HT.

WT.

35 35 36 36 37 38 38 39 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 62 65 66

Simon Miskelley Stephen Shaddix Blake Osborn Cameron Bledsoe Will Humphries Walker Hinds Caleb Martin Jacob Bishop Braden Berguson Parker Colburn Jackson Lamons Josh Bailey Peyton Horn Jacob Campbell Nathan Vaughn Christian Renda Tyler Antkowiak Naqi Raza Cooper McManic Julian Sauger Sam Penque Gavin Craig Andrew Cady Ben Adams Derrion Walker Jacob Gunter Luke Bentley Jacob Hayes Tyler McIlwain Jacob Greene Drake Thrift Chipper Lartigue Maurice Williams

LB WR DB RB LB WR DB DB LB K DL LB LB DL LB DL DL DL OL OL OL DL DB OL OL OL DL OL OL OL OL OL DL

6’0 5’11 5’8 5’6 5’8 5’5 5’7 n/a n/a 6’0 6’0 6’0 5’10 6’1 6’1 6’0 6’4 5’8 6’1 n/a 5’9 6’3 5’4 5’11 6’1 6’1 6’1 5’11 6’0 6’6 5’8 6’0 6’0

195 147 165 187 188 135 147 n/a n/a 165 182 188 182 200 255 230 187 216 227 n/a 230 298 130 211 200 262 295 215 225 316 187 264 217

STAFF assistant coaches

head coach

Josh Floyd

Record at HTHS: 11-11 Third year at HTHS

QUARTERBACKS: Josh Floyd CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ OFFENSIVE LINE: Caleb Perry CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ WIDE RECEIVERS: Rodney Bivens ASSISTANT OFFENSIVE LINE: Jake Garrett RUNNING BACKS: Juan Johnson CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ LINEBACKERS: Rudy Griffin CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ DEFENSIVE BACKS: Ben Ramer DEFENSIVE LINE: Scott Bromley OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Chad Dahlke ASSISTANT DEFENSIVE BACKS: Dallas Coleman

GRD. 11 10 12 10 10 12 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 12 12 10 10 11 10 10 11 12 10 11 10 10 11 11 12 11 12 12 10

#

NAME

POS.

HT.

WT.

67 68 69 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 88 89 90 91 94 95 96 97 98 99

Cory Woods Bronson Clifton Christian Yasco Zachary Moode Pierce Quick Kaleb Martin Aaron Banks James Blount Patrick George Hunter Davis Grant Roberts Hunter Rausch Drew Friday Dalvan Williams Cedric Klutzke Cody Madison Grant Waid Brandon Dumas Brent Salem Torrey Johnson Isaiah Reed Joseph Seagle Cannon Riccio Tyler Carter Bailey Perry Zack Joseph Sam Cranford Josh Thompson Nick Bramblette Ryne Markstrom Ethan Bearden

OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL WR WR WR WR DB WR DB WR WR RB WR DL DL WR DL DL DB DL DL

5’9 5’8 5’11 5’11 6’4 6’3 n/a 5’10 n/a 5’10 6’5 5’5 5’10 5’11 6’2 5’9 n/a 5’10 5’10 6’0 6’2 5’9 5’9 5’11 5’5 5’11 5’9 5’9 5’5 6’2 5’5

232 224 238 272 248 285 n/a 215 n/a 267 325 170 159 140 175 135 n/a 161 166 150 178 179 156 320 162 166 165 249 143 194 188

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: @ Montgomery Bell (TN) AUG. 26: Manatee (FL) SEPT. 2: @ Gadsden City SEPT. 9: Grissom SEPT. 16: @ Buckhorn SEPT. 23: Center Point SEPT. 30: Bob Jones OCT. 7: @ Sparkman OCT. 14: Huntsville OCT. 21: James Clemens OCT. 28: Open

GRD. 12 12 12 12 10 12 10 11 10 11 10 10 11 12 12 11 10 11 10 11 10 11 11 10 12 10 10 12 10 12 10

2015 RESULTS (6-5, 5-2 Class 7A, Region 3 1st round playoffs)

MONTGOMERY BELL (TN): L 21-16 @ GARDENDALE: W 39-34 TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 38-14 @ VESTAVIA HILLS: W 28-12 SPAIN PARK: L 31-28 (OT) @ OAK MOUNTAIN: W 38-31 THOMPSON: W 35-17 MOUNTAIN BROOK: W 35-14 @ HOOVER: L 38-0 @ CLAY-CHALKVILLE: L 53-35 PLAYOFFS @ JAMES CLEMENS: L 22-0


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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Briarwood head coach Fred Yancey, center, and Vestavia Hills head coach Buddy Anderson lead players in prayer following a 2015 exhibition game. Photo courtesy of Todd Kwarcinski.

LENSES LEGENDS

through the of

T

By SAM CHANDLER he last football game that Buddy Anderson ever played in got off to a stone cold start. It was November 1971, and the Samford University football team was facing Ohio Wesleyan in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. Anderson, a senior lineman, took the field in the first quarter as a blocker on a kickoff return. “One of my good friends, we would crossblock, and I said, ‘don’t hit me, hit the other person,’” Anderson recalled. “Well, what does he do? He hits me and knocks me down.” While attempting to climb to his feet, Anderson absorbed a knee to his forehead, courtesy of the Bulldogs’ return man. His helmet, he said, split like a watermelon.

“How I got to the sideline I don’t know, but I didn’t know where I was,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t knocked out, but I was in a stupor, dazed. I didn’t know what day it was.” Anderson said he finally “came to” his senses at the end of the first quarter. In typical 1970s fashion, he then played the rest of the game. “That was nothing unusual back then,” Anderson said. How the times have changed. Now entering his 39th season as head coach at Vestavia Hills, Anderson identified the rise of concussion awareness and treatment protocol as one of the game’s paradigm shifts that has occurred during his career. That, on-field schematics and pace of play represent three key facets in which the coach said he has noticed continual evolution. Anderson’s fellow patriarch in the Birmingham high school football community, 27th-year

Longtime coaches Buddy Anderson, Fred Yancey on the evolution of the game Briarwood Christian School head coach Fred Yancey, reverberated similar observations. With over 90 years of collective coaching experience and more than 600 combined victories, Anderson and Yancey have nearly seen it all during their legendary tenures. While they both acknowledged the game has undoubtedly changed, some things, they said, will always stay the same. When Yancey arrived at Briarwood in 1990 from Evangelical Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee, he installed what he now considers a pretty simple passing attack. Immediately, it yielded results. With his son, Bart Yancey, playing quarterback, Fred Yancey guided the Lions to 11 wins in his first season. The team had gone 2-8 the year before. “When I came down here to Birmingham,


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

nobody was throwing the ball,” Fred Yancey said of his opponents. “But we didn’t mind throwing.” Now, almost every team incorporates the passing game into their base offense. Many have come to rely on it. With the emergence of spread offenses, a number of teams have opted to operate out of the shotgun. The tactical shift has subsequently opened the field, creating more space for a sideline-to-sideline type of attack. Compared to when Yancey and Anderson first began coaching, the present formula signals a dramatic alteration in offensive philosophy. “In the ’70s and ’80s, it was a more option-andrun game on offense with some play-action passes thrown in,” Yancey said. “If you could win the C-gap on offense — off-tackle play — you could win the games. Conversely, if you could stop the C-gap power, you could win games, but it was a lower scoring, harder grinding, more difficult yard-getting way to do things.” Although Anderson still implements a bruising, run-first attack out of the I-formation, teams that employ such a strategy have steadily dwindled in recent years. Spain Park, leaning on the I and pistol formations, and Oak Mountain, using the split-back veer, are exceptions to the norm.

But for the most part, classic styles of offense have been swapped for pass-happy approaches that often flow without a huddle. Opposing defenses have felt the impact. “Offenses are stressing the defenses more now than they used to. Used to it was a physical deal. If you had the studs to knock them in the teeth, you had a chance to win,” Yancey said. “Now, you may have studs to knock somebody in the teeth, but if you can’t run with them, you’ll get run by pretty quickly.” Like the fast-paced culture that consumes the game, speed has become king. The spread offense, for better or for worse, has given rise to tight ends with the speed of receivers, quarterbacks with the speed of running backs and running backs with the speed of antelopes. Defenses have been forced to adapt their personnel accordingly. “Used to, you’d find somebody at linebacker that’s tough, and you wanted that guy like a Dick Butkus,” Anderson said in reference to the hard-hitting NFL Hall of Fame linebacker. “We never had that guy, but you wanted somebody like that who’s going to be tough on the run when you’re playing a lot of run offenses. With the spread offenses, we’ve had to adapt and go with more mobile guys at linebacker.”

Yancey said that while he used to seek out linebackers who could run downhill and stop hard-charging fullbacks, he now looks for players who can patrol open space and drop into coverage. Collectively, Yancey said, the complexion of defenses has received an overhaul. “I just think it’s a lighter, faster game on the back end of the defense,” he said. But despite the various changes — to concussion protocol, to Xs and Os, to pace — some things have stayed the same. Though they may look a bit different, the fundamental components of blocking, tackling, running and throwing still comprise the substance of the game. Eleven teammates still battle 11 teammates for four quarters, spilling blood, sweat and tears in hopes of finishing the season latched to the top of the standings. At its heart, Anderson said, the core of the game remains unchanged. “Kids today are different, but they’re still looking to be a part of something bigger than them,” Anderson said. “They’re looking for discipline—they don’t know it a lot of times. They’re looking for somebody to care about them, somebody to love them, demand the best of them. They’re looking for all those things. That part hasn’t changed.”

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

HOMEWOOD Patriots

AUGUST 2016

CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY PLAYERS AYERS TO WATCH

TYSHAWN N BUCKNER WR FRED WILLIAMS LLIAMS WR BAILEY THOMAS HOMAS DL ELS DB CD DANIELS ANTARIUS S MITCHELL LB

Photos courtesy of Scott ott Butler.

CHESTIN JONES RB HEIGHT:

WEEIGHT: WEIGHT:

SR


AUGUST 2016

PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

35

analysis Fred Williams, No. 6

Relying on returning skill, Patriots transition into rebuilding mode

I

By SAM CHANDLER

f Waldrop Stadium resembles a construction zone throughout the fall, don’t be alarmed — there’s a reason. After losing 17 starters from 2015 to graduation, the Homewood High School football team will be in rebuilding mode in 2016. “We had a great run. We had four nine-win seasons in a row, and there were a lot of three-year starters in that group,” Homewood head coach Ben Berguson said. “That was kind of the end of that, really. We have never had to rebuild like we’re about to.” It will be a tall task. In his first two seasons at Homewood, Berguson inherited a talented roster from previous coach Doug Goodwin. After winning back-toback region titles and totaling nine wins under Goodwin in 2012 and 2013, the Patriots repeated identical feats when Berguson arrived in 2014. Although Walker High School claimed the region crown last season, the Pats still won nine games before falling to Clay-Chalkville High School in the second round of the AHSAA Class 6A state playoffs. But things have changed. Gone are three-year starting quarterback Carson Griffis, bell cow

See HOMEWOOD | page 37


36

PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE Although they may lack battle-tested experience, the Patriots certainly don’t lack skill. At no position is that more evident than running back. Even with Underwood’s departure, Berguson said he expects his stable of ball carriers to be the strength of his team in 2016. Leading the charge will be senior Chestin Jones, a 500-yard rusher last season who absorbed advice while playing in Underwood’s shadow. “He’s an explosive runner. He’s got breakaway speed,” Berguson said of Jones. “I think a lot of our season’s going to come down to how well he performs.” Although Jones will receive the majority of handoffs, junior Nick McCoy and sophomore David Robertson will also split reps. Berguson said he believes Robertson is capable of evolving into a big-time playmaker even as an underclassman. “He’s got the potential of really being great

TyShawn Buckner, No. 22

and being one of the better running backs to ever come through here I think, so we’re excited about David,” Berguson said. Enthusiasm also surrounds the vacated quarterback position. Junior Tyler Hatcher and sophomore Larkin Williams are expected to duke it out in a battle for the starting job. Hatcher, son of Samford head football

coach Chris Hatcher, and Williams both identify as pocket passers. The starter will be tasked with guiding the Patriots’ spread offense. “Both of them are very capable of running this football team. We have a lot of confidence in both of those guys,” Berguson said. “In the end, if they can both play, we’ll play them both.” The possibility of the Patriots using two quarterbacks may serve as a promising portent. Berguson said the last time Homewood won a state title — in 2005 — offensive coordinator David Jones ran a dual-quarterback system. But without ample protection, it won’t make a difference who starts under center. After losing all starters on the offensive front, Berguson said his line represents the biggest question mark heading into the season. Ethan Sherman is projected to be the lone senior starter. On the flank, Berguson said junior wide receiver TyShawn Buckner should evolve into a big-play threat.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

HOMEWOOD CONTINUED from page 35 running back Derrick Underwood, top wideout Alec Marsch and the entire offensive line. The lone returning starter on offense is wide receiver Fred Williams.

DEFENSE Defensively, the Patriots return defensive backs C.D. Daniels and Jake Biles, linebacker Antarius Mitchell and lineman Jesus Figueroa. A ball-hawking safety last season, Daniels will play corner in 2016. In contrast, Biles will move from corner to safety. Mitchell, Riley Meeks, Trent Owens and Elliott Yacu should all contribute to a lockdown linebacking corps. Berguson predicts that Owens — an agile athlete who stands 6 feet, 2 inches and weighs 200 pounds — will be a key cog in plugging the gap left by Gentry.

Even though the situation on defense isn’t quite as grim — it returns four starters — current South Carolina Gamecock and former All-State lineman Griffin Gentry leaves behind a hole that’s nearly impossible to plug. “I don’t really know if you can replace a guy like that,” Berguson said. “I mean to me, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime football player.”

Bailey Thomas, No. 58 Photo by Dan Starnes.

“I think he’ll be huge for us on defense this year,” Berguson said. In the trenches, Figueroa’s job will be made at least a little easier with the return of nose guard Bailey Thomas. A team leader, Thomas missed a hefty chunk of last season due to a pair of recurring stress fractures in his back.

But somehow — despite the extensive turnover in personnel — the third-year coach finds reason for optimism. Why? “There’s always enough skill in Homewood to be pretty good,” Berguson said. “Even with a young team, I think we’ve got the potential of being pretty good this year.”

SPECIAL TEAMS Junior Ibrahima Sylla will fulfill the team’s kicking and punting duties. Collectively, the Patriots will be moderately affected by reclassification. They remain in 6A, Region 5, which added Parker, Ramsay and Shades Valley high schools, but dropped Pelham, Minor and Walker high schools. Despite the changes, Thomas, the lineman, said his team shouldn’t have a problem adjusting to the competition. “If we get everybody to the ball and hustle really hard, I think we’ll fare well,” Thomas said.

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AUGUST 2016

HOMEWOOD 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRADE POS.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Chestin Jones Nick McCoy C.D. Daniels TyShawn Buckner David Robertson Fred Williams Chance Hall Austin Spiers Andrew Cleveland Larkin Williams Jacob Pendley Jackson Griggs Logan Padgett Boubacar Sylla Ryan Williams Kamarrus Amison Ky Burdeshaw Tyler Hatcher Brandon Claiborne Kamren Amerson Jake Biles

12 11 11 11 10 12 11 12 12 10 11 11 10 10 12 10 10 11 12 11 12

RB RB DB WR RB WR DB WR WR QB DB WR WR QB WR QB DB QB OLB DL DB

#

NAME

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Marcus McGhee Josh Douthit Michael Kash Patrick Domingo Jaden Alexander Kris Wilkins Antarius Mitchell Thomas Smith Josh Stone Rene Briseno Graham Duncan Riley Meeks Devin Bacchus Trent Owens John Firnberg Crawford Doyle Charlie Williams Ibrahima Sylla Cameron Campbell Malcolm Scott Parker Allen

STAFF head coach Ben Berguson Record at Homewood: 18-6

GRADE POS. 10 12 10 12 10 11 12 11 10 10 12 12 11 11 10 10 10 11 12 11 11

DB WR DB DB DB DB OLB DB WR ILB DB ILB OLB ILB OLB ILB ILB K DB DB ILB

#

NAME

GRADE POS.

43 44 45 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

Elliott Yacu Justin Williams Traveon Allen Javier King Dalen Tyler Campbell Brabston Antoine McGhee Vincent Adams Tobias Thomas Isaac Johnson Jesus Figueroa Miguel Figueroa Joseph Ingram Esau Parker Bailey Thomas Edrick Cunningham William Sims Logan Bales Joseph Molstad Tyler Wheat Harry Moody

12 10 10 12 11 10 10 10 10 12 12 10 11 10 12 10 11 12 11 10 11

OLB RB OLB LS OLB OLB DL DL ILB DL DL DL OL DL DL DL OL DL K OL OL

#

NAME

GRADE POS.

65 66 67 68 69 70 72 73 74 75 78 80 81 82 84 85 86 88 99

Andrew Williams Brennan Gardner Will Strong Patrick McMahon Jacob Armour Johnny Moreno Jaheim Jackson S.J. Ramsey Ethan Sherman Grayson Kelley Sam Ray Bailey Lapinsky Wesley Williams Armoinie McHeard Johnathan White Angelo Jackson Trey Jacka David Bearden Wilson McCraw

11 11 10 11 10 10 10 12 12 10 11 12 10 10 10 11 11 12 10

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 18: Pelham (Samford) AUG. 26: @ Vestavia Hills SEPT. 2: Parker SEPT. 9: @ Jackson-Olin SEPT. 16: @ Helena SEPT. 23: Open

SEPT. 30: John Carroll OCT. 7: @ Ramsay OCT. 14: Shades Valley OCT. 21: @ Hueytown OCT. 28: Paul Bryant

Third year at Homewood

assistant coaches ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/DC: Freddy Lawrence - ILB DEFENSIVE ASSISTANTS: Kenneth Hollis - OLB Eugene Newbold - DL Russell Martin - CB Carter Doyle - S OFFENSIVE ASSISTANTS: David Jones - OC/QB Keith Brown - RB Doug Gann - WR Jason Haithcock - WR ATHLETIC TRAINERS: Greg Pendley, Ed Harris

2015 RESULTS (9-3, 6-1 in Class 6A, Region 5 DECATUR: W 28-15 VESTAVIA HILLS: L 41-7 PELHAM: W 54-20 @ BRIARWOOD: W 27-0 JOHN CARROLL: W 35-0 @ MINOR: W 20-15 @ WALKER: L 17-14

2nd round playoffs) HUEYTOWN: W 45-16 @ JACKSON-OLIN: W 27-3 @ TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 34-14 PLAYOFFS LEE-HUNTSVILLE: W 49-14 @ CLAY-CHALKVILLE: L 40-39

OL OL OL OL OL OL DL OL OL OL OL WR WR WR WR WR WR WR DL


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HOOVER

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M edical

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For appointments, call 205.871.7332 or visit us at skinwellness.com HOMEWOOD 1920 Huntington Road, Homewood, AL 35209 I CHELSEA 398 Chesser Drive, Suite 6, Chelsea, AL 35043


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

HOOVER Buccaneers

CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

SHEDRICK JACKSON WR BARRET PICKERING K AUSTIN CARTER C CORTEZ HALL WR GARRETT FARQUHAR QB BEN ABERCROMBIE S JAYDEN JORDAN S

Photos courtesy of Barry Stephenson.

CHRISTON TAYLOR LB KJ VAULT LB KHOLBE COLEMANÏœABRAMS LB

SR

CJ STURDVIANT RB HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Cortez Hall, No. 3

Not focusing on last year’s finish, Niblett has Bucs full-speed ahead

T

By KYLE PARMLEY

he staples of Josh Niblett’s Hoover High School football program come out at all levels, even at a youth camp. He can be heard ending a camp with the line “make your bed, do right and treat people with respect,” to a group of youngsters hanging on his every word, before wrapping the camp up with a word of prayer. His main job, the high school’s head football coach, requires teaching more complex principles than those off-the-field virtues, but he excels at it all the same. In his eight years at Hoover, he’s won four state championships,

including three straight from 2012 through 2014. Two of Hoover’s three losses in 2015 were at the hands of crosstown rival Spain Park High School, including one in the Class 7A semifinals, putting an end to the Bucs’ run. “We got to the last game, and we had opportunities to make it happen,” Hoover head coach Josh Niblett said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.” However, don’t expect that 7-6 loss to the Jags to leave any kind of negative effect on the Hoover program heading into 2016. The Bucs are not even using the final loss as

See HOOVER | page 42

GETTING YOU BACK IN THE GAME

Michael F. Blum, M.D. Ekkehard Bonatz, M.D. George Robert Booker, M.D. Willam S. Craig, M.D. Michael T. Ellerbusch, M.D. Grandview Physicians Plaza (NEW!) 3686 Grandview Parkway, Suite 430 Birmingham, AL 35243

John S. Kirchner, MD William D. Krauss, D.O. Michael D. Smith, MD William D. Sudduth, M.D. C.J. Talbert, M.D.

Medplex Medical Building 4517 Southlake Parkway Hoover, Alabama 35244

For an appointment, call 205-985-4111

On-site MRI and Physical Therapy

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AUGUST 2016

team capsules Coach Josh Niblett

HOOVER CONTINUED from page 41 motivation. They are moving on and working hard. “We don’t sit here and talk about the losing. We celebrate the winning because we know that’s around,” Niblett said. Niblett does not want the expectation set by winning state titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to become unrealistic. He said, “We don’t want it to be the case when we win, everybody just takes a breath, like it’s a relief. We want it to be where when we win, we celebrate the winning.”

OFFENSE The Bucs feel good about their quarterback situation, with senior Garrett Farquhar set to take over the position on a full-time basis. “Garrett’s a guy that’s been in our system a long time. Even when he was in middle school, he ran most of our system. He’s got some savvy about him. He’s a hardnosed kid that works extremely hard,” Niblett said. Niblett also mentioned Jalen Parker and Seth Compher as capable options as signal callers. CJ Sturdivant returns as a dynamic threat out of the backfield for the Bucs. While he will get the majority of the carries, Vonte’ Brackett, R.J. Randle and Corwin Russell will help carry the load to keep the unit’s legs fresh. At wide receiver, Shedrick Jackson, Cortez Hall and Kam Ford all return as threats on the perimeter. Jimmy Turner is a name to watch to make a name for himself in the fall as well. Austin Carter and Mike Maye will anchor an offensive line looking to replace a few spots.

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Garrett Farquhar, No. 16

Carter has starting experience at center, and helps Niblett “build the offensive line from the inside out” like he prefers. The pieces are there for a successful offense, if Hoover can do some of the peripheral things well. “We’ve got a chance to be explosive, but the biggest thing is we’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ve got to be good on first down. We’ve got to do a really good job of dictating the flow of the game,” Niblett said.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE For the Bucs, it all starts on defense with “Mike” linebacker Kholbe Coleman-Abrams, who Niblett called a “heck of a player for us.” Coleman-Abrams is a senior along with nickel linebacker KJ Vault, both starters last year as well. Christon Taylor is a guy that will play a hybrid-end role for Hoover. The leader up front is Ricky Palao, a 6-foot2, 285-pound defensive tackle. Campbell Carden is another lineman considered a leader for the unit, and both will be part of a heavily-rotated defensive line. “Those guys inside, we’ll rotate a lot of guys around,” Niblett said. “We try to play a lot of guys on the defensive line to keep fresh legs.” It remains to be seen how good the secondary can be, with a lack of returning depth at the cornerback position. Will Singleton was mentioned as a player looking to lock down one of those spots, with other rotation slots still to be decided. At safety, Ben Abercrombie and Jayden Jordan return as starters, and Niblett feels

Barret Pickering, No. 47

SPECIAL TEAMS Kholbe Coleman-Abrams, No. 55

good about those two guys leading the secondary. Overall, the speed of the defense should be a strength for the Bucs, and a knowledge of the system with the returners makes coaches more comfortable.

Barret Pickering does everything on special teams, as the team’s place-kicker, punter and kickoff man. Not to be understated is the comfort of having Jack Caldwell returning as the team’s deep snapper. “The biggest thing on special teams is play smart and then do something in the game to give yourself a chance to win, and not lose,” Niblett said.

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AUGUST 2016

HOOVER 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRADE

1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 29 30

CJ Sturdivant RJ Nelson Kam Ford Cortez Hall Will Singleton Vonte’ Brackett Randy Jenkins Andrew Hawkins Timothy Booker R.J. Randle Corwin Russell DeCarlos Hurt Tre Copeland Jalen Parker Jabari Moore Seth Compher Chase Brown Garrett Farquhar Jordan Colin KJ Vault Jimmy Turner Sam Sanford Quintez Banks Jayden Jordan Patrick Palmore Kendall Parker Micah Littleton Tyrell Goldsmith Noah Williams Hunter Westerlund Ben Abercrombie

12 11 12 12 12 11 12 12 11 12 12 12 12 11 10 11 11 12 11 12 12 11 11 12 11 11 12 11 11 11 12

POS.

HT.

WT.

RB DB WR WR DB RB DB WR WR RB RB WR DB QB DB QB DB QB DB LB WR DB RB DB RB RB DB DB DB DB DB

5’11 5’10 6’0 6’1 5’11 6’0 5’10 5’9 5’9 5’9 5’9 5’10 6’2 6’0 5’10 6’0 5’11 5’11 5’9 6’0 5’9 5’10 5’11 5’11 5’10 5’11 5’10 5’10 5’11 5’11 5’11

210 175 183 185 178 208 182 170 168 165 164 162 195 210 178 190 176 184 160 198 173 170 195 184 176 212 176 178 183 174 186

STAFF head coach

Josh Niblett Record at Hoover: 106-11 Ninth year at Hoover

assistant coaches

RUNNING BACKS/ OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Jason Kervin OFFENSIVE LINE: Chad Eads TIGHT ENDS: Josh Miller WIDE RECEIVERS: Aryvia Holmes LINEBACKERS/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Robert Evans CORNERS: Chris Metcalf DEFENSIVE LINE: Adrian Abrams SAFETIES: Gabe Rodriguez

#

NAME

GRADE

31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 56 57 58 59 60

Christian Hurt Jalen Bryant Jaden Hardy Kameron Robinson Markese Brown Adrian Hill DeShon Moyer Will Reichard Andrew Lorimer Christon Taylor Stockton Ferguson Andrew Sasser Devon Scott Campbell Carden Ryan Gilbert Isaiah Rembert Barret Pickering Alex Flint Joseph Timpa Josh Kissinger Brennen Milliron Eli West Camren Wood Nick Curtis

11 12 11 10 12 11 12 10 11 12 12 10 11 12 12 11 11 11 12 11 11 11 11 10 Kholbe Coleman-Abrams 12 Jonathan Snell 11 Greg Russell 10 Brandon Johnson 12 Jamal Beydoun 11 Jack Colwell 12 Sam McDaniel 11

POS. HT. DB DB DB LB DE DB RB K LB DE LB DE DT DT TE LB K TE TE LB LS LB LS LB LB OL DE DT DE LS OL

5’9 5’10 5’9 6’0 6’0 6’0 5’10 5’11 5’11 6’1 5’11 6’1 6’1 6’0 6’1 5’10 6’0 6’1 6’0 6’1 5’10 5’11 5’9 6’1 6’0 5’11 6’0 6’0 5’11 5’11 6’1

2016 SCHEDULE Home games played at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium

AUG. 19: Central-Phenix City (Cramton Bowl) AUG. 26: @ Allen (TX) SEPT. 2: Mountain Brook SEPT. 9: Spain Park SEPT. 16: @ Tuscaloosa County SEPT. 23: Open SEPT. 30: @ Oak Mountain OCT. 7: Huffman OCT. 14: Vestavia Hills OCT. 21: @ Thompson OCT. 28: Grayson (GA)

WT. 165 172 164 187 215 190 186 172 172 210 176 186 225 225 212 226 185 185 235 202 170 195 174 194 210 205 207 234 196 182 215

#

NAME

GRADE

61 62 63 64 66 67 68 70 73 74 77 78 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 88 89 90 91 92 93 95 96 97 98 99

Mike Maye Taylor Brown Phillip Stanton Jr. Jacob Bodden Caden DeGreen Jackson Barton Jacob Lindsey Kelsie Sudbury Dylan Niemoeller Drew Traffanstedt Austin Carter Harper Price Shedrick Jackson Jayson Evans Drew Jeffers Nick Davis Mark Dailey Martavius Hollifield Shaw Niblett Richard Mayberry David Dykes Stevie Cole D’Angelo Dewitt Toren Echols Trey Dickey Chad Tew Ricky Palao Christian Edge Kaleb Gibbs Khamari Brown

11 12 11 11 12 11 11 11 12 11 12 11 11 12 12 11 11 11 11 12 11 11 11 11 11 11 12 12 11 11

POS. HT. OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR WR DT DE DT DE DT DT DT DT DT

6’3 5’11 6’0 6’4 6’0 5’11 5’11 6’2 6’1 6’3 6’1 6’2 6’1 6’0 5’10 5’10 6’0 6’0 5’11 6’1 5’9 6’5 6’1 5’11 5’11 6’3 6’2 6’0 5’11 6’2

WT. 280 236 225 295 228 196 210 275 235 232 255 290 205 185 170 172 178 188 165 184 165 310 205 225 198 252 285 310 225 278

2015 RESULTS (10-3, 5-2 Class 7A, Region 3 Semifinals)

@ OAKLAND (TN): W 24-6 MANATEE (FL): W 42-21 @ MOUNTAIN BROOK: W 21-14 @ OAK MOUNTAIN: W 17-14 THOMPSON: W 31-14 SPAIN PARK: L 17-0 TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 45-3 @ VESTAVIA HILLS: L 20-13 HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: W 38-0 NORTH MARION (FL): W 38-14 PLAYOFFS BUCKHORN: W 38-7 VESTAVIA HILLS: W 24-0 @ SPAIN PARK: L 7-6


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JOHN CARROLL CLASS A REGION

Cavaliers

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

CHRIS BURRELL WR WILL CHAMOUN WR BAILEY Y MARA QB OM REDMAN LB RANSOM KENYETTA TTA ‘KING’ WILLIAMS IAMS LB

Photos courtesy of Todd Kwarcinski and Frank Couch.

HEIGHT: T: WEIGHT: HT:

ALEX MITCHELL TE

SR


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Coach Logan Colafrancesco

Putting past behind them, Cavaliers set sights on building foundations

J

By KYLE PARMLEY ohn Carroll Catholic High School enters the 2016 football season ready to plant the past firmly in the rearview mirror. The Cavaliers suffered through a winless 2015 season, losing all 10 games by double digits. To add insult to injury, the program was slapped with a one-year postseason ban because of recruiting violations. But now, the program looks to 1996 graduate Logan Colafrancesco to right the ship. Colafrancesco has made many pit stops as an assistant coach, and is ready to take charge of a football team for the first time. “Very exciting, especially when you get

to come back to your alma mater,” Colafrancesco said. “I’ve always kind of had this job circled, if it came open.” After doing some research on the situation, he decided to pursue the job and in his interview laid the cards on the table. “I told them in the interview, ‘If you want a highly successful football program, and you want to do things right, then I’m your guy.’” He’s now their guy and jumped head-on into the responsibilities of the job from Day 1. A whiteboard in his office revealed a lengthy list of tasks to complete during the offseason, all the while coaching and molding a brand-new

See JOHN CARROLL | page 49

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team capsules

OFFENSE Colafrancesco will take the reins of the offense in his first year as a head coach, and will employ a scheme that works to the strength of his talent. He said, “You have to do what your (offensive) line can do, and you have to do what your quarterback can do. Then you kind of fit the pieces in.” However, there are basic tenets to his offense. “I can tell you this: we’re going to be fast-paced, no-huddle,” he said. Along with going fast, the Cavaliers will look to be physical and run the football. But Colafrancesco also sees great potential in throwing the pigskin several times over. “The great equalizer in high school football is if you’re able to throw the football. I really think that helps. We’re going to put the ball in the air,” he said. A likely candidate to do the throwing is Bailey Mara, who split time at the

quarterback position last season. Fundamentals were emphasized with Mara over the summer, in preparation for the season. His top target could very well be senior Alex Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end. At the wide receiver slot, Will Chamoun is a guy who will catch passes and be one of many two-way players for the Cavaliers, as he will likely have a role on defense as well. Chris Burrell is a name to watch at slot receiver. On the offensive line, Colafrancesco mentioned Ethan Scholtz and Asad Muhammed as leaders of that unit. In order to be a fast and physical offensive unit, Colafrancesco emphasized the team’s need for top-notch conditioning, an activity that is never a crowd-pleaser, but necessary to get the desired results. He said he has no trouble getting his guys to completely buy in to his new system.

Alex Mitchell, No. 1


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

JOHN CARROLL CONTINUED from page 47 team into a unique identity. “We’re trying to create a work ethic, a sense of accountability,” Colafrancesco said. “Our theme is ‘find a way’ this year.” He said the team has embraced the change of environment, and although the Cavaliers will likely be short-handed

on the field in 2016, there is a renewed energy throughout the program as Colafrancesco attempts to jumpstart the program. That starts with being aggressive in all facets of the game. “We can’t sit back and be base offense, base defense, very simple schemes,” he said. “We’ve got to create some different things to give us an advantage. We’ve got very smart kids who can grasp concepts.”

DEFENSE Steven Hudgins joins Colafrancesco at John Carroll and takes over the defensive side of the ball for the Cavaliers, a unit that allowed over 40 points per game a season ago. He brings youth and energy and will be the team’s strength coach as well. Much like on the offensive side, Colafrancesco said his team cannot afford to have the action dictated to it. He said, “We’re going to bring pressure.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Ransom Redman, No. 2

We’re not going to sit back and play base defense. We’re going to take chances. We’re not going to be that cookie-cutter football

Lucas Stachan will get his chance to earn the kicking responsibilities for John Carroll. The Cavaliers feel solid about the return game, as Dwuan Williams, who could earn a number of snaps as a cornerback and as a Wildcat quarterback, along with Chris Burrell offer the chance of explosive plays.

(team), we just can’t afford to do that. We want to be different and create challenges for the (offense) and try to take away their strengths.” Kenyetta “King” Williams will be the “anchor” of the defense, according to his head coach, and will play as one of the inside linebackers in the Cavaliers’ base 3-4 scheme. “He’s smart, so he can kind of set everything up,” Colafrancesco said. Chamoun and Ransom Redman will combine with Williams to help the defense rally around the football on every play.

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JOHN CARROLL 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRADE HEIGHT

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11 12 13 14 15 16

Alex Mitchell Ransom Redmon Kenyetta Williams Dilan Sherrod Malcolm Russell Matthew Hector Chris Burrell Bailey Mara Isiah Ambrose Zach Elliot Malik Williams Jeremiah Fuller Dwuan Williams Conner Bader

SR JR SR JR JR SO SR JR FR SO SR SO SO SR

WEIGHT

#

NAME

240 185 2SO 220 165 160 170 170 140 160 150 170 155 160

17 18 21 22 23 24 25 26 29 31 32 34 45 50

Will Chamoun Sam Reed Jeremy Spencer Lucas Stachan Gyasi Hill Dequan Ball Chris Hector Brandon Woodard Braxton Buckner Dekelian Hall Sam Chamoun Mark Richard Quince Ngo Caleb Mills

6’4 5’9 6’3 6’4 5’10 5’10 5’9 6’2 5’8 5’11 5’10 5’10 5’8 5’10

STAFF head coach

Logan Colafrancesco First year as head coach

assistant coaches OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/QUARTERBACKS: Logan Colafrancesco DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/STRENGTH: Steven Hudgins DEFENSIVE LINE: John Cannon OFFENSIVE LINE: Rob Crawford WIDE RECEIVERS: Andrew Steele

GRADE HEIGHT SR SO SO SR SO SO SO JR FR SO FR JR SR JR

5’11 6’0 5’10 5’11 6’0 6’2 5’10 5’10 5’10 5’8 5’6 5’8 5’5 5’9

WEIGHT

#

NAME

175 160 150 170 170 175 165 175 145 180 140 165 150 215

51 52 53 55 57 59 60 61 62 63 65 72 88

Cydrick Walker Ethan Scholtz Michael Watts John Werszner Shakir Hasan Rahael Poe Alex Sabri Anthony Bostany Asad Muhammed Sam Lynch Michael Musso Graham Russell Bennett Buckner

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: Open AUG. 26: @ Hayden SEPT. 2: Hueytown SEPT. 8: @ Parker SEPT. 16: Jackson-Olin SEPT. 23: Moody SEPT. 30: @ Homewood OCT. 7: Springville OCT. 14: @ Ramsay OCT. 21: Shades Valley OCT. 28: @ Pelham

GRADE HEIGHT JR SR JR SO JR JR FR JR JR FR FR FR FR

WEIGHT

6’0 6’2 5’10 6’0 6’1 6’0 5’7 6’2 5’10 5’10 5’5 5’10 5’10

275 240 270 2SO 270 200 175 215 325 160 170 175 180

2015 RESULTS (0-10, 0-7 Class 6A, Region 5

ST. CLAIR COUNTY: L 39-14 @ WALKER: L 48-17 HUEYTOWN: L 36-13 @ HOMEWOOD: L 35-0 MORTIMER JORDAN: L 42-17 @ JACKSON-OLIN: L 41-7 @ MINOR: L 76-6 PELHAM: L 21-0 @ BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: L 34-12 @ SPRINGVILLE: L 31-20


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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MOUNTAIN BROOK CLASS A REGION 2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

HAROLD JOINER RB SEAN ELMORE WR SIMS HERRON WR PRICE DELK OL ZACHARY CARROLL DB JOEY KEATING DB MASON DILLARD K Photos courtesy of Ben Breland.

JR

HAMP SISSON QB

HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

Spartans


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Spartan seniors determined to bounce back from last season’s unraveling

M

By KYLE PARMLEY

ountain Brook head coach Chris Yeager called last year the perfect storm, but did not mean it in a positive tone. The Spartans came into the 2015 season with a small senior class, and right off the bat, they experienced a rash of injuries to make matters more difficult. They started the season with a hard-fought win over Huntsville, but lost four straight, as the season unraveled quickly. “In our classification, 7A, numbers matter, because it’s about depth,” Yeager said. “Football is a sport of attrition.” Senior offensive lineman Price Delk is

looking for the team to be tougher, as he enters his senior campaign with high hopes. “The leadership has kind of shifted and the mentality is shifting, and we’re trying to bring the culture up to have a better enthusiasm and more excitement going into the season,” he said. If the Spartans are to rebound from back-toback 3-7 seasons, they will face a tough road in Region 3. Spain Park and Hoover each won double-digit games, and Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia Hills each made the postseason. Huffman replaces Hewitt-Trussville in the region this year, after reclassification, and Mountain Brook will also deal with the likes

See MOUNTAIN BROOK | page 55

Price Delk, No. 60

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

team capsules

OFFENSE First and foremost on Yeager’s agenda on the offensive side of the football is finding depth behind junior running back Harold Joiner. “Everybody says, ‘You’ve got to find a running back.’ But I promise you, in this region, one running back is never enough,” Yeager said, adding he would like to find an additional tailback or two that he can consistently rely on to feel good about the run game for the duration of the season. Hamp Sisson takes over as the full-time signal caller for the offense, after splitting time at the quarterback position as a sophomore a season ago. “Our passing game is going to be really good,” receiver Sims Herron said. “He’s got a year under his belt.” Sean Elmore returns to bolster the receiving corps, after going down with

AUGUST 2016

Harold Joiner, No. 5

an injury early last season. Along with Herron and the likes of Wilson Higgins, Aubrey Hart, Hunter Hartley and others, the receiver group should provide a strength of the offense. JP Darnall played receiver last season and is making the transition to tight end, a position that Yeager feels the need to develop another player or two. On the offensive line, Price Delk returns as a starter on the line, as well as contributors Christian Johnston and Johnny Leara. Some other guys will have to step up and fill the remaining holes on the line, but Yeager and Delk are positive about the group as a whole. “We have a lot of promising juniors coming up and a lot of sophomores,” Delk said.

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MOUNTAIN BROOK CONTINUED from page 53 of Oak Mountain, Thompson and Tuscaloosa County. Senior wide receiver Sims Herron said the

team has to emphasize the “little things” in order to make a push for the postseason in 2016. Three of the Spartans’ seven losses last year were by one possession, meaning a one play could have gone a long way in changing the outcome. But the team feels good about what it has returning, with 15 of 22 starters back on both

DEFENSE Yeager called senior free safety Zachary Carroll the anchor of the Spartan defense, which is odd for him to be able to say that in the preseason. “This is one of the first times I can remember in a long time where we’ve got the shell of our defense, and we’re looking for the interior,” Yeager said. Mountain Brook has three to four seniors in the secondary who will contribute in a big way, with the likes of Carroll, Reid Hogue, Chandler Cox and Joey Keating. The defensive line and the linebackers have left holes to fill. Will Wetzler at linebacker and Sam Colvin along the defensive line are a pair

Zachary Carroll, No. 11

of returning starters who will look to make some noise as the Spartans plug holes to find the right combination.

sides of the ball, along with the special teams unit remaining intact. “People have to step up,” senior defensive back Zachary Carroll said. “Younger guys have to step up. We have a lot of older guys, but the missing pieces are where the younger guys have to step in. They can do it.”

SPECIAL TEAMS Mountain Brook’s special teams unit remains fully intact from a season ago, with Mason Dillard doubling as the place-kicker and punter and Alex Pankey as the deep snapper. Dillard lifted the Spartans to victory over Tuscaloosa County with a last-second field goal in last year’s matchup. Yeager “feels great” about Dillard, and loves the fact that he plays soccer in the spring, allowing him to kick year-round.

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MOUNTAIN BROOK 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

POS. GRD.

1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 15 16 16 17 17

Hamp Greene Joey Keating Duncan Bicksler Aubrey Hart Sean Elmore Brinson Reed McKee Brown Chandler Cox Harold Joiner Jackson Tew Charles Cobb Grant Griffin Hunter Hartley Lior Berman Jeb Brown Tillman Ritchey Daniel Wilbanks Connor Hart Wilson Higgins Reid Hogue Hamp Sisson Zachary Carroll William Powell Jack Baltz Collin Bussman JP Darnall John Wheeler Camp Thomas Miller William Gullage James Burkett Mason Dillard Drew McMahon Michael O’Leary

WR DB DB WR WR DB RB DB RB DB DB DB WR WR DB DB RB DB WR DB QB DB WR QB LB WR DB WR DB TE K TE DL

10 11 10 11 11 11 12 12 11 10 11 10 12 10 12 11 10 11 11 12 11 12 12 10 10 12 10 10 11 10 12 12 12

#

NAME

18 18 19 19 20 20 21 21 22 23 23 24 25 25 26 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 35 36 37 37 38 39 40 41

Bradford Page Paul Tyson Huston Crommelin Sam Everette Claiborne Crommel Stav Pappas Max Sikora Jim Williams Jacob Kipp Tully Fulmer Wade Robinson Robert Reed William Miller Will Wetzler Henry Barze Joe Saia Blake Roth Philip Gaut Stone Favrot Michael Smith Gates Johnson Conner Bussman Boyd McWhorter Harrison Weaver John Carothers Jimmy Pham Sterling Edwards Warren Fitzpatrick Chambers Joyce Wilson Golden Mark Smith Tanner Dean Mabry Crane

STAFF

LB QB DB RB DB DL WR DB LB OLB WR DB K LB OLB TE WR LB DB DB RB OLB RB OLB DB WR RB DB OLB TE LB LB LB

11 10 10 12 11 12 11 11 10 11 10 10 10 12 12 10 10 10 11 12 10 12 10 12 10 12 10 12 11 12 10 12 12

#

NAME

POS. GRD.

41 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 50 51 52 53 54 54 55 56 56 57 58 58 59 60 61 62 62 63 64 65 66 67 67 68

Jarrett Harrison Baynes Autrey Edward Cain Colton Yeager Bradford Turner Reid Manley Clay Stearns Brendan Brogan Hugh Lawson Joy Alex Pankey Michael Mancuso Sean Doud Bennett Suttles Jack Grant Brad Jenkins Bill Miller Conner Sorrells Andrew Fuqua Avery Schelske Nick Belt Bradley Pinson Zach Morris Price Delk Brooks Autrey Ian Reilly Justin Thompson Hayden McDonald Bond Elliott Will Carothers Liam Mitchell Sam Somerville Anderson Tomlin Johnny Leara

LB DB LB LB LB LB TE DB OL DS OL OL LB OLB K LB OL LB LB OLB OL OL OL LB DL OL OL OL OL OL OL DL OL

10 10 10 10 12 10 11 10 10 12 10 11 11 12 12 11 11 11 11 11 10 11 12 10 11 12 10 11 11 10 10 11 12

#

NAME

70 71 72 72 73 75 76 77 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98

Ford Williams Mills Lowman Aidan Hood John Pelham Christian Johnston Forsyth Elliott Jack Barron Ian Hall Duncan Morris Braden Allemand William Brown Miller Stevens Walker Masingill Connor Tierney Robert Briggs Sims Herron Henry Gaede Pierce Rodrigues Eli Pappas Jay Barze Will Farrar Gavin Lee Sam Colvin Eland Anthony Joe Bird Will Christopher Archie Breland Will Bennett Trey Gory Butler Wilbanks

POS. GRD. OL OL K OL OL OL OL OL DL OL DL OLB TE OLB TE WR TE WR WR WR DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL

12 11 10 12 12 12 11 10 12 10 10 12 11 12 11 12 11 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 11 10 11 11 10 12

2016 SCHEDULE

assistant coaches QUARTERBACKS, OFFENSIVE PASSING GAME COORDINATOR: Jim King RUNNING BACKS, OFFENSIVE RUNNING GAME COORDINATOR: Sean Stearns OFFENSIVE LINE: Tony Johnson RECEIVERS: Jake Collins OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Bert Newton DEFENSIVE BACKS, DEFENSIVE PASSING GAME COORDINATOR: Mike Thorsen DEFENSIVE LINE, SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR: Chad Cochran INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Jacob Sparkman

POS. GRD.

AUG. 19: @ Gulf Shores AUG. 26: Helena SEPT. 2: @ Hoover SEPT. 9: Thompson

SEPT. 16: @ Spain Park SEPT. 23: Open SEPT. 30: Tuscaloosa Co. OCT. 7: @ Vestavia Hills

OCT. 14: @ Oak Mountain OCT. 21: Huffman OCT. 27: Ramsay

2015 RESULTS (3-7, 1-6 Class 7A, Region 3)

head coach Chris Yeager Record at MBHS: 76-41 11th year at MBHS

HUNTSVILLE: W 16-14 HOOVER: L 21-14 @ THOMPSON: L 21-14 @ VESTAVIA HILLS: L 37-7 @ JAMES CLEMENS: L 51-14

@ TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 17-16 OAK MOUNTAIN: L 21-14 @ HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: L 35-14 @ SPAIN PARK: L 21-7 HUFFMAN: W 17-0


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

Mountain Brook senior Mason Dillard, No. 16. Photo courtesy of Ben Breland.

KICKING: Under the lights

C

By SAM CHANDLER helsea High School senior Tyler Thomas vividly remembers what it felt like to save his team’s season. In a Week 8 matchup against Pell City High School in 2015, the 5-foot-8 place-kicker converted a last-minute, 38-yard field goal to give his Hornets a pivotal 17-16 victory. The heroic kick secured Chelsea a spot in the playoffs. “When I kicked that game-winner against Pell City, it was the best feeling ever,” Thomas said. “I didn’t even know what to do. I just like jumped into one of my lineman’s arms and he held me up in the air. It was the best feeling I’ve ever had in my whole life.” The mention of a missed field goal triggers an equally evocative memory. Playing a position steeped in expectations, Thomas said every unsuccessful attempt carries its own sting. “When I miss a kick, I can’t stand myself. I get so mad at myself,” he said. “It makes me feel bad about myself that I let my team down, my coaches, my friends and my family members.” Such is the dichotomous life of a high school kicker. Vindicated in triumph and scarred by defeat, the kids who fill this overlooked position frequently labor in the shadows until they are needed most. Then, the pressure is on. Beckoned to take center stage under the Friday night lights, the collective weight — of a team, of a fan base, of a season — suddenly rests upon their shoulders.

Chelsea senior Tyler Thomas, No. 17. Photo courtesy of Cari Dean.

But they would not have it any other way.

FEELING THE PRESSURE Mountain Brook High School senior Mason Dillard recalls stepping onto the field for his first varsity game, a playoff matchup against Florence High School back in 2013. Only a freshman at the time, he said the opening kickoff still stands as the most pressured kick of his career. Surrounded by on-looking upperclassmen — namely former Spartan star Buddy Pell — Dillard said he sent the kick flying out of bounds,

an automatic penalty. “Walking to the sideline was one of the scariest moments of my entire life,” Dillard said. No longer an inexperienced youngster, Dillard now performs all of Mountain Brook’s kickoff, field goal and punting duties. But nearly three years after his initial varsity experience, he said the pressure has only minimally subsided, especially when it comes to kicking field goals. “Absolutely, I feel the pressure as much as anybody else on the team does,” Dillard said. “My teammates are doing a lot more; they’re putting me in those situations, so they’re really depending and trusting me that I’m going to make the kick.” Last season, Dillard confirmed his maturation when he nailed a game-winning, 28-yard field goal against Tuscaloosa County High School. The kick sealed head coach Chris Yeager’s 100th career victory. Likewise, Oak Mountain High School senior Nick Carney identifies with Dillard. A returning starter for head coach Cris Bell’s Eagles, he fulfills his team’s kickoff, field goal and punting responsibilities. “You definitely feel the pressure,” he said. “There’s always that one second when the ball is snapped, there’s always a millisecond of, ‘Am I going to miss this, or am I going to make this?’ But I just try to get that out of my mind as fast as I can and just let my leg do the work.” In a mental game, confidence is everything.

A SOUND MIND Even though they differed on percentages, Thomas, Dillard and Carney all stressed the


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

importance of an unflappable mentality. While Thomas and Dillard both agreed that place-kicking is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, Carney said it was an even split. Regardless, their answers reveal the existence of a game within a game — not between the sidelines, but between the kicker’s ears. “You can be a great kicker, but if it’s in your brain that you’re going to go out there and miss it, you’re going to miss it nine times out of 10,” Thomas said. That’s why Thomas, like Dillard and Carney, said he employs a simple strategy to prevent the formation of a negative mindset. All three kickers said, in one way or another, that the most effective way to prepare for a kick is by limiting how much time they spend thinking about it. “I just try to clear my mind,” Carney said. But that changes when they take the field. Relying primarily on muscle memory, the trio said it completely dials in when it’s time to deliver. “You’re thinking about how you’re going to kick it, how the hold’s going to be, like no matter what hold it is, you’re going to kick it right through the uprights,” Dillard said. “You have to visualize you’re going to do it before

Oak Mountain senior Nick Carney, No. 1. Photo courtesy of Barry Clemmons.

it happens.” The three kickers also emphasized that a strong mindset becomes even more critical following a missed attempt — a time when kickers are most susceptible to waves of self-doubt. “It doesn’t matter if you made a 60-yarder or you missed a 10-yarder or an extra point. If you can’t have a short memory, I don’t feel like you’re going to be a successful kicker,” Thomas said.

IT’S WORTH IT Even with the lofty expectations, high pressure

and various mental barriers, the trio reached a uniform verdict about their position: It’s worth it. Forget the errant kickoffs and chunked field goals. At the end of the day, memories of triumph trump those of defeat. “I feel like it’s the best job ever,” Thomas said. “It’s just like in life. You have your high points and your low points. Your high points are the best parts, like when I made the game-winning kick against Pell City, it was the highest point ever. But a year before that, we were playing Pell City, and I lost us the game, but nobody really remembers that except a few people. They all just remember me sending us to the playoffs.” Thomas, Dillard and Carney — along with Hoover’s Barret Pickering, Hewitt-Trussville’s Parker Colburn and Pinson Valley’s Saul Rios — will aim to further their impact this fall. All are returning starters who bring big-game experience into the season. Playing in highly competitive regions, their respective success could mean the difference between postseason sensation and regular season deflation. With a game on the line, you can bet they’ll be ready to go. “Absolutely, I want to do it big,” Dillard said.

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OAK MOUNTAIN CLASS A REGION

Eagles

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO W WATCH

Photos courtesy of Barry Clemmons.

DANIEL SALCHERT HB CARSON BOBO TE WYATT LEGAS QB NATHAN JONES WR NICK CARNEY K THOMAS PECHMAN CB

SR

NOAH EGAN WR H HEIGHT: T

WEIGH WEIGHT:


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Wyatt Legas, No. 8

Strong start to the season crucial in Eagles’ plan of attack for new year

O

By KYLE PARMLEY ak Mountain finished the 2015 season strong, winning five of its last seven. The problem was in the first three games, as the Eagles fell behind the eight ball quickly with an 0-3 start to the

campaign. “We’ve got to do a better job this year, start a little faster,” head coach Cris Bell said. As with any high school team, there are vacated spots to fill, leaders to replace and obstacles to overcome, but the pain of last year has the 2016 group determined to right the wrongs of a season ago. “This group feels like they have something

to prove,” Bell said. “Nobody was real satisfied with the results from a year ago. Certainly had some bright spots, but we had a couple early that we’d like to have done a better job with.” The Eagles will have to replace a handful of players who were the powerful force behind a 10-2 record in 2014. Quarterback Warren Shader, offensive lineman Justice Hammond, defensive lineman Armond Lloyd and others have graduated and left large voids, literally and figuratively. “We’re going to be young in spots, especially on defense. We’ve got a lot of folks we’ve got to replace there. We’re probably

See OAK MOUNTAIN | page 63

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team capsules

OFFENSE First and foremost, Oak Mountain has to find a way to replace Shader, a three-year starter at quarterback for the Eagles. The positive is that senior Wyatt Legas got two starts last season in relief of an injured Shader, and was 1-1 in those two games. “In his second start, he played really well,” Bell said. “He’s a senior and he’s ready to play.” Bell emphasized the importance of protecting the football from the signal caller, not fumbling or throwing interceptions. The offensive line lost its leader in Hammond, but returns the other four starters from last season. “That’s a pretty big hole to fill, but we’ve got some guys that we think are ready to do it,” Bell said. Coleman Reeves departs at one of the halfback positions, but Daniel Salchert is back to man the other one. Bell said Salchert really knows the offense, and some options to replace

Ethan Duncan, No. 25

Reeves are Jaylin Gaines, Connor Wilson, Ethan Duncan and Glyn Humphrey. Bell believes that his team is as deep at running back as it’s ever been in his time at Oak Mountain. Carson Bobo will be counted on to take over the tight end spot for the Eagles, and Noah Egan, Nathan Jones and Garret DeAraujo will team up

to give the team some production, despite the loss of Payton Youngblood. “Offensively, I feel like we’ve got a chance to be pretty good…Those are big shoes to fill but the guys we have that are competing for that spot, we like the guys that are around them,” Bell said.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

DEFENSE The Eagles have to replace Armond Lloyd and linebacker Avery Holsomback. Jordan Davis and Spencer Hughes are names Bell mentioned that could make an impact along the defensive line. Josh Jones has to be replaced at linebacker. “We’ve really got to work hard up front to improve,” Bell said. Thomas Pechman is the only man back in the secondary, and Bell said the Eagles have a lot of work to do to replace the departures, but he feels like he has some options. Brett Cruce, Zach Nelson and Davis Manning will compete for time at cornerback, while Manning and Jackson Murphy could potentially crack the rotation at the safety spot. Bell also mentioned Connor Webb and Hunter Martinez to

Spencer Hughes, No. 33. Photo courtesy of Ben Breland.

fight for snaps in the secondary. Bell said, “We’ve got a lot of guys that have put in an awful lot of time and work to make themselves better and now’s their opportunity to see what they can do out there.”

SPECIAL TEAMS Shader handled the punting duties for Oak Mountain, so the Eagles will need to find a new man for the job. Nick Carney, returning as the place-kicker,

punted while Shader was out last year and could potentially handle both if needed. Garrison Frisch and Christian Hood could also find their way on to the field at both spots.

OAK MOUNTAIN CONTINUED from page 61 going to be a little bit undersized, but that’s OK too. We’ll make up for it by giving great effort,” Bell said. Oak Mountain competes in the always tough Class 7A, Region 3, which houses defending state finalist Spain Park. After reclassification, Huffman takes Hewitt-Trussville’s spot in the region, while the rest remains the same. Hoover and Vestavia Hills also made the postseason last year, while Thompson and Mountain Brook are expecting improvements in 2016. In non-region contests, the Eagles add games against Chelsea and Hazel Green to go along with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.

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OAK MOUNTAIN 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

POS.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 28

Nick Carney Xzavier Brown Noah Brown Garrett DeAraujo Jaylin Gaines Logan McNaughton Noah Egan Wyatt Legas Bay Hughes Nathan Jones Jackson Kimbrell Luke Percer Carson Bobo Jackson Murphy Grayson Alexander Connor Webb Trey Allen Mingyu Le Christian Hood Thomas Pechman Daniel Perkins Cole Thomas Trey Meadows Art Smith Ryan Childress Hunter Martinez Zach Nelson Ethan Duncan Garrison Frisch Daniel Salchert JD Adams Justin Evans

K/P WR WR WR HB DB WR QB DB WR QB HB QB SS/K WR DB WR OLB WR DB DT HB DE DB WR DB DB RB DB/P RB LB DB

HT.

WT. GRD.

#

NAME

5’9 6’1 6’ 5’9 5’8 5’10 6’2 6’ 5’7 6’3 5’10 5’11 6’1 5’9 5’7 5’9 5’11 5’8 5’8 5’10 6’1 5’6 5’11 5’9 5’11 5’7 5’8 6’ 5’10 5’8 6’1 5’8

160 185 150 170 190 150 185 185 140 175 160 170 180 180 145 160 155 175 140 150 210 120 185 150 150 150 150 160 150 165 190 155

29 30 31 32 33 34 34 35 36 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

Jackson Sauers Jake Tice AJ Fleet Glyn Humphrey Spencer Hughes Connor Wilson Fox Bowen Jack Russell Jalen Thomas Davis Manning Skylar Johnston Dylan Hoye Jacob Fitzgerald Max McLaughlin William Cline Andrew Bearden Patrick Dryer Nik Heino Brett Cruce Dane Moody Jacob Gagnon Clay Collins Zach Brown Jack Simmons Carey Jackson William Roberson Devin Stern Jordan Davis Nick Feenker Ben Wilke Josh Stanford Alex Burns

12 10 10 12 12 11 12 12 10 11 10 10 11 11 12 11 10 12 10 12 12 10 12 12 11 12 11 11 10 12 12 11

STAFF head coach Cris Bell Record at Oak Mountain: 26-17 Fifth year at OMHS

assistant coaches DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/DEFENSIVE BACKS: Rusty Frisch SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR/DEFENSIVE LINE: Steward Carlisle OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/QUARTERBACKS: Austin Karcher OFFENSIVE LINE: Vance Smith RUNNING BACKS: Riley White OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Stuart Morrison OFFENSIVE LINE/DL - FBOPS: John Milton RUNNING BACKS/LINEBACKERS: Tommy Youngblood WIDE RECEIVERS/OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Wade Lyon QUARTERBACKS/DEFENSIVE BACKS: Brandon Lee INTERPRETER: Chris McGaha

POS. DB LB HB HB LB HB DB HB LB DB DE LB LB SS CB DE DB LB DB DB LB OL DE OL OL OL/LB OL DE OL OL OL DL

HT.

WT. GRD.

#

NAME

5’8 5’9 5’10 n/a 6’ 6’1 5’10 5’9 6’1 5’9 6’ 5’10 5’10 5’8 5’10 5’11 5’11 6’ 5’7 5’5 5’11 6’2 5’11 6 5’8 5’10 5’8 6’2 6’ 6’ 6’ 5’9

150 190 175 n/a 185 180 160 150 175 140 175 150 175 160 165 170 170 175 150 130 195 270 185 165 165 190 185 220 220 205 205 230

61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 70 71 72 73 74 75 77 78 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 94 97 99

Jameson Ellet Eli Lombardo Connor Templin Jacob Feenker Payne Watkins Juan Palacios Brandon Stephens Ruben Nunez Russell Autry Greyson McClain Isaiah Godwin-Evans Nathan Gordon Madden McDougal Tyler Martin Fuller Herring Zykeius Strong Jack Simmons Michael Luu Will Hulsey Ben Echols Ben Handley Matt Piper Connor Kelley Darren Lanier Matthew Pflaum Nicholas Young Hudson Tate Travis Thomasson Peter Kolar Mark Henderson Carter Owens Whit Jackson

12 11 12 10 12 11 11 10 10 12 10 10 10 11 12 10 12 10 11 10 10 10 10 11 11 12 11 11 12 11 11 10

POS. DL OL DL OL OL OL OL OL DT OL OL OL OL OL OL OL TE WR WR WR TE WR LB WR DE WR LB DE DE DE DL DT

HT.

WT. GRD.

5’8 5’10 6’ 6’ 5’10 5’9 5’7 5’11 6’1 5’11 5’8 6’ 5’7 5’10 5’11 6’2 6 5’7 6’3 5’7 6’2 5’6 5’8 5’11 6’1 6’ 6’ 6’1 6’ 5’10 5’11 5’10

240 190 230 225 215 185 195 190 210 165 205 200 185 215 185 215 185 125 185 140 185 120 175 155 185 150 185 200 185 185 240 260

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: Chelsea AUG. 26: @ Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa SEPT. 2: @ Huffman SEPT. 9: Vestavia Hills SEPT. 16: @ Thompson SEPT. 23: Open

SEPT. 30: Hoover OCT. 7: @ Tuscaloosa County OCT. 14: Mountain Brook OCT. 21: Spain Park OCT. 28: @ Hazel Green

2015 RESULTS (5-5, 3-4 in Class 7A, Region 3 HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: L 31-0 @ VESTAVIA HILLS: L 35-26 HOOVER: L 17-14 @ TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 15-7 @ BRIARWOOD: W 35-0

HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: L 38-31 @ MOUNTAIN BROOK: W 21-14 SPAIN PARK: L 20-10 THOMPSON: W 41-37 @ PELL CITY: W 20-14

11 12 12 11 10 12 10 11 10 12 12 10 11 10 11 10 11 10 12 11 11 11 11 11 12 11 10 10 11 10 10 12


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PINSON VALLEY

AUGUST 2016

Indians CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

TORREY KENDRIX RB LIALLEN DAILEY WR EZEKIEL LAWRENCE DL SAUL RIOS K DESMOND SCOTT DL TY WOODS DB/WR CJ RUDOLPH DB ZAPETH CUNNINGHAM LB Photos by Ron Burkett.

JACKIE MATTHEWS QB HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

JR


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Leadership, physicality on the field among Indians’ top priorities

M

By KYLE PARMLEY att Glover prides himself on fielding a physical football team week in and week out. That goal has yielded great success for him in his seven seasons as head coach at Pinson Valley, as the Indians have made the playoffs six consecutive seasons. But something didn’t sit well with him after the 2015 season. Despite a 7-4 record, an upset win over McAdory and three shutouts from his defense, the team’s nature was not up to his standard. “I thought we weren’t very physical,” he said. “I thought we’d lost that edge and physicality.”

He noticed the first sign of trouble during the fourth game of the season, a loss to Gardendale that got away from the Indians, as the Rockets rolled up 444 rushing yards. Glover said the rules on practice limitation make regaining that physical edge more difficult, but that it was his number one goal heading into the fall. In 2016, the Indians will also look for more leadership, a common theme for coaches at any given point. But for the Indians, it will prove pivotal for them to find leaders with such a small senior class of just 11 players. “That’s the big thing. Older kids stepping

See PINSON VALLEY | page 68

Jackie Matthews, No. 14

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team capsules

Torrey Hendrix, No. 23

OFFENSE Running back Torrey Hendrix had great success in the first half of the season last fall, but a leg injury diminished his ability to play the last several games, hampering the Indian attack. But he is back and fully healthy, along with quarterback Jackie Matthews to form a dynamic backfield. Matthews took over the quarterback position midway through his freshman campaign, so he has over a year of starting experience, and will just now be a junior. His cannon of a left arm combined with his ability to run makes him dangerous every play. Hendrix was the offense’s most valuable player the first several weeks before being injured. He had multiple games with over

100 all-purpose yards, and even created a replica of the “Michael Dyer play” in the season-opener. If healthy, he can catapult the Pinson Valley offense to new heights. The receiving corps should be built to last as well, with guys like Liallen Dailey and Marshall Tanner carrying some of the load, and picking up the slack left behind by the graduated Errius Collins. “Quarterback, running back, receivers, we feel pretty good about,” Glover said. The offensive line is a different story. Rod Tunstall and Tyler Johnson are the only two returning starters up front. The Indians will have to find new bookends on the line at both tackle slots, and the options are a bevy of younger players.

DEFENSE Glover estimated that he lost six significant contributors on the defensive side of the ball to graduation. Starting up front, the Indians saw two lineman depart to graduation, leaving Ezekiel Lawrence and Desmond Scott to pick up the slack. Both players played large roles a season ago, and are all but counted on to do the same again. “I feel good about that, it’s just finding some depth,” Glover said, of his defensive line.

PINSON VALLEY CONTINUED from page 67 up, not making the same mistakes they made the day before, helping the younger kids out,” Glover said. With that small senior class comes the hope of a bright future. The present could be bright as well if returning skill players on offense and contributors on defense step up and provide that physicality and

Zapeth Cunningham is the only returning linebacker, as Pinson Valley will have to replace three of them. Cunningham is following in the footsteps of his brother, Zach, who had a great career at Pinson Valley and is now a defensive leader at Vanderbilt. Jay Woods is off to the University of South Alabama, but his younger brothers Ty Woods and Andrew McKinney are still in the secondary for the Indians. Each had solid campaigns in 2015.

leadership Glover desires. Class 6A, Region 6 looks a little different this fall, as Huffman, Shades Valley and Woodlawn have departed and been replaced by Minor, Walker and Carver-Birmingham. “Our (region) got tougher,” Glover said. “Our first five games are really, really tough. Our first three region games are Minor, Walker and Clay-Chalkville. We find out where we stand right off the bat.”

Desmond Scott, No. 74

SPECIAL TEAMS Saul Rios returns as the place-kicker for Pinson Valley. Rios is no stranger to success, as he booted the game-winning field goal against McAdory in overtime in 2015. He may be forced to pick up the punting duties as well. Collins handled the punting duties last season, and was spectacular. Collins also returned kicks, so the Indians will be forced to try some new faces back there. Jay Woods spent many Friday nights as a punt returner as well.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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69

PINSON VALLEY 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Zapeth Cunningham Dilan Henderson Christian Hopkins Torrey Hendrix Ty Woods CJ Rudolph Jackie Matthews Raymond Womack Liallen Dailey Demarion Holloman Andrew McKinney Gabe Hamby Jamarian Drake Kendarius Henderson Keyontez Johnson Barry White Samuel McKinney Jay Jackson Kamarious Grays

GRADE

#

NAME

SR JR JR SR SR SR JR JR JR SO SR SO JR SO FR FR SR FR JR

20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Jaylun Gulley Lanard Wilson Rhassan Christian Logan Woods Nigel Wilson Khymel Chaverst Jay Sharpe Caleb Taylor Justin Smith Chris Tremble Christian Bacon Tyler Ladd Rashad Evans Tracey Reed Vondrecus Miller AJ Sims Eric Rogers Jalene Andrews Will McFarland

STAFF

GRADE

#

NAME

JR JR SO SO SO JR FR SO SR SR JR JR SO SO SR SO JR SO JR

39 40 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 51 52 53 54 55 57 58 59 60 62

Blade Nairmore Danorris Banks Demarco Harris Kyree Blackburn Andrew Rodriguez Demarcus Adams Landon Taylor Dominick Goff Saul Rios Tyler Esary Nico Simmons Woodson Thorn Luke Vaughn Tyler Johnson Zeke Lawrence Nathan Saxon Joel Parker Jordan Lewis Gabe Agby

GRADE

#

NAME

FR SO JR JR JR FR SO FR SO SO JR SO JR JR JR SO SO JR JR

63 64 65 66 67 70 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 86 88

Alex Jordan Jesse Dodds Harold Ryce Andre Thomas Jaylen Hatcher Kaleb Smitherman Desmond Scott Andrew Sims Rodrick Tunstall Deyundre Graham Lonnie Hollman Donnie Hawkins Brinyn Goggins Timarr Smith Carlito Colston Marquez Taylor Marshall Tanner

GRADE

2016 SCHEDULE head coach Matt Glover Record at Pinson Valley: 42-37 Eighth year at PVHS

assistant coaches OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/QUARTERBACKS: Jon Clements OFFENSIVE LINE: David Smith RUNNING BACKS: Dakota Daniel RECEIVERS: Nick Andrews TIGHT ENDS: Lee Guess LINEBACKERS: Gene Richardson DEFENSIVE LINE: Whit Whitfield DEFENSIVE BACKS: Jake Hibbs

AUG. 19: McAdory AUG. 26: @ Ramsay SEPT. 2: @ Minor SEPT. 9: Clay-Chalkville SEPT. 16: @ Walker SEPT. 23: @ Shades Valley

SEPT. 30: Open OCT. 7: Center Point OCT. 14: @ Gardendale OCT. 21: Carver-Birmingham OCT. 28: Pleasant Grove

2015 RESULTS (7-4, 4-2 in Class 6A, Region 6 HARTSELLE: W 28-13 @ ONEONTA: W 26-7 @ WOODLAWN: W 35-0 GARDENDALE: L 42-13 @ CLAY-CHALKVILLE: L 65-10 @ MCADORY: W 24-21 (OT) HUFFMAN: W 8-0

1st round playoffs)

@ CENTER POINT: W 34-0 SHADES VALLEY: W 35-21 MINOR: L 26-16 PLAYOFFS @ AUSTIN: L 35-7

JR SO JR JR SO SO JR SO SR SO JR FR JR FR JR JR SR


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

SPAIN PARK Jaguars

CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH 20

TTHOMAS JORDAN WR DAMON WRIGHT DE H HOUSTON HOLLIS LB DA DAMARIUS FARMER DB DOUGLAS HENZE DL D

Photos courtesy of Ted Melton.

SR

LARRY WOODEN RB HEIGHT: HEIG GHT:

WEIGHT:


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Thomas Jordan, No. 28

Following stellar 2015 performance, duplication is name of Jags’ game

W

By SAM CHANDLER

hen a high school football coach identifies the graduations of his punter and kicker as his team’s most significant losses, it can mean one of two things: The pair was immensely talented, or the team is stacked with returners at all other positions. Spain Park can relate to the former. In graduating kickoff specialist and punter Tyler Sumpter, along with place-kicker Crosby Gray, the Jags lost two pivotal assets from their 2015 team that won 12 games and reached the Class 7A state final. “Two of the best I’ve ever been around,”

Spain Park head coach Shawn Raney said. “Those two kids in every facet — kickoff, punt that Tyler did to the field goals that Crosby did — it was just almost automatic. I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of something like that, especially at the high school level.” The pair proved invaluable down the stretch last season as the Jags eked out victory after victory. Sumpter’s booming kickoffs and punts continually tilted the battle for field position, while Gray’s sure-footed field goals lifted the team to critical victories in both region and playoff matchups. Sumpter averaged over 45 yards per punt

See SPAIN PARK | page 72

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team capsules

OFFENSE In Raney’s conservative, run-first offense, the method is clear and simple: Pound the ground until peppering in play-action passes. As a result, the Jags have an annual demand for a corps of versatile running backs prepared to shoulder a heavy load. In 2016, expect the majority of those duties to fall to senior Larry Wooden. Selected All-State Honorable Mention in 2015, Wooden scored nine touchdowns and accumulated over 1,200 all-purpose yards during his breakout junior campaign. “I think he’ll be one of the best kids in this area as far as being a college-recruited kid,” Raney said. “I think he can do a lot of things, and I think his work ethic has really improved since last year.” In addition to toting the ball on handoffs, Wooden poses a dangerous receiving threat. With soft hands and elusiveness, he has the ability to make opposing defenses pay in

Larry Wooden, No. 25

open space. He’ll be joined in the backfield by junior D’Arie Johnson, who is coming off a torrid junior varsity season. Raney said he envisions the Wooden-Johnson combo resembling the formidable one-two punch formed by Wooden and Wade Streeter in 2015. Although he anticipates an extensive position battle, Raney will look to either senior Hunter Howell or junior Braxton Barker to take over quarterback duties. Howell gained small chunks of playing experience late in games last season when former gunslinger Joey Beatty had already padded Spain Park’s lead. “He’s paid his dues in the program first, but we’re going to play the best player,” Raney said in reference to Howell. “I mean that’s the attitude at every position.” Regardless of who surfaces as the starter, it’s going to take a group effort to protect him, as former offensive linemen Johnathan Mote and All-State center Grey Best will be hard to replace. Senior Thomas Jordan will play at the No.1 receiver position.

DEFENSE On the opposite side of the ball, Spain Park’s defense will attempt to duplicate its audacious string of performances from 2015. Over the course of the season, the Jags pitched four shutouts and allowed only 58 points in their final nine games. But a few key pieces have since graduated, including All-State linebacker Perry Young and defensive lineman Markell Clark. “You think of Perry, since I’ve been here, he’s been the cornerstone of this defense, so to lose him is a huge loss just because he’s such an outstanding playmaker.”

Houston Hollis, No. 34

Nevertheless, Raney said he believes he has guys ready to rise to the occasion. In Young’s absence, seniors Houston Hollis and Josiah Johnson will anchor the linebacker

was the outstanding kicking game.” Although searching for a punter, the Jags appear to have at least one CONTINUED from page 71 prospect capable of stepping into and induced touchbacks on more Gray’s cleats: junior Cole Starr, than 75 percent of his kickoffs. an athlete Raney recruited from Likewise, Gray converted nearly 75 the school’s soccer team. Starr percent of his field goal attempts, looked crisp in spring practice, including three from over 40 yards. consistently hammering field goals “I think the margin of error in our through the uprights. region, and especially with us, is very But it’s going to take more than small,” Raney said. “I thought what strong special teams play for the separated our margin of error last year Jags to replicate their prior success.

SPAIN PARK

corps, while fellow seniors Douglas Henze and Damon Wright will tether the defensive front. With seniors Cameron Toyer, Jack Connell and Damarius Farmer returning, the Jags’ secondary — a question mark entering 2015 — should be one of the team’s strong suits. Schematically, Spain Park lines up in a 4-3 base package, though it is capable of switching to a 3-4 depending on the opponent. Despite requiring greater flexibility from players, the two-package system provides the team with an extra degree of versatility. “Everybody’s just got to buy in,” Henze said. “Everybody has to do what they’re asked to do.”

Playing in highly competitive 7A, Region 3, Spain Park will need its team members to demonstrate the same level of commitment and resolve as they did in 2015. “I thought our team last year had the ‘it’ factor that a team needs to have…just never say die, never quit, and that comes from great leadership from coaches and from kids,” Raney said. “If we can continue that, I think we’ve got the talent to have another successful year.”

SPECIAL TEAMS Starr will take over as the Jags’ place-kicker. The team will be looking for a kickoff specialist and punter to fill the void left by Sumpter’s graduation.


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

73

SPAIN PARK 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

GRADE POS.

1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 16

D’Arie Johnson Andrew Mader Landon Shoemaker Zach Evans Myckael Walton Josh Denson William Mee Jaden Jenkins Mason Pronk Damon Wright Emmanuel Holsey Jalen McMillian Rayfe Richey Braxton Barker Clay Christian Ronald Carl Jo Jo Dennis Isiah Bonilla Damarius Farmer Hunter Howell Thomas Branin Colin Kirkpatrick Ryan Griffin Omar Angel Mario Davis

11 10 12 11 12 11 12 11 10 12 11 11 12 11 11 11 11 11 12 12 11 10 11 11 12

RB DB WR DB DB WR WR DB QB DE DB WR LB QB DB DB WR DB DB QB DB QB WR WR WR

#

NAME

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

Darion Keahey Nicholas Dixon Kameron McDaniel Cole Starr Cameron Toyer Brandon Simmons Jalen Henderson Cedric Tooson Larry Wooden Victor Davis Jack Connell Thomas Jordan Kenyon Hines Tyrece Mickens Braxton Hall Robert Cook Scott Moates Houston Hollis Darrian Stringer Zachary Robinson Peyton Maner Gaven Pudlik Hayden Callagan Hayes Cole Reed Vella

STAFF head coach Shawn Raney Record at Spain Park: 26-9 Fourth year at Spain Park

assistant coaches DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Matt Thompson OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Marty Rozell RUNNING BACKS: Darrius Taylor TIGHT ENDS: Keat Litton OFFENSIVE LINE: Chris Bell WIDE RECEIVERS: Ryan Thompson DEFENSIVE BACKS/SPECIAL TEAMS: Brian Maner LINEBACKERS: Eric Gibbons DEFENSIVE LINE: Jason Hamlin ATHLETIC TRAINER: John Hardin

GRADE POS. 12 11 10 11 12 12 10 10 12 11 12 12 10 11 10 11 10 12 11 11 12 10 12 11 10

DB RB DB K DB DB RB DB RB RB DB WR WR TE WR LB LB LB RB LB DB DB P LB DB

#

NAME

GRADE POS.

42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 62 64 65 66 67 68 69 71

Josiah Johnson 12 Kishawn Dawsey 10 Mark Muir 11 Darius Robinson 10 Ja Cory Robinson 10 Johnathon Harland 10 Joshua Stanton 10 Nicholas Cotumaccio 11 Will Mullins 12 William Mote 10 Josh Wallace 10 Caleb Foster 11 Josh Mullins 10 Alexander Kassouf 12 James Schweer 11 Bredt Stover 12 Burrell Boswell 12 Layth Thiab 10 Colton Punzel 10 Ethan Prolsdorfer 10 Broderick Polk 10 David Shannon 11 Ryan Campbell 11 Abdulrahman Deeb 11 Casen Browning 11

LB DB DE LB DB DB DB LB OL OL LB LB OL OL DE OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL

#

NAME

GRADE POS.

73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 96 97 98

LJ Murray Devin Dowdle Michael Fowler Claudio Sarniguet Jayme Simmons Jalen Johnson Cameron Young Michael Rogers Marcellus Payne Ashanti Carter Michael Allen Luke Blackmon Jake Carver Christian Richburg Davis Brown Steven Pate Layth Abusuad Jacob Pughsley Douglas Henze P.T. Vercher Kalik Mallard Zac Shaw

2016 SCHEDULE AUG. 19: @ Gadsden City AUG. 26: Muscle Shoals SEPT. 2: Vestavia Hills SEPT. 9: @ Hoover SEPT. 16: Mountain Brook SEPT. 23: Open

SEPT. 30: Huffman OCT. 6: @ Thompson OCT. 14: Tuscaloosa County OCT. 21: @ Oak Mountain OCT. 27: @ Minor

2015 RESULTS (12-2, 7-0 in Class 7A, Region 3 @ AUSTIN: L 38-35 (3 OT) HUEYTOWN: W 31-0 @ THOMPSON: W 15-14 TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 24-0 @ HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: W 31-28 HOOVER: W 17-0 VESTAVIA HILLS: W 21-0 @ OAK MOUNTAIN: W 20-10

State runner-up)

MOUNTAIN BROOK: W 21-7 BESSEMER CITY: W 24-6 PLAYOFFS HAZEL GREEN: W 31-7 JAMES CLEMENS: W 13-10 HOOVER: W 7-6 MCGILL-TOOLEN: L 14-12

12 10 11 10 10 11 10 10 10 10 12 11 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 10 12 10

OL K OL DE OL OL OL WR RB TE TE WR WR RB WR DE C DE DL DL DL DE


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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

VESTAVIA HILLS Rebels

CLASS A REGION

2016 KEY K PLAYERS TO WATCH

COLEMAN PETTWAY QB COLEM TOLIVER CHATWOOD HB PATRICK NUSS OL PA JONATHAN HESS DB JON TU TUCKER QUEEN DB

Photos courtesy of Ted Melton.

SR

JOSEPH TRAVIS WR HE HEIGHT:

WEIGHT: W


PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

AUGUST 2016

analysis

Rebels’ senior class prepares to step up, take ownership of season

V

By KYLE PARMLEY estavia Hills concluded the 2014 season with a record of 3-7, the Rebels’ first losing season since 1991. But the Rebels wasted no time picking themselves up off the mat, putting together an impressive campaign in 2015 that included a win over Hoover in the regular season and second-round playoff berth. The final three weeks of the season, Vestavia found itself ranked in the top 10. “I thought we had a great year,” said Buddy Anderson, who will enter his 39th season as head coach of the Rebels this

fall. “We had great leadership out of our seniors last year.” The challenge with having a team filled with great senior leaders comes the following year, as the Rebels will be faced with replacing over half of their starters from last season. “We’re going to really miss those guys,” Anderson said. The Rebels have another cast of seniors ready to step up and fill that role in 2016, and if they are to reach their goals, Anderson puts a lot of weight on that group. “We tell them, ‘So go our seniors, so goes our Coleman Pettway, No. 14

See VESTAVIA HILLS | page 77

We Deliver and Cater

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AUGUST 2016

team capsules

OFFENSE On offense, there will be plenty of new faces donning the red and blue. Taking over for Brett Jones at quarterback will be Coleman Pettway or Sean Smyth. Both got chances to play last year, but will do some learning on the job this year. “There’s only one way to get experience, and that’s to go out there and do it,” Anderson said. The Rebels are “starting over from scratch” at fullback and much of the offensive line, but Toliver Chatwood returns with experience at the tailback position, and William Schaffeld will also get his chances to help out the running attack. Mitchell Langley and Joseph Travis appear to be options to step up at the receiver position and give the new quarterback reliable targets. Patrick Nuss is impressed by what he’s seen. “We got some height and strength coming back at receiver,” he said.

Toliver Chatwood, No. 37

Nuss is the only returning offensive lineman, and he’ll man the left tackle position. While that may seem daunting, Nuss is optimistic. He said, “I’m the only returning starter, but we have some guys that got reps at every position last year.” Making sure the offensive line gets

comfortable and settled in is a big priority for Anderson. It starts up front for the Rebels. “You’ve got to have all of them, but you’ve got to have that big catalyst. You got to have those guys up front that are going to pave the way for you. It’s going to take a lot of work, and we’ve got some work to do there,” Anderson said.

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PREP FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW

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DEFENSE Tucker Queen and Jonathan Hess return to make up half the secondary, and look to lead the defense from the backside. Queen sees some other options being able to step up and fit in there, to replace the likes of Nolan Turner, who is off to Clemson. “I think we have a good group of guys coming back, coming up, a good group of

VESTAVIA HILLS CONTINUED from page 75 season,’” he said. Anderson continued, “We expect our seniors to take a lot of leadership and a lot of ownership of this season, as far as being leaders of the season. Not that a junior or sophomore can’t lead, but we expect them to really take ownership.” No matter the situation, the goal is always the same: to win a state championship,

seniors to pick those spots up,” Queen said. The Rebels are essentially starting over at linebacker as well, and a handful of guys will get the chance to step in and earn playing time. On the defensive line, both ends have graduated, leaving a full-time starter and part-time starter at the tackle spots returning.

something Anderson has accomplished twice (1980 and 1998). “That’s always the goal. We’ve got a lot of puzzle pieces that’s got to be put together and logs put on the fire and a lot of work. It’s just one day at a time. There’s no shortcuts. “We live in an instant society, but there’s not one thing instant about football,” Anderson said. Defensive back Tucker Queen is aiming just as high as his coach when writing down his goals for his senior season. “We’re going to get a ring. There’s no other

SPECIAL TEAMS Anderson will have some work to do at special teams, as the Rebels’ kicker, punter and long snapper have all departed.

[other] expectation,” he said. In order for the Rebels to duplicate the success from last fall, they are going to have to jell in a hurry. Vestavia opens with Homewood, Spain Park and Oak Mountain, all three formidable opponents. But if there is one thing the Rebels will always be under Anderson, it’s physical. “We’re the same every year,” offensive lineman Patrick Nuss said. “We’re just out there looking to get physical. That’s what our pride and joy is. We just know we’re going to out-hit every team we play.”

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VESTAVIA HILLS 2016 ROSTER #

NAME

1 2 2 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 19 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 26 26 27 28 29 30 31

Cole Dothard Evans Crane Johnathan Williams Travis Saunders Conner Rohling William Jemison Kevin Cunningham Bryce Glenn Alex Hall Gaines Berry Garret Lee Ferguson Smith Charlie Ball Isaiah Flowers Mitchell Langley Frankie Donze Ray Murphy Coleman Petway Sean Smyth Weyman Prater Cam Blake Jonathan Hess Tucker Queen Chance Stephenson Sam Fulkerson Russell Webb Reed Stockton Steven Thackerson Drew Stockard Charlie Stoves Andrew Knight Asher Hamilton Jackson Jeffery Tyric Toodle Spencer Lawson Dixon Jones Everett Shea Luke Denney Freddie Updike

GRD. OFF. DEF. HT. WT. JR SO SO SR SR JR SR JR SR SO SR SO JR SO SR SO SR JR SO SO JR JR SR SO SO JR JR SR JR SO JR JR SO JR JR SR JR JR SO

WR OL RB WR WR WR RB WR WR QB QB WR WR WR WR WR RB QB QB QB WR WR WR WR WT WR FB FB WR WR RB TE WR RB WR WR WR WR WR

DB E DB LB DB DB DB DB DB LB DB DB DB DB DB DB E DB DB LB LB DB DB LB K/P DB LB LB DB DB DB LB DB LB LB LB DB LB DB

5’11 5’10 5’10 6’0 5’7 5’8 5’10 5’8 5’10 6’0 5’8 5’6 6’1 5’9 6’2 5’5 6’0 5’11 5’11 5’11 6’1 6’4 5’10 5’10 5’11 5’11 5’8 5’8 6’0 5’7 5’8 5’10 5’9 5’11 6’2 5’10 5’8 5’11 5’5

147 135 160 180 152 161 156 145 170 195 151 121 172 150 165 148 198 170 161 154 184 207 171 157 143 140 160 171 151 140 160 170 150 175 170 152 156 180 132

#

NAME

32 33 34 35 36 36 37 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 64 65

William Schaffeld Cooper Jones Ben Willoughby Earl Bradberry Caleb Huber Anthony Sims Toliver Chatwood Dovell Smith DeCameron Adamson Tripp Lowery Trip Gurner Cooper Bishop Josh Silverman Kade Cannon Chris Hughes Cameron Cacace Parker Hilburn Carter Gill Sawyer Dutton Rob Barrentine Ben Barrentine John David Adams Slade Stewart Andrew Cross Jack Silverman Conyers Webster Michael Dukeminier Tucker Smith Jay Cross Jaimel Foy Andrew Manush Grant McLean Will Philpot Hamilton Haynes Richmond Maddox Jack Kyle Ryan Lockhart Patrick Nuss James Edwards

STAFF

JR SR JR JR SO SO SR SO SO SO SR SO SO SO SR JR SR SO JR SO SO JR SR SO SO SO SO JR SO JR SO SO SR SR JR JR SO SR SR

RB FB WR FB TB TB RB FB EB WR RB FB WR WR RB FB WR RB FB WR OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL P/K OL OL

LB LB DB LB P/K LB E DB LB LB DB LB LB DB DB E LB E LB LB DB T T E T LB T LB E T DL DL E E T T E DL E

5’10 6’2 5’11 6’0 5’10 5’11 5’11 5’5 5’10 5’9 6’1 6’0 5’10 5’11 5’5 6’0 5’10 5’11 6’1 5’11 5’10 6’2 5’11 5’11 5’9 5’10 5’9 5’8 5’10 6’0 6’2 6’1 6’2 6’0 6’1 5’9 6’0 6’7 6’3

165 191 156 180 137 169 170 172 175 171 160 182 191 155 150 195 177 170 185 181 147 227 245 180 162 164 217 174 150 220 210 202 217 187 192 223 170 276 228

2016 SCHEDULE

head coach Buddy Anderson Record at VHHS: 320-135 39th year at VHHS

assistant coaches DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/ LINEBACKERS: Chad Merrill DEFENSIVE BACKS: Jamie Harris WIDE RECEIVERS: Keith Trotman OFFENSIVE LINE: Mike Howard DEFENSIVE LINE: Cody Merrill

GRD. OFF. DEF. HT. WT.

QUARTERBACKS: Sammy Queen DEFENSIVE ENDS: Jeff Segars RUNNING BACKS: Greg Smith OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Todd Evans SPECIAL TEAMS/TIGHT ENDS: Brent Welborn

AUG. 19: Briarwood (Jamboree) AUG. 26: Homewood SEPT. 2: @ Spain Park SEPT. 9: @ Oak Mountain SEPT. 16: Huffman SEPT. 23: Helena SEPT. 30: @ Thompson OCT. 7: Mountain Brook OCT. 14: @ Hoover OCT. 21: Tuscaloosa County OCT. 28: @ Shades Valley

#

NAME

GRD. OFF. DEF. HT. WT.

65 66 67 68 69 70 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 76 77 78 79 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 85 86 87 88 89 89 90 91 92 93 95 96 97 98 99

John Winford Cort Cooper Grayton Brooks Braydon Schick Austin Kelley Duncan Jones Lamar Swain Walter Thomas Drew Gurosky Garrett Griffin Hayden Haynes Barrett Striplin Nathan Bullock Jacob Edwards Reed McMahon Douglas Thompson Termaine Brown Micah Davis Michael Schroeder Jeremiah Smith Michael Vice Marshall Powell Jacobi Hudson Carter Sullivan Jeff Weatherby Hunter Salmon William Padgett Joseph Travis Robby Flowers Tim Gardner Ben Williams Diego Melendez Chatfield Webster Jack Dunphy Charlie Dellaccio Sam Looney Manraj Singh Andrew Simms Stuart Bradly

SO SO SR SO JR SO JR SR JR JR SR SR SO SR SR SO JR SR SR SR SO SR SR SO JR SO JR SR JR JR SO SO SO JR JR SO SR SO SR

OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL OL TE TE TE TE WR TE TE TE TE WR WR WR TE TE WR SNPR TE WR -OL OL

E T T T T DL T T T T DL DL E T E T DL T E E E E DB LB E E LB E DB DB DE E DB -E E P/K DL T

6’1 6’1 5’9 5’11 6’4 6’1 5’9 6’3 6’3 5’9 6’1 6’3 6’2 6’3 6’2 6’1 n/a 5’9 5’9 6’5 6’2 6’4 5’8 6’1 5’11 6’4 5’8 6’4 6’0 n/a 6’2 5’11 5’11 5’7 5’11 5’8 5’9 6’5 5’8

171 215 284 209 226 250 270 351 236 260 202 257 198 227 218 238 n/a 256 178 212 205 190 151 175 170 197 181 185 155 n/a 192 190 163 170 165 155 154 227 200

2015 RESULTS (9-3, 5-2 Class 7A, Region 3 2nd round playoffs)

@ HOMEWOOD: W 41-7 OAK MOUNTAIN: W 35-26 @ HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: L 28-12 MOUNTAIN BROOK: W 37-7 OXFORD: W 17-10 @ THOMPSON: W 23-13 @ SPAIN PARK: L 21-0 HOOVER: W 20-13 @ TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: W 15-7 SHADES VALLEY: W 33-14 PLAYOFFS @ BOB JONES: W 28-17 @ HOOVER: L 24-0



Prep Football Season Preview 2016