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KICKOFF 2013 Guide

to football in

Chilton County

Home Field Advantage Does it exist? Plus

Schedules, Rosters, Photos, Analysis, Bands, Cheerleaders

Advertiser The Clanton


The lineup TeAm AnAlySeS

8 Maplesville 14 Chilton Christian 16 Verbena 20 Isabella 444 26 Chilton County 38 Billingsley 40 Jemison 46 Thorsby

ON THE COVER: Jemison’s Randy Satterfield could be the Chilton County area’s best player. Read his story on Page 45.

hOme FIeld AdvAnTAge

6 Which local team has the best? PReSeASOn All-AReA TeAm

13 Best at each position

Taking you inside the locker room

W

elcome to another season of high school football, and to another edition of Kickoff magazine, The Clanton Advertiser’s annual football preview publication. This is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year: the excitement building for the start of the season and players hopeful because anything is still possible for their teams. Producing this magazine, now in its fourth year, has become a part of my annual fall routine. It’s intriguing to talk to local coaches about how they think dawkins their squads will fare and take photos of the players preparing for their first games—then share those stories and images with our readers. I hope Kickoff has also become part of your annual football experience. With the 2013 edition, we’re excited to introduce some new features we hope you’ll enjoy.

First, you’ll find a story about home field advantage. Fans assume football teams are more difficult to defeat when playing at home, but we wanted to find out if that was truly the case. Turns out, there is something to home field advantage: Every local team has a higher winning percentage at home than away from the friendly confines of their stadium. We couldn’t stop there. We had to find out which local team enjoyed the strongest home field advantage. This particular squad will be hoping that trend holds up the first week of the season when a bitter rival comes calling. Also in this edition, we’ve included feature stories about one player from six local teams. We dubbed these stories “Inside the Locker Room” because the idea was to show fans a side of the players and teams they might not ordinarily see, especially if just watching games from the stands on Friday nights. We’ll be seeing you all in those stands at the games this fall. – Stephen Dawkins

Publisher Tim Prince editorial Emily Beckett, writer Stephen Dawkins, managing editor Emily Etheredge, writer Jon Goering, photographer advertising Zack Bates Alan Brown, sales manager Brandy Clackley CustoMer serviCe Laura Atkins Press and MailrooM Jimmy Ruff, production manager Scott Mims, mailroom manager Malinda Nance, mailroom manager

Kickoff 2013 is published by Clanton Newspapers, Inc., P.O. Box 1379, Clanton, AL 35046, 205.755.5747


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Home Sweet Home Teams’ home fields do offer an advantage—some more than others Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photos by Jon Goering and file

“T

here’s no place like home.” It’s a common, and mostly true, cliche. But does it apply to high

school football? When looking at a team’s schedule, fans assume that their team has a better chance to win a particular game because it’s being played at their home stadium. And vice versa, a game on the road against a tough opponent might draw a grimace and a shake of the head. Some coaches are unsure whether there is such a thing as home field advantage. “I don’t know that it makes a big difference for us,” Billingsley coach Tyson McLean said. “I like to think that it really doesn’t. The fields are all 100 yards long.” One thing is for sure: No team wants to lose at home, in front of family and friends. “We want to always protect the home field,” McLean said. “You always want to play well in front of the home folks.” But can the theory of home field advantage be proven or disproven? The Clanton Advertiser studied win-loss records of local teams going back as far as the best available records would allow. On average, local teams have posted a 47.4 winning percentage in all games, including the postseason. When playing at home,

BIll nABORS FIeld Isabella High School •Built in 1953, named for Isabella trainer, who suffered from polio, for his love of Isabella athletics. •Team winning percentage: 37.5 percent (according to best available records) •Home winning percentage: 41.9 percent •Home field advantage: 4.4 percent

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meanwhile, that winning percentage jumps to 53.6 percent. So, local teams playing at home have won at about a 6.2 percent higher clip at home than away from home. Adding further evidence to the hypothesis is the fact that each local team has been better at home. The least effective home field advantage found was a 4.4-percent increase in winning percentage, while most teams hovered in the 6- to 7percent range. So, which Chilton County area team has enjoyed the most effective home field advantage? That would be Jemison, at 7.13 percent. Billingsley was close behind with a 7.11-percent increase in winning percentage when playing at home. First-year Jemison coach Jake Hogan understands why the Panthers would win more at home. He was an assistant coach last season when JHS hosted Bibb County and defeated their rivals in a close game at Panther Stadium. “I felt like the city of Jemison beat Bibb County that night,” Hogan said about the rowdy crowd at a venue that is nicknamed the “J-HOP” (Jemison House of Pain) and the “Hole” (for the way the stadium seems sunken in from the surrounding terrain). The coach also pointed to the school’s marching band and student section at the stadium for their help in giving the home team an advantage.

geORge wAlKeR jR. STAdIum Maplesville High School •Built in 1966, named for long-time principal who initiated the effort to construct a new stadium at the school. •Team winning percentage: 60.9 percent •Home winning percentage: 67.9 percent •Home field advantage: 7 percent

“That’s one of the biggest things that I want to establish: I would love to make Panther Stadium one of the most intimidating venues in Class 4A football,” Hogan said. Other local teams also rely on community support to create a home field advantage. On Friday nights when the Rebels are playing at Susan Bentley Field, it seems the whole town of Thorsby can be found in the stadium and the grassy seating areas around the field. “Thorsby is a close-knit community,” THS coach Billy Jackson said. “They come out in droves. The community has always been supportive, even when we’ve not always been successful. “Of course, if you want people to come watch you, then you’ve got to give them something to watch—you’ve got to win.” Chilton County High School players, meanwhile, run out of a tunnel onto the field. In recent years, smoke has been added at the tunnel’s exit, further dramatizing the pre-game ritual. It seems to have had the desired effect. The Tigers first ran out through the smoke on Senior Night in 2011, a 7-6 win over Central-Tuscaloosa. Then, with the smoke billowing before each contest, CCHS won all five of its home games in 2012. The comfort of home is nice for another reason: It beats the discomfort of the road, Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said. He provided the simplest explanation for why high school football players would rather play games at their home stadium. “Nobody likes to ride on the bus for an hour when it’s 120 degrees,” Hubbert said.

PARK mImS FIeld Billingsley High School •Built in late 1940s, named for school benefactor who provided much of the original material used during construction. •Team winning percentage: 52.5 percent •Home winning percentage: 59.6 percent •Home field advantage: 7.11 percent


PAnTheR STAdIum jemison High School •Built in 1964 •Team winning percentage: 50.9 percent •Home winning percentage: 58 percent •Home field advantage: 7.13 percent

Red devIl STAdIum verbena High School •Built in late 1970s or early 1980s. •Team winning percentage: 50.8 percent •Home winning percentage: 57.4 percent •Home field advantage: 6.6 percent

SuSAn BenTley FIeld Thorsby High School •Built in late 1960s, dedicated in 1968 for Thorsby student who died tragically in a house fire. •Team winning percentage: 28.6 percent •Home winning percentage: 33 percent •Home field advantage: 4.4 percent

TIgeR STAdIum Chilton County High School •Built in 1965, name chosen by a vote of the school’s student body. •Team winning percentage: 50.7 percent •Home winning percentage: 57.4 percent •Home field advantage: 6.7 percent


2-minute drill ClASS 1A, RegIOn 3 COACh Brent Hubbert (Lanett, 1989) 116-46 in 12 seasons ASSISTAnTS Brad Abbott (defensive backs/ receivers) Eric Bailey (outside linebackers/ tight ends) Sam Dean (offensive line/defensive tackles) Tate Leonard (defensive coordinator/offensive line) Brandon Shanks (inside linebackers/offensive line) 2013 SChedule Aug. 30: Winterboro Sept. 6: Billingsley* Sept. 13: at Sunshine* Sept. 20: Akron* Sept. 27: Sweet Water Oct. 4: at Ellwood Christian* Oct. 11: Autaugaville* Oct. 18: at Holy Spirit* Oct. 25: at Keith* Oct. 31: Jemison *-region game Key gAme Winterboro. While the final score still wasn’t close, the Bulldogs were the only region opponent to make some headway against Maplesville in 2012 (in the regular season game; the teams met again in the playoffs with MHS winning easily). The Red Devils’ performance in this game, the first of the season, should let fans know early what to expect from MHS this year. 2012 ReSulTS at Winterboro (win, 55-20) at Billingsley (win, 34-0) Sunshine (win, 61-0) at Akron (win, 51-14) at Sweet Water (loss, 17-14) Ellwood Christian (win, 48-12) at Autaugaville (win, 41-6) Holy Spirit (win, 64-0) Keith (win, 55-7) at Jemison (win, 48-35) Playoffs Winterboro (win, 55-6) St. Luke’s (win, 41-21) at McIntosh (loss, 22-12)

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Maplesville

Red devilS High expectations always follow success Story by James Dubuisson | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

E

ach football season seems to bring much success for the Maplesville Red Devils, but coach Brent Hubbert said the key to winning in any given season is preparing without thinking about what came the years before. The Devils have gone 46-6 in

the past three seasons and have made it to the third round of the state playoffs in two of those three years. Hubbert said every year is different for Maplesville. “We don’t really try to compare this team to last year’s,” he said. “Your biggest enemy is complacency.” Hubbert said expectations are always high because of the

team’s past success. “Playing football at Maplesville, there is a pressure on the kids to play well,” he said. “I don’t know if it is a good pressure or bad pressure, but it is definitely a pressure. “We don’t look at it and say, ‘Man, I wish we would lose a lot of games so that there isn’t that much pressure.’” Offense Hubbert said there are two good candidates for quarterback for MHS. Colby Chambers led his junior high teams to 8-0 records in his eighth and ninth grade years. As


Quarterback Colby Chambers returns after leading the Chilton County area in passing last season.

and 6’3,” respectively. They will be key contributors to the Red Devils passing attack. All five of the starting offensive linemen from last season are returning. “We like to call them the Pit Bulls,” Hubbert said. “They are not real big, but we want them to have some fight in them.” defense The Red Devils will employ a multiple defense but be based out of a 3-4. The only returning defensive lineman from last year is senior Brett Walker, who has been starting for three years. Alex Johnson, Will Harrison and Dalton Ray will be playing key roles on the defensive line with Walker. Hubbert said that the returning defensive team leaders can be found at the inside linebacker positions. Seniors Devonte’ Morrow and Tyler Armstrong will lead the defense along with a group of linebackers that includes Divonta Bradley, Anthony Moore, Cory Hall and Trey Mixon. The defensive backs include corners Trevor Wallace and Kendarius Bradley along with Trevor Wallace and Mitchell playing at safety. Hubbert said that his goal with the defense is to have as many threeand-outs as possible. “We want to stay off the field,” he said. “Our goal is for the starting defense to stay off the field.”

a sophomore, Maplesville lost one game; and as a junior, the Devils lost two games. “He is the on-the-field coach, the on-the-field leader for this team,” Hubbert said. Cole Spencer will also spend time as quarterback this year. MHS will have their 1,000 yard rusher, Damian Mitchell, back for his senior season. “He runs 4.4 40,” special teams Hubbert said. “He is Chambers will be the really quick, really athextra-point kicker, and letic.” Wallace will do the punting Last year’s backup for the team. tailback, Anthony “Several guys are Moore, will play a Brett Walker and the pretty good at long bigger role in the team’s other seniors will snapper,” Hubbert running game this add another chapter to said. season. the program’s tradition. Mitchell will do The height of the the majority of the players at wideout kick returning for the is something that Red Devils. Nicks and Wallace Hubbert is excited about. will also return some kicks for Brothers’ Divonta Bradley MHS. and Kendarius Bradley are 6’2” KICKOFF 2013

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ROSTeR 2-Stevonta Bradley-So. 3-Jerry Nix-So. 4-Alex Johnson-Sr. 5-Troy Harrison-Jr. 6-Damian Mitchell-Sr. 7-Colby Chambers-Sr. 8-Zanterius McKenzie-So. 9-Kendarius Bradley-Jr. 10-Robert Girlie-So. 11-Cole Spencer-So. 12-Adam Harrison-So. 13-Anthony Moore-Jr. 14-Chase Girlie-Sr. 15-Trevor Wallace-So. 19-John Schoener-Fr. 20-Nathaniel Watson-8th 21-Tyler Williams-Fr. 27-Trey Mixon-So. 28-Terence Dunlap-Fr. 31-Devonte’ Morrow-Sr. 32-Corey Hall-So. 36-Dalton Ray-Jr. 40-Alex Smith-Fr. 44-Mason Crocker-So. 50-Tyler Armstrong-Jr. 51-Blaise Huey-So. 52-Jalen Hall-8th 53-Will Harrison-So. 54-Kameron Ford-Sr. 57-Evan McCullough-Jr. 58-Forrest Stewart-Sr. 61-Brandon Bartz-So. 62-Neal Ousley-Sr. 65-Brett Walker-Sr. 66-Nathan Bush-Jr. 68-Noah Smith-Fr. 71-Larry Leggett-Jr. 73-Devan Wallace-So. 75-Tyrone Davis-8th 76-Enrique Tapia-Sr. 77-Forrest Hale-Fr. 79-Tyler Hand-Fr. 82-Loftin Smith-So.

CheeRleAdeRS Skylar Keener, Kathryn Jones, Tamesha Lanier, Lacee Wallace, Alyssa McGee, Breanna Weaver, Tayauna Watson.

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INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM

dAmIAn mITChell

Seniors make solemn vow Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

D

amian Mitchell remembers what it felt like in the locker room after last season’s 22-12 loss at McIntosh in the third round of the playoffs. The Red Devils had a state championship on their mind. There were some teams they knew could stand in their way, maybe Brantley in the fourth round, but McIntosh wasn’t one of those teams. The Devils overlooked their opponent, and they were upset and sent home. “When it happened, we all had the same emotion: This can never happen again,” Mitchell said. Each year, MHS coach Brent Hubbert allows the team’s seniors to choose a slogan for the season. The words are printed on the front of the players’ shirts that they wear in practices and under their uniforms. This year, Mitchell and the other seniors chose “Never Again.” It’s one thing to say something will or won’t happen, but there’s more that goes into actually making something happen. Hubbert said Mitchell and the other seniors are talking the talk and walking the walk. Mitchell and the other seniors—Colby Chambers, Cameron Ford, Chase Girlie, Alex Johnson, Devonte Morrow, Neal Ousley, Forrest Stewart, Enrique Tapia and Brett Walker—are off to a good start. Mitchell’s primary contributions will be at running back, receiver and defensive back—anywhere he can utilize his impressive speed. Mitchell has posted a 4.47-second 40-yard dash time at a camp at Florida State University over the summer, Hubbert said. Mitchell had nine interceptions as a safety in 2012. He rushed 58 times for 670 yards (an average of 11.6 yards per carry) and four touchdowns during the last regular season. Mitchell also boasts a 3.9 GPA and has college aspirations. He credits his parents and coaches for pushing him to do his best at whatever task is in front of him. “If you can’t get it done in the classroom, you can’t get it done on the field,” he said. “Be a student first and an athlete second.”

Mitchell and his fellow seniors adopted the slogan ‘Never Again’ after their disappointing playoff loss in 2012.

Parents Ray and Mary Mitchell are undoubtedly proud of their son. Ray played football at Maplesville in the 1980s, so he’s

WE PROUDLY SUPPORT OUR

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familiar with the program’s high standards. “It’s just in our blood,” Damian Mitchell said. “It’s something you’re born with here.”


Preseason All-Area Team OFFENsE E

Parker

Quarterback: Colby Chambers, Senior, Maplesville Running back: damian mitchell, Senior, Maplesville Running back: Terrance nolen, Junior, Billingsley Receiver: Braylen Parker, Senior, Chilton Co. Receiver: Randy Satterfield, Senior, Jemison Tight end: Patrick mcKinney, Senior, Chilton Co. Offensive line: jordan davis, Senior, Isabella Offensive line: joseph hall, Senior, Jemison Offensive line: justyn jackson, Senior, Chilton Co. Offensive line: Brandon Stokes, Senior, Jemison Offensive line: enrique Tapia, Senior, Maplesville Athlete: Tyler Smith, Junior, Isabella

DEFENsE

Defensive line: jon Cleckler, Senior, Verbena Defensive line: Brett walker, Senior, Maplesville Defensive line: Kortlin Zeigler, Senior, Jemison Linebacker: Rashaud Caver, Junior, Billingsley Linebacker: james hilyer, Senior, Chilton Co. Linebacker: RaeQuane jones, Senior, Jemison Linebacker: devonte’ morrow, Senior, Maplesville Defensive back: de’Rodgus Campbell, Senior, Isabella Defensive back: jagger Cook, Senior, Thorsby Defensive back: myric good, Senior, Chilton Co. Defensive back: jared mims, Senior, Verbena Kick returner: darius davis, Senior, Thorsby

Selections based on coaches’ nominations, statistics from 2012, expected performance in 2013 and an effort to have the 24 best overall players represented on the team.

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2-minute drill ChRISTIAn FOOTBAll ASSOCIATIOn COACh Michael Pittman (Piedmont, 1988) First season ASSISTAnTS Caleb Jones Chris Lassinger Thomas Lyon 2013 SChedule Aug. 23: at Clay Co. Christian Aug. 30: at VBC-Millbrook Sept. 6: Marion Academy Sept. 13: Brooklane Baptist Sept. 20: Cullman Christian Sept. 27: at Lindsay Lane Oct. 4: Faith Christian Oct. 11: at Conecuh Springs Key gAme Cullman Christian. For a defending state champion, Chilton Christian Academy suffered some embarrassing losses last season, including setbacks of at least 25 points to Cullman, Conecuh Springs, Faith Christian, Brooklane Baptist and Marion Academy. The first of those lopsided results in 2012 came at Cullman. It’s almost as if the Patriots felt that night that they couldn’t compete at the same level they had during their title run. If 2013 is going to be more 2011 than 2012, CCA will have to at least prove to itself on Sept. 20 that it can hang in there with the new top dogs of the Christian Football Association. 2012 ReSulTS Victory Baptist (win, 80-38) Marion Academy (win) at Cullman Christian (loss, 72-45) Clay County Christian (win, 41-31) Conecuh Springs (loss, 73-18) at Faith Christian (loss, 94-45) at Brooklane Baptist (win, 52-13) at Marion Academy (loss, 47-24) Playoffs at Marion Academy (loss, 60-26)

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Chilton Christian Academy

PATRioTS First two years include highs and lows Story by James Dubuisson | Photo by Brandon Sumrall

C

hilton Christian Academy enters its third year competing in the Christian Football Association knowing how it feels to win and how it feels to not live up to expectations. CCA won the inaugural six-man state championship but was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year. Coach Michael Pittman said the team went through some growing pains last season. “We have to play with commitment for the entire season,” he said. “Last year, we were younger and we had to grow up. We are ready to make a run at the championship this year.”

Pittman said the team did not have any depth, with only 13 players on the roster. Players couldn’t afford to come out of the game for a rest—no matter whether CCA was on offense or defense. “Last year, we ran out of energy,” Pittman said. “This is true ironman football, and we don’t have sixty players.” Pittman said the team this year will have more depth despite three players leaving for graduation. “We have had three new kids enroll that are playing and three kids that are playing that enrolled in the middle of last year,” he said. “Our depth is our greatest asset. We do not drop off at any position.”

Offense Pittman said the Patriots are one of the few teams in the league that focus on passing the ball. Zack Pittman enters his second season as the starting quarterback. He led the league last year in passing yards with 1,668 and in touchdowns with 25. “We run the spread,” Michael Pittman said. “We run a balanced attack. We are going to run them to death. We want to pass the ball in the first half so that they are gassed out. In the second half, we will run the ball.” Trent Ray and Nick Haube will run the ball for the Patriots this season. “Nick has been in the system for two years and he has come through the system,” Pittman said. “Trent transferred in the middle of the basketball season, so we don’t really know what he can do.” Haube is returning as the


Left: Chilton Christian Academy’s Cain Killingsworth (right) runs for yardage during a preseason jamboree. The Patriots split two games at the event. ROSTeR 2-Matt Casey-So. 3-Trent Ray-Jr. 4-Nevin Todd-Fr. 5-Landon Hall-Sr. 7-Zack Pittman-Jr. 8-Jewel Mitchell-So. 11-Noah Pittman-8th 13-Nick Haube-So. 15-Drew Hodges-Fr. 22-Zack Davis-So. 25-Evan Baird-Jr. 33-Thomas Posey-Fr. 42-Cain Killingsworth-Sr.

starting flanker. The rules in six-man football about receivers are considerably different than 11-man football. “Everybody is a receiver,” Pittman said. “The (offensive line) will catch a bunch of passes this year. We look to everybody to contribute.” Landon Hall is a senior entering his first year as a receiver in six-man football. Also, Pittman said freshman Drew Hodges will get some playing time this year while developing his receiving ability by playing in junior high games along with the varsity games. Pittman said the key to the offensive line is rotating them. Cain Killingsworth, Jewel Mitchell and Nevin Todd will all contribute with blocking and receiving. He also said Mitchell has “awesome hands catching the football.”

Nevin Todd, Evan Baird, Matt Casey and Zack Davis along with Thomas Posey will also see action on the line. defense Todd, Baird, Posey and Davis will also be important on the defensive line, Pittman said. The linebacking corps will consist of Hall, Mitchell, Zack Pittman, Casey and Killingsworth. Haube and Ray will be depended upon to lead the defensive backfield. Michael Pittman said the defense will try to pursue the ball better than last year and that depth will help them in that.

team’s punter. “You don’t punt the ball too much (in six-man football),” he said.

Haube will be the long snapper if a kick or punt is needed. Ray and Haube will return kicks for the Patriots.

Chilton County in pictures...

special teams The Patriots attempt twopoint conversions instead of extra points, and Pittman said he has yet to decide on the

H undreds

of pictures to

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2-minute drill ClASS 1A, RegIOn 4 COACh Mike Harris (Verbena, 1974) 41-101 in 14 seasons ASSISTAnTS Mark Cleckler Scott Doss 2013 SChedule Aug. 30: Thorsby Sept. 6: at Wadley* Sept. 13: Notasulga* Sept. 20: Loachapoka* Sept. 27: at Isabella Oct. 4: at Fayetteville* Oct. 11: Talladega Co. Central* Oct. 18: at St. Jude* Oct. 25: Winterboro* Oct. 31: at Billingsley *-region game Key gAme at Fayetteville. Last year’s win over the Wolves was the only game Verbena was able to pull out—and it was a close one, with a 2-0 final score. If the Red Devils are going to make any progress in 2013, they can’t afford a step backward, which is exactly what a loss against Fayetteville this season would represent. 2012 ReSulTS at Thorsby (loss, 32-12) Wadley (loss, 34-6) at Notasulga (loss, 52-0) at Loachapoka (loss, 39-6) Isabella (loss, 26-6) Fayetteville (win, 2-0) at Talladega Co. Central (loss, 48-6) St. Jude (loss, 48-6) at Winterboro (loss, 36-14) Billingsley (loss, 47-7)

verbena

Red devilS Seeking return to winning ways Story by James Dubuisson | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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he Verbena Red Devils will try to buck a trend this season and earn a state playoff berth for the first time since 2000. VHS will have to improve

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on last season, when the Devils finished 1-9, with their only victory coming in a 2-0 defeat of Fayetteville. The Red Devils struggled to score, averaging 6.6 points per game while giving up 36.6 points. Head coach Mike Harris said injuries to key players on an

already-small 16-man roster was a main reason the Red Devils failed to compete last season. VHS has struggled with depth for several seasons as small class sizes have hurt the program. “We have had small classes for the last 3-4 years,” Harris said. “We are looking at about 22-23 players for this upcoming season.” Offense Last year, Jared Mims was called on to quarterback for


Verbena quarterback Jared Mims hands the football off to Malachai Washington during one of the Red Devils’ preseason practices. The two will have important roles on the teams’ offense.

er option at wideout. Harris said the offensive line’s maturity will be important as three of the five starting linemen are seniors. Jon Cleckler and Austin Knight will be the starting tackles, while Jacob Wilson and Nick Adams will start as the guards. Stephen Wright will handle the snaps as the starting center. defense Verbena’s base defense is a 3-4 alignment, Harris said, but the Red Devils have the capability to adjust depending on what the offense is trying to do. The coach said the Devils would have four down linemen on the field about half the time VHS is on defense. Clecker, Adams and Wilson will be the starting defensive linemen. Adam Heflin, Morris Sanders, Wright, Knight and Chris Cook will all see action at the four starting linebacker slots. The defensive backs will include Jared Mims, Agee, Tristan Short and Cole Mims. Defensive performance is the most important aspect of success on the football field, Harris said. “Your defense will win games for you,” he said. “Defense will be big for us.”

the Red Devils after their starter got hurt. “There was a learning curve last year,” Harris said. “This year has been a complete 180 in his confidence, understanding, what it takes to be leader and in his play calling.” The Red Devils will be running an option attack this year. “We have four guys (who can carry the ball),” Harris special teams said. “We Mims will kick are going to off for VHS as have to plaAgee will toon.” handle The wide the kick receivers are and punt Christian Agee, a receiver, could be young, the returns. one of the beneficiaries of a more coach said. When it prepared and confident Jared Mims “Christian comes to kicker at quarterback for Verbena. Agee will be and punter, one of the Harris said go-to guys (at during fall receiver), he said and added camp that he is not sure who that Dakota Vessicchio is anothwill play in either position.

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ROSTeR 1-Dorrian Parker-So. 2-Cole Mims-Fr. 5-Dakota Vessicchio-So. 6-Malachal Washington-8th 7-Christian Agee 9-Chris Cook-So. 10-Adam Heflin-Jr. 11-Johnathan Bryant-8th 12-Tristan Short-Fr. 15-Jared Mims-Sr. 17-Christopher Smith-Jr. 20-JamalUnderwood-8th 28-Hunter Reeves-Fr. 33-Anthony Miller-Fr. 44-Morris Sanders-Jr. 50-Dillon Walker-So. 55-Jon Cleckler-Sr. 56-Austin Knight-Jr. 57-J.J. Adams-Fr. 59-Stephen Wright-Jr. 62-Jacob Wilson-Sr. 65-Nick Adams-Sr.

70-Tanner Mims

72-Bryan Rasberry-So.

75-Jacob Cleckler

77-Russell Boulware

CheeRleAdeRS Celeste Montgomery, Katie Allen (captain), Kerrigan Glenn, Sarah Sandford, Alexze DeJarnett (cocaptain), MaKayla Mims, Chelsea Ray, Makaylie Kelley, Sabrasha Osborne. Red devIl RegImenT BAnd Cheyanne Smith, Amber Tucker, Jamie Scurlock, Katelyn East, Brenda Parrales, Rosalie Ortigoza, Morris Sanders, Nickie Macks, Brandon Hargrove, Keo Stiger, Jarred Penton, E.J. Irvin, Cole Davenport, Blake Nelson, Ethan Lezama, Mikayla Francis, Bailey Arant, Cade Williams, Jacob Penton, Cassie Manley, Thomas Waller, Joseph Minor, Candice Williams, Madelynn Nieto, Caitlyn Smith, Angel Meherd, Tori Irvin, Brittney Davenport, Amber Baldwin, Hailey Davenport, Melissa Baldwin.

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INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM

jOnAThAn CleCKleR

Pushed around no longer

J

Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

on Cleckler remembers his first experience with Verbena’s varsity football team. Before there were any dramatic wins or even congratulations from coaches on a job well done, there was Cleckler, a wide-eyed seventh grader, staring at the older and larger players he would be pitted against in an offseason hitting drill. Understandably, Cleckler’s first emotion was nervousness. “It kind of got to me a little bit,” Cleckler said. The big guys didn’t take it easy on Cleckler, but once he saw that he could indeed compete with anyone on a football field, Cleckler’s career blossomed. “I said, ‘I can do this,’” Cleckler said. Now that he’s a senior, with years of weightlifting and game experience under his belt, Cleckler empathizes with the younger players. Instead of just trying to put them into their place in practice, Cleckler tries to help them improve by passing on the knowledge he’s picked up over the years. One of those young proteges is Cleckler’s brother, Jacob. A sophomore, Jacob will spend time with big brother on the VHS defensive line. Jon has become a stalwart on Verbena’s offensive and defensive fronts, as a right tackle and nose guard, respectively. He’s grown three inches since he started his varsity career and now weighs in at about 240 pounds. The player and his coach, Mike Harris, agree that Cleckler wasn’t very athletic when he started. He now plays with better footwork and more quickness. Cleckler’s mental and physical strength have also improved, which in part can be attributed to working for his uncle’s company during summers, installing billiards tables and above-ground pools. “It’s tough some days, when we do three or four pools and then go to football practice,” he said. “He seldom misses a summer workout,” Harris said. “He’s just a

Cleckler has grown since being a seventh grader taking on older and stronger teammates in tackling drills—to 6’3” and 240 pounds.

good kid. He’s a leader in a quiet way. Other players look up to him because of his work ethic.” Teammates no doubt look up to Cleckler, literally and figuratively. “Nothing ever really bothered him,”

Harris said. “Even when he was a seventh and eighth grader, getting rolled over by bigger guys, it just never bothered him. He’s always been mentally mature.” Now, though, Cleckler is the one rolling over opponents.

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2-minute drill ClASS 2A, RegIOn 5 COACh Scott Booth (Central-Tuscaloosa, 1984), 51-77 in 11 seasons ASSISTAnTS Jared Day Tim Jolley Mike Jones Rex Littleton Andy Mims Matt Moody Mike Ratliff 2013 SChedule Aug. 30: Central Coosa Sept. 6: Randolph Co.* Sept. 13: at Prattville Christian* Sept. 20: at Horseshoe Bend* Sept. 27: Verbena Oct. 4: Lanett* Oct. 11: at LaFayette* Oct. 18: at Reeltown* Oct. 25: Montgomery Academy* Oct. 31: at Thorsby *-region game Key gAme at Lanett. Isabella was headed toward a third consecutive winning season, with a 3-2 record, before hosting Lanett in 2012. Things went south after the 34-0 loss as the Mustangs dropped four in a row and missed the playoffs. IHS this season will try to avoid another late-season slide. 2012 ReSulTS at Central Coosa (win, 43-29) at Randolph Co. (loss, 48-12) Prattville Christian (win, 14-12) Horseshoe Bend (loss, 61-33) at Verbena (win, 26-6) at Lanett (loss, 34-0) LaFayette (loss, 48-13) Reeltown (loss, 41-0) at Montgomery Academy (loss, 28-18) Thorsby (win, 40-0)

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isabella

MuSTAngS Young players have to mature in a hurry Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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wo Thousand Twelve was a tough year for the Isabella football program in a number

of ways. After a pair of 6-5 seasons in coach Scott Booth’s return to the program, the Mustangs regressed last year to a 4-6 record. IHS couldn’t find a way

to win two consecutive games at any point of the year and missed the playoffs. But Isabella closed the year with a 40-0 win over rival Thorsby, snapping a four-game losing streak, and the team will look to build on that momentum in 2013. If that is to happen, a team short on depth will need to avoid injuries, Booth said.

“I feel good about the first group, but our depth is a problem,” he said. “We have got some young guys in backup roles. They’ve got some growing up to do. We think they’re pretty good athletes, we just have to see them in action.” Offense Any discussion about Isabella’s offense must begin with junior quarterback Tyler Smith. In two seasons as a starter already, Smith has put up numbers most would consider a successful career. In 2012, Smith led Chilton County area players with 1,262


Isabella has scored plenty of points the last few seasons, but the coaches continue to look for ways to build a hard-hitting defense.

all will likely see action at offensive tackle; while Austin Parker, Chanley Ratliff and Jason Buchanan will rotate at the guard position. Todd Smith and Ratliff have practiced at center. Booth said an injury to any of the offensive linemen could force coaches to shuffle the whole line. “At the small school level, if you change one person, you may end up switching five people,” he said. defense Isabella this season will switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 3-3, getting another defensive back on the field to increase the unit’s speed. “We’ve made it simple,” Booth said. “They seem to be in good shape, knowledgeable, playing faster because they understand it better. “But we haven’t seen it on the field in live action.” Many of the offensive linemen mentioned above will also be counted on to contribute on the other side of the ball. Booth said that what the linebackers and defensive backs lack in size, they’ll make up for with speed. That’s good news for fans that saw the Mustangs last season too often beat on deep passes. “I feel good about sideline to sideline,” Booth said. “We should be better in pass coverage. We had a lot of problems last year, but I think we learned from our mistakes.”

rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Smith doesn’t have to carry the load by himself. He can hand off to fullbacks Jacob Carroll and Caleb Giles; or wingbacks De’Rodgus Campbell and Chase Giles. Booth said the fullbacks aren’t as big or experienced as he’d like, but the rest of the offense is fairly seasoned. Chandler Glasscock and Chase Pate will open holes for the runners from their special teams blocking back posiRatliff kicked last year tion. for IHS, and Booth said Pate could also play he’s sure the senior would receiver, along be back in the rotawith Christian tion this season. Jacob Carroll is one of the Littleton and Punting responmany weapons for coaches to Brandon Chapman, sibilities are less utilize in the Isabella backfield. for when Smith certain. decides to throw Campbell, the ball. Chase Giles and Jordan Davis, Andrew Terry, Carroll, among others, will be feaWill Posey and Devin Headley tured on kick and punt returns.

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ROSTeR 3-Chase Giles-Sr. 7-Brandon Chapman-Sr. 9-De’Rodgus Campbell-Sr. 11-Christian Littleton-Sr. 12-Chandler Glasscock-So. 15-Justin Smith-So. 16-Tyler Smith-Jr.

20-Jacob Carroll-Jr. 29-Austin Brasher-8th 35-Caleb Giles-So. 42-Hunter Langston-Fr. 45-Chase Pate-Jr. 50-Tyler Smitherman-Fr. 53-Chanley Ratliff-Sr. 54-Austin Parker-Jr.

55-Jordan Davis-Sr. 57-B.J. Littlefield-Sr. 59-Todd Smith-Jr. 60-Will Posey-Jr. 62-Jason Buchanan-Jr. 65-Andrew Terry-Sr. 68-Cameron Talley-So. 70-Devin Headley-Fr.

CheeRleAdeRS Savannah Higgins (co-captain), Katelyn Ramsey (captain), Michaela Nolin,

Savannah Lenoir, Victoria Fletcher, Andrea Powell, Calyn Washington, Chelsea Cox, Kaylee Cleckler.

muSTAng PRIde BAnd Mary-Devin Meredith, Charity Lockhart, Tyler Carter, Emily Booth, J.P. Gibson, John Herrod, Breanna Jones, Krista Davis, Audrey Fancher, Katlyn Jones, Ethan Owens, R. J. England, Emily Mullins.

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INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM

TyleR SmITh

Workhorse ready for more Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

T

yler Smith started his first game as quarterback of the Isabella football team as a wide-eyed freshman. Obviously talented, Smith asked to step into the most visible position on the field with little varsity experience. That’s not all. Coach Scott Booth’s Notre Dame Box offense requires the quarterback to carry the ball often while also keeping defenses honest with the threat of an aerial attack. Smith might not have been completely ready, but he thrived. He’s led the Mustangs in rushing the past two seasons, and last year even finished second in the Chilton County area in that statistical category, compiling 1,262 yards on 243 carries for a 5.2-yardsper-carry average. “He got thrown into the fire,” Booth said. “All that is finally paying off.” With Smith’s growing experience has come an expanded playbook. The quarterback knows the next step in his progression as quarterback will be an improved passing game. “I’ve got to work on that throwing,” Smith said. “I think I’ve gotten better this year.” That’s a scary thought for opposing defenses that have had enough problems keeping Smith contained as a runner. Now, they won’t be able to stack defenders close to the line of scrimmage to guard against the ground game. “It’s not necessarily how many times you throw it but how effective you are when you throw it,” Booth said about the team’s offensive philosophy that will still call for a majority running plays. Smith has also grown into a leadership role, Booth said. “He sets an example by talking and his actions,” the coach said. “He’s going to be at every practice every time. He’s going to be here early. We know we can depend on him.” But just when Smith might have started to feel like he had this quarterback thing figured out, the coaches are adding to his responsibilities. Smith has been one of the team’s best defensive backs the past couple of years, but

Smith has led Isabella in both passing and rushing as a freshman and a sophomore. He’s likely to continue to put up mind-boggling numbers as a junior, as well as take on an increased role for the team’s defense.

because he carried such a heavy workload on offense, he was on the field as a defender on only a small percentage of the snaps. Booth said that will change this season because of a lack of experienced players in

the secondary. “The numbers and the need make it mandatory for him to contribute on defense,” Booth said. “We’ve got faith in him to do the job.”

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2-minute drill Class 5a, Region 3 CoaCh Donnie Hand (Chilton County, 1986), 13-9 in two seasons assistants Jacob Brewer (defensive line) Ryan Ellison (running backs/linebackers) Joe Jennings (receivers) Phil Kamerer Matt Maddox (offensive line/defensive ends) Deon Timmons (running backs, defensive backs) Clarke Watley (offensive line/defensive line) Cain Young (linebackers, tight ends) 2013 sChedule Aug. 29: at Jemison Sept. 6: Homewood* Sept. 13: at Shelby Co.* Sept. 20: Talladega* Sept. 27: Marbury Oct. 4: at Sylacauga* Oct. 11: at Briarwood* Oct. 18: John Carroll* Oct. 25: at Ramsay* Nov. 1: Calera *-region game Key game Homewood. Homewood was the only team to defeat Chilton County in the regular season last year. The Tigers’ first region game will reveal whether CCHS is headed for another successful season. 2012 Results Jemison (win, 27-14) at Homewood (loss, 17-14) Shelby Co. (win, 39-0) at Talladega (win, 30-0) at Marbury (win, 28-0) Sylacauga (win, 28-7) Briarwood (win, 27-21) at John Carroll (win, 7-3) Ramsay (win, 42-6) at Calera (win, 29-23) Playoffs Saraland (win, 33-27, three overtimes) at Benjamin Russell (loss, 24-7)

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Chilton County

Tigers Using same formula, same results expected Story by James Dubuisson | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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hilton County High School last season enjoyed one of its best football seasons in recent memory. The Tigers won 10 games. The offense scored 27 or more points in nine games while the defense had three shutouts along with

three other games where the opponent scored one touchdown or less. CCHS hosted Saraland in the first round of the playoffs and pulled out a 33-27 victory in three overtimes. Chilton traveled to Benjamin Russell in the second round and fell 24-7. “Of course I was a little disappointed after losing to Ben

Russell, but we all knew that they were a very good team and had some great players,” said coach Donnie Hand, who is entering his third season. “Even after the loss I was proud of our team for the great season.” In his first season at the helm, the Tigers went 3-7. Hand credits the turnaround last season to the same things that will help this year’s team. “Three big things helped us last year: defense, running the football and our senior leadership,” he said. “For us to be successful I think we have to have those three again.”


Chilton County will try to dominate games at the line of scrimmage like a year ago.

of receivers. Braylen Parker and Davre Williams will catch many of the passes for CCHS this season. “Our wide receivers should be able to make big plays for us this year,” Hand said. Patrick McKinney and Javonne Morrison will also be threats as tight ends. But Hand said the unit most important to the offense’s success will be the offensive line, and only two starters—Dakota Driver and Justyn Jackson—return as starters from last year. Cameron Hardee will be the center while Michael Cleckler and Eric Sartain will fill the other spots on the offensive line. defense “We do have some key players on defense that we have to replace, but I think we have the kids to step in so we can have the same defense that we had last year,” Hand said. The defensive line will be anchored by one of the Tigers’ four returning starters, as Patrick McKinney will line up as one of the defensive ends. Eric Moates (noseguard), Beau Offense Waid (defensive end), and Hunter “I know we have to replace Edwards (defensive tackle) will fill some really good offensive playout the rest of the defensive line, ers from last year, but I think this and Hand will look for year’s offense will have more the defensive linemen to big play potential,” Hand said. make a difference this One of those starters who season. will have to be replaced “We have to is featured running back have some defenMichael Seaton. Taylor sive linemen step Speaks and Austin Dennis up and help,” he will lead a group of running said. backs hoping to fill in for James Hilyer will Seaton. return in the lineback“We have four or ing corps and be joined five who will be by Bishop, Dylan able to carry the Moseley ball (for and us),” Speaks. Hand “The said. linebacker Deep threat Braylen Parker will keep opposing Anthony crew has defenses from loading up against the run. Chavez big shoes and Trenton to fill,” Bishop will Hand said. be leaned on as the new quarThe defensive backfield should terbacks for the Tigers and will be the strong point of the Tigers throw the ball to a talented group defense as Keandre Binion and

Central

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Myric Good return as the starting cornerbacks. “Our defensive backfield should be a strong position for us.� Austin Chandler and Tyler Henderson will be the starting safeties as Keishun White will be looked at to start in the third cornerback slot.

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special teams Chavez will kick off for the Tigers, and the punter will be Bishop. Extra points and field goals will be kicked by Stephen Horn. White, Good and Jakevius Boswell will return kicks and punts for Chilton County this year.


Fullback Austin Dennis runs for yardage during a summer practice. Dennis will also help the CCHS offense by blocking for other backs. Opposite page: Patrick McKinney hauls in a pass.

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Chilton County High School skill position players build speed during an offseason practice by running sprints.

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chilton county high school football A look back at the last 35 years Year–Coach Classification–Record–Points for–Points against–Playoff record–Playoff points for–Playoff points against

BURNETT’S TAX SERVICE 153 Co. Rd. 61, Clanton

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2012 5A

Donnie HanD 10-2 311

142

2011 5A

Donnie HanD 3-7 173

206

2010 5A

Brian Carter 5-5 218

214

2009 5A

Brian Carter 5-6 224

2008 5A

Brian Carter 3-8 254

1-1

40

51

252

0-1

14

39

353

0-1

31

41

2007 5A

Steve MCCorD 7-4 313 251

0-1

7

33

2006 5A

Steve MCCorD 8-3 354 218

0-1

0

41

2005 5A

Steve MCCorD 5-5 204 254

2004 5A

Steve MCCorD 2-8 198 263

2003 5A

Steve MCCorD 4-6 181 243

2002 5A

Mike HarriS 1-9 156

265

2001 5A

Mike HarriS 2-8 113

306

2000 5A

Mike HarriS 5-6 236

277

0-1

13

42

1999 5A

Mike HarriS 3-7 185

277

1998 5A

Dale overton 1-9 138

261

1997 5A

Jay DaviS 6-5 236

236

0-1

0

25

1996 5A

Joe nettleS 11-1 365

159

1-1

40

33


1995 5A

Joe nettleS 5-5 170

148

1994 5A

Joe nettleS 8-2 191

132

1993 5A

Joe nettleS 6-5 209

180

0-1

28

41

1992 5A

troy MiMS 7-4 239

186

0-1

19

61

1991 5A

troy MiMS 6-4 225

152

1990 5A

troy MiMS 3-7 231

334

1989 5A

troy MiMS 2-9 162

339

0-1

15

38

1988 5A

troy MiMS 4-7 177

317

0-1

22

35

1987 5A

DonalD HanD 9-4 271

140

2-1

42

37

1986 5A

DonalD HanD 7-5 224

177

1-1

47

53

1985 5A

DonalD HanD 8-3 214

149

0-1

0

24

1984 5A

DonalD HanD 7-4 224

143

0-1

13

22

1983 3A

DonalD HanD 7-4 196

151

1982 3A

DonalD HanD 4-6 135

157

1981 3A

DonalD HanD 8-2 245

132

1980 3A

DonalD HanD 5-5 175

133

1979 3A

DonalD HanD 4-6 102

157

1978 3A

DonalD HanD 9-2 198

125

0-1

0

30

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RosteR 1-Davre Williams-Sr. 2-Jakevius Boswell-Jr. 3-Jordan Bolding-Jr. 4-Keishun White-Jr. 5-Braden McRae-Sr. 6-Austin Dennis-Sr. 7-Austin Chandler-Jr. 9-James Hilyer-Sr. 10-Trenton Bishop-Jr. 11-Dylan Moseley-Sr. 12-Anthony Chavez-Jr. 16-Tyler Fox-So. 17-Tyler Henderson-Jr. 18-Braylen Parker-Sr. 20-Myric Good-Sr. 21-Kris Rogers-So. 23-Darrell Hilliard-So. 24-Keandre Binion-Jr. 25-Dustin Latham-So.

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26-Taylor Speaks-Sr. 27-Broderick Wright-So. 28-Blake Littleton-Jr. 30-Bryant Baker-So. 31-Gus Rogers-Jr. 32-Mark Mims-So. 34-Austin Johnson-Jr. 40-Dax Vines-So. 41-Chris Calhoun-Sr. 42-Marcel Jones-Sr. 43-Colten Scott-Jr. 44-Patrick McKinney-Sr. 45-Dalton Green-Jr. 50-Blake Shirah-So. 52-Dakota Driver-Sr. 54-Cameron Hardee-Sr. 55-Stephon Price-Sr. 56-Kevin Kemp-Jr. 59-Skyler BlankenshipSo.

60-Justyn Jackson-Sr. 64-Austyn Ray-So. 66-Hunter Edwards-Sr. 69-Michael Cleckler-Sr. 70-Eric Moates-Sr. 71-Eric Sartain-Sr. 72-Bryan Easterling-So. 73-Jacob Smith-So. 74-Willie Harris-So. 75-Jonathan Green-So. 76-Dylan Teel-So. 80-Lance McGhar-So. 81-Canion Griffin-So. 82-Javonne Morrison-Sr. 83-Forest Grubbs-Sr. 85-Marquese Kine-Sr. 87-Beau Waid-Sr. 88-Jordan Coates-So. 89-Nick Tinsley-Jr. 90-Stephen Horn-Sr.


Chilton County in pictures...

ch Pea

Hap

py

CheeRleadeRs Tori Lucas, Mary Elizabeth Mckinney, Elizabeth Ray, Lexi Gray, Hannah Hollon, Santana Dejarnett, Olivia Ricks, Julianne Lyn, Hope Short, Kendal Elijah, Courtney Johnson, Kaitlin Ray, Madison Sanders, Natalie Peoples.

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pRide of Chilton County band John Bishop, Kyle Carter, Justin Dennis, Molly Desmond, Dylan Empson, Colton Estep, Patricia Finney, Antonio Garcia, Julie Gassaway, Sam Hayes, Matthew Headley, Magadelena Henriquez, Caleb Hoyt, Chelsea Johnson, Wesley Johnson, Kyle Jones, John Kelley, Faith Madrid, Haylee McMinn, Kailey Murphey, Faith Nail, Clinton Perrett, Robert Richards, Dajon Rogers (drum major), Julianne Rutherford, Austin Ryhal, Katherine Shaw, Savanna Smith, Chris Smith, Briar Teel (featured soloist), Abbey Thornton, Hailey Towers, Kasie Waites, Blake West, Will Whitlock,

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Scarlett Wilson, Abby Cleckerler, Seth Gibbons, Sean Lowery, Nicholas Lyn, Brayden Moates, Philip Smith, Jeremy Stamps, Brady Thornton, Kevin Williams, James Wutke, Morgan Wutke, Katelyn Adams, Kelcie Knowles, Sami Gibson, Courtney Green, Georgia Peters, Hannah Tierce, Brooke Wilkerson, Jenah Connell, Makayla Kersh, Breighanna Alford, Hailey Argo, Tomaya Gates, Gloria Tippett, Alyssa Riley, Hannah Moore, Erika Parker, Savannah Parrish, Katlen Willis, Ashely Wilkerson, Destiny Jones, Taylor Easterling, Catherine Rowe (feature twirler), Leah Easterling, Avery Wyatt, Anna Calhoun, Jessica Martin and Laken Popwell.


iNSiDE THE LOCKER ROOM

austin dennis

One last chance to shine Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

A

ll high school football players enjoy game nights: the freshly cut grass, the new uniforms, the sound of the marching band, the cheer of the crowd, scoring a touchdown under the bright lights. Not everyone enjoys preparing for game nights. Grueling summer workouts and the heat of fall camp take their toll on even those who love the game best. If there was one player on the Chilton County High School roster who had fun getting ready for the season, it was Austin Dennis. Dennis is a senior who hasn’t played in a game since his sophomore year because of devastating injuries. Feeling healthy as ever, Dennis is anxious to finally help his team win. “I’m glad to just be out here,” he said. CCHS coach Donnie Hand said Dennis would have been the Tigers’ top fullback the past two seasons before injuries derailed his career. His sophomore year, Dennis broke his collarbone in the first game of the season against rival Jemison and didn’t return to the team. Last year, Dennis tore a ligament in his knee in practice leading up to the Jemison game. The injury didn’t seem so serious at first. Dennis went to the doctor thinking he’d only miss a couple of weeks. The diagnosis came while Dennis was on the practice field one day watching his teammates. Dennis’ father called Hand, wanting the coach to immediately pass along the bad news to the player. “I said, ‘I can’t tell him,’” said Hand, who first got to know Dennis when their two families were neighbors. Hand did eventually pass along the news that Dennis would miss his entire junior season. “It’s one of the worst things I’ve had to tell somebody,” he said. “I was crying like a baby. He took it better than I took it.” Dennis’ teammates tried to help him through the ordeal. In last year’s game against Briarwood, starting tailback Michael

Thanks to two serious injuries, Dennis hasn’t set foot on the field in a game since the first contest of his sophomore season.

Seaton asked Hand if he could wear Dennis’ No. 6 jersey. Hand said it was remarkable for a senior to want to show support for a junior. “The kids know how hard he works,” the coach said. Now, Dennis is eager to return the favor

and help the team. He’s still the best fullback on the squad, using his bull-like frame to block for other backs and to run effectively himself. “I feel great this year,” Dennis said. “My knee feels as strong as ever. Once I get out there and start playing, I forget about it.”

205 6th St. North, P.O. Box 2158, Clanton AL 35046

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2-minute drill Class 4a, Region 4 CoaCh Tyson McLean (Billingsley, 1990) assistants Earl Griffin JT Lawrence (receivers) John Mabry (offensive line/ defensive line) Josh Robinson (quarterbacks/ running backs) 2013 sChedule Aug. 30: Prattville Christian Sept. 6: at Maplesville* Sept. 13: at Autaugaville* Sept. 20: Sunshine* Sept. 27: Holt Oct. 4: Keith* Oct. 10: Ellwood Christian* Oct. 18: at Akron* Oct. 25: Holy Spirit* Oct. 31: Verbena *-region game Key game at Maplesville. Billingsley coach Tyson McLean has stated a goal for his team’s 2013 season: Be able to compete with the better teams on the schedule. That task will start in Week 1 against Prattville Christian, but the game that will really mean a lot to BHS players, coaches and fans will be the rivalry game against Maplesville. The Bears weren’t competitive last season; they’ll try for a different result this year. 2012 Results at Prattville Christian (loss, 42-14) Maplesville (loss, 34-0) Autaugaville (win, 26-0) at Sunshine (win, 38-14) at Holt (win, 34-28) at Keith (loss, 33-6) at Ellwood Christian (win, 6-0) Akron (win, 18-13) at Holy Spirit (win, 40-16) at Verbena (win, 47-7) Playoffs at Loachapoka (win, 27-26) Brantley (loss, 48-0)

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Rashad Caver, a junior, will combine with Terrance Nolen to give Billingsley a powerful 1-2 punch at the running back position.

Billingsley

Bears Building on positive momentum Story by James Dubuisson | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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ast season, the Billingsley Bears lost badly in their first two games of the season, but went 7-1 to close out the regular season. The Bears defeated Loachapoka in the first round of the playoffs before falling 48-0 in the second round against Brantley. Head coach Tyson McLean said that as the team became more successful, the team’s chemistry grew. “We became closer as a team, and yeah, I guess you could say that the atmosphere was dif-

ferent in the school,” he said. “There was a little more school spirit.” McLean said that the feeling in the second round loss was “tough.” “Of course, all but one team will know what that feels like to lose that last game,” he said. “It is tough standing there knowing that this is the last time you will ever coach these guys.” Nine of the players from last year’s team graduated, but McLean said that a key nucleus is back for this year. “This team this year has not won a game yet.” The team’s goals are simple: “We want to close the gap on

Jaytarius Steele will make plays as a receiver on offense and a defensive back on defense.

the Maplesvilles of last year,” McLean said about the opponents that the Bears were unable to compete with a year ago. Offense Junior Thomas Nichols will return as quarterback for the Bears this season. McLean said Nichols is athletic and has some


RosteR 2-Dalton Davis-Jr. 3-isaac Green-So. 4-Thomas Nichols-Jr. 6-Marquis Kent-Jr. 7-Christoph Livingston-Jr. 8-Jaytarius Steele-Jr. 12-Jamie Barnett-So. 14-Keyjuan Goodson-Sr. 15-Mason Friday-So. 22-Rashaud Caver-Jr. 24-Denzel Callens-Sr. 30-Abram Dudley-Sr. 33-Terrance Nolen-Jr. 42-Telvin Tyus-Sr.

45-Tommy Williams-So. 50-Michael Barrett-So. 51-Jacob Caver-So. 52-Codie McGalliard-Jr. 53-Austin Green-Fr. 54-Darius Reese-So. 55-Jordan Brown-Jr. 57-Hunter Sanders-Sr. 59-Webb Dobbins-Fr. 60-Jeffery Lee-Fr. 61-Keeshun Steele-Fr. 62-Jeffrey Carroll-Sr. 66-Brian Dandridge-Jr. 68-Johny Gilliland-Jr. 74-Joseph Nixon-Jr.

CheeRleadeRs Ashton Mabry, Kenzie Glass, Jade Glass,

Kaitlyn Reed, Kristi Gorenflo, Makaela Tindol, Jessica Atchison.

ability throwing the ball. The Bears will be running out of the Wing T and I formations, which means they will be focusing on the rushing attack. “We are a running team; we use what we got,” McLean said. The Bears’ running game will depend on Terrance Nolen, who McLean said is back to 100 percent after suffering an injury last year, and junior Rashaud Caver. “Most everybody is back from last year,” McLean said. Junior Jaytarius Steele and senior Denzel Callens will be the key receivers for the Bears

for this upcoming season. “We are a little bit thin on the offensive line,” McLean said. “Our center is back, Jeffrey Caroll. The rest of the spots are up in the air. “We do have a good group.” McLean said Brian Dandridge, Codie McGalliard, Jordan Brown, Joseph Nixon and Austin Green will be the players looked at to fill the voids left in the offensive line. defense Billingsley will employ the 3-4 base defense along with multiple other defensive sets.

“The defensive line is basically the same group as the offensive line,” he said. “We have to develop some depth there.” Abram Dudley, Nolen and Caver will be leaned on as the primary linebackers for the Bears. The defensive backs will include Chrisoph Livingston, Keyjuan Goodson and Steele.

teams unit. Sanders is the long snapper for the Bears, and McLean said that he has performed well. “He has been here for the two years I have been here, and from what I remember, he hasn’t had one bad snap,” McLean said.

special teams Nolen will be the placekicker for the Bears, and the punter will be Caver. McLean said Hunter Sanders will be crucial for the special

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2-minute drill Class 4a, Region 4 CoaCh Jake Hogan (Leeds, 1998) First season assistants Van Clements (defensive backs/ special teams) Robert George (defensive coordinator) Lake Gilliland (defensive line) Daryl Lowery (offensive line/ defensive line) Anthony Vachris (offensive tackles/ tight ends) 2013 sChedule Aug. 29: Chilton Co. Sept. 6: Oak Grove* Sept. 13: at Carbon Hill* Sept. 20: Bibb Co.* Sept. 27: Holtville Oct. 4: West Blocton* Oct. 11: Corner* Oct. 18: at Dora* Oct. 25: at Calera* Oct. 31: at Maplesville *-region game Key game Corner. Jemison was unbeaten in region play in 2012 before a 24-21 loss at Corner. Then, the Panthers dropped their remaining three games to close out the regular season, limped into the playoffs and were promptly ousted by Central Clay County. JHS will try to finish strong this season, and that task will begin on Oct. 11. 2012 Results at Chilton Co. (loss, 27-14) at Oak Grove (win, 40-13) Carbon Hill (win, 69-8) Bibb Co. (win, 18-7) at Holtville (win, 56-6) at West Blocton (win, 34-13) at Corner (loss, 24-21) Dora (loss, 39-8) Calera (loss, 35-14) Maplesville (loss, 48-35) Playoffs at Central Clay Co. (loss, 48-18)

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Jemison

panThers New coach hopes to help team finish strong Story by James Dubuisson | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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he Jemison Panthers have started the last two seasons with 5-1 records. But after the strong starts, the Panthers have only managed to go 1-8 combined, missing the playoffs in 2011 and being eliminated in the first round last year. First-year head coach Jacob

Hogan was on the sideline as the offensive coordinator for the Panthers last year. “I don’t think morale took a big hit last year; the kids kept fighting,” Hogan said and added that part of the lack of lateseason success is that the schedules were back-end heavy. “We address (the lack of late season success) almost daily. We have to stay committed to staying in

the weight room and try to stay healthy.” Hogan said the team’s goal is to improve every week. “You are either getting better or you are getting worse,” Hogan said. “We are going to commit to playing as many kids as we can. We want to develop that next group of kids.” Offense Kevin Nunn and Phillip Lenoir will take the snaps for the team at quarterback. “I have been pleasantly surprised,” Hogan said. “I am impressed with their unselfishness. They are similar in different


Brandon Stokes will help anchor Jemison’s offensive line from his center position.

quicker back. Randy Satterfield returns for his senior year and will be the Panthers’ biggest weapon on offense. “Satterfield can make the QB look better and makes the guys around him better,� Hogan said. “People will be keying on Randy.� Jemison’s offensive line depth will be thin, Hogan said, but having veterans Brandon Stokes and Joseph Hall around will help. “They help the players around them better,� Hogan said.

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defense The Panthers will run out of a 4-4 base defense. Hogan said he wants the defense to be “sound against the run and athletic in the back.� The Panthers’ defensive line will be faced with the same challenges as the offensive line. “We are going to have to develop some talent on the defensive line,� Hogan said but added that the line will be helped by a strong linebacking corps, led by senior RaeQuane Jones. “We are pretty strong at linebacker.� Satterfield and Underwood will be the starting cornerbacks, while Jonathan McCary will be the sole safety in the base defense. Hogan said that though the defense will struggle at times against teams that run the spread, he feels that the secondary is athletic enough to handle most offenses. “Our strength on defense is in the secondary,� Hogan head.

ways—great students, even keel and level-headed.� Hogan said that he will go with the hot hand and that the starter for each week will not be announced until Thursday. Last season, the Panthers had to find a suitable replacement for star running back Javae Swindle, who graduated and headed special teams to Livingston to play for B.J. Kornegay will the University of West be the punter for the Alabama. Jemison faces Panthers, but the the same challenge this “jury is still out� on season as they have to who will handle find a replacement for placekicking duties, RaeQuane Jones returns Kevin King. Hogan said. after finishing first on the Hogan said the The Panthers’ team and second in the team will depend on long snapper will be area with 12.6 tackles seniors Keyshawn Joseph Hall. per game in 2012. Jemison and John Randy Satterfield Underwood to fill will take on the role the shoes of King. of kick returner, He said Jimmy Archie will be an where additional touches for the important addition to the Panthers team’s star will mean even more as he will be relied on as a smaller, nervous moments for opponents.

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RosteR 1-Randy Satterfield-Sr. 2-John Underwood-Sr. 3-Bailey Sammons-Fr. 4-Kevin Nunn-So. 5-Tanner Glass-So. 6-Phillip Lenoir-So. 7-Trea Sanders-So. 8-P.J. Blue-So. 9-Kortlin Zeigler-Sr.

10-B.J. Kornegay-Sr. 11-Keyshawn Jemison-Sr. 13-Chase Deason-Fr. 14-Jordan Marsh-Jr. 16-Dustin Burnett-Fr. 18-Roberto Abarca-So. 19-Hunter Broadhead-So. 20-Austen Killingsworth-So. 21-Alex Smith-Jr. 23-Jacob Dunn-Fr.

24-Jimmy Archie-Jr. 25-Shawn Poe-Jr. 26-Jonathan McCary-So. 27-Will Lenoir-So. 31-Taylon Simpson-Jr. 32-RaeQuane Jones-Sr. 34-Tyler Martin-Sr. 39-Cole Headley-Fr. 40-Connor Lane-Sr. 48-Zach Noble-Jr.

52-Reuben Proctor-Jr. 53-D’Andre Kirkland-Jr. 54-Devon Swindle-Fr. 57-Christian Carson-Fr. 59-Courtland Nunn-Sr. 60-Mason Sanders-Fr. 65-Wesley Branch-So. 66-Matthew Shafer-Jr. 67-Marcus Tumpkin-Fr. 69-Christian Flores-Fr.

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71-Sidney Griffin-Jr. 72-Joseph Hall-Sr. 73-Brandon Stokes-Sr. 74-Alex Aldrich-Jr. 75-Ben Merrell-Fr. 76-Clay Cunningham-So. 77-Dakota Harris-Sr. 82-Blayze Franklin-Fr. 85-Dylan Shaner-Jr.


blue Regiment band Sarai Alvarado, Michaela Bailey, Ansley Bittle, Noah Bittle, Ashland

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Blankenship, Fletcher Brantley, Charles Brigner, Jessica Broussard, Taylor Brown, Zach Brown, Darren Buendtner, Grace Burke, Zack Burnett, Audrey Calvin, Yolandra Camarillo, Shelby Caputo, Sara Carden, Taylor Champagne, Anna Clark, Alyssa Cleckler, Sawyer Cobb, Johnathan Cotton, Jenny Creel, Alexandra Curtis, Jayni Dabel, Asia Davison, Jose DelValle, Evan Dismukes, Dakoda Dobbs, Jessica Early, Hailey Elliott, Kayla Endress, Elijah English,

Kasey Garrett, Kelly Garrett, Scout Glasscock, Rosa Gomez, Charles Gothard, Andy Hancock, Elijah Henry, Matthew Hollimon, Tyler Huff, Bobby Johnson, Faith Johnson, Roger Johnson, Chase Johnston, Savannah Kliman, Aaron Kotke, Claire Lagrone, Lexie Lawley, Krista Lemley, Justin Macks, Jordan Mahaffey, David Malpica, Candy Martinez, Preston Matthews, Garrett McWhorter, Jade McWhorter, Ruby Medrano, Gavin Miller, Quinton

Mims, Jonah Moore, Noah Moore, Sara Morris, Taylor Noah, Jessica Parker, Devlin Patton, Kody Phillippe, Samantha Pinon, Brianna Powell, Brittany Powell, Karlee Pritchard, Brian Reid, Kevin Rico, Max Riffe, Christopher Robertson, Dylan Sadler, Briana Sansom, Johnny Seagle, Jasper Sims, Faith Singletary, Leslie Smith, Madison Smith, Tiffani Smith, Daphne Stagner, Erica Street, Carlea Swindle, Carlee Tyler, Zach Vowell, Anna Wilson.

CheeRleadeRs Alyssa Sanders, Brookelyn Woodall, Morgan Smith (co-captain), Tayler Mazingo (captain), Shelbie Robinson (co-captain), Mary Stokes, Mabrey

Millard, Cheyenne Forester, Katelyn Lambert, Macey Thompson, Kelsea Smith, Kendal Lambert, Abbi Knight, Kaylie Jones, Savannah Swindle, Meghan Jackson.


iNSiDE THE LOCKER ROOM

Randy satteRfield

Working to be even better Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

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here are plenty of things Randy Satterfield does well on a football field. A 6-foot-3-inch senior receiver for Jemison, Satterfield possesses an uncommon blend of size and speed. His quickness makes it difficult for defenders to cover him, and even if they do, Satterfield can often make the catch anyway because of his height and wingspan. As if that weren’t enough, Satterfield terrorizes opponents by returning kicks and punts. But what sets Satterfield apart is his willingness to work on what he’s not as good at. Satterfield’s “weaknesses,” of course, are relative. Still, with the help of first-year coach Jake Hogan, the player has identified areas where he could improve, and he’s determined to do so. “There’s always something that needs to be worked on,” Satterfield said. Particularly, blocking and route running have been areas targeted for development. Satterfield’s attitude about becoming a complete player could offer him the opportunity to earn a scholarship to a Division I program, a goal he has focused on. The Panthers will be the immediate beneficiaries of that focus. Sophomore quarterbacks Phillip Lenoir and Kevin Nunn, neither of whom have starting experience, will no doubt be grateful for a receiver of Satterfield’s caliber. “For the whole offense, it helps having somebody like that because he’s the type that defenses know where he is,” Hogan said. “It helps us because teams have to make an adjustment according to what we do with him. It allows us to vary what we do.” Satterfield was one of four seniors— along with Joseph Hall, RaeQuane Jones and Brandon Stokes—named to the team’s Leadership Council, a group that is in charge of daily cleanup, managing the locker room and helping teammates with problems not so significant that they would require a coach’s attention. Hogan said he’s seen Satterfield thrive in the role.

Satterfield has focused on blocking and route-running in order to become a more complete receiver—a scary thought for defenses.

“He’s a real approachable guy, but he demands a lot out of his teammates,” the coach said. Satterfield also demands a lot out of himself. While watching film of a game during his sophomore year—spontaneously

and voluntarily—Satterfield knew there had been a transformation even though the younger version of himself was obviously talented and productive. “That Randy doesn’t exist anymore,” he said.

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2-minute drill Class 4a, Region 4 CoaCh Billy Jackson (Chilton Co., 1990) 13-28 in four seasons assistants Josh Deavers (defensive coordinator) Andrew Farris Tim Fortner Derrick Littleton Brad Pool 2013 sChedule Aug. 30: at Verbena Sept. 6: Tarrant* Sept. 13: at Central Coosa* Sept. 20: Leeds* Sept. 27: at Horseshoe Bend Oct. 4: at Trinity* Oct. 11: at Midfield* Oct. 18: Montevallo* Oct. 25: B.B. Comer* Oct. 31: isabella *-region game Key game Tarrant. Thorsby failed to win a region game in 2012, but they came closest to a victory in their very first region contest, when they fell to Tarrant by only five points. Tarrant might again be Thorsby’s best chance at a region win. And if the Rebels were pick up wins the first two weeks of the season, the team might begin to build some invaluable confidence. 2012 Results Verbena (win, 32-13) at Tarrant (loss, 19-14) Central Coosa (loss, 27-8) at Leeds (loss, 40-7) Horseshoe Bend (loss, 48-14) Trinity (loss, 57-6) Midfield (loss, 56-6) at Montevallo (loss, 28-20) at B.B. Comer (loss, 33-15) at isabella (loss, 40-0)

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Thorsby

reBels Taking on a new weight room mentality Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photos by Brandon Sumrall

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horsby seemed primed for a successful season in 2013. A deep, experienced group of Rebels had worked hard in the offseason, as evidenced by the remarkable numbers the players were posting in

the weight room. Then came the games...and the injuries. Nine players were lost to injuries in the team’s first four games. Only one player remained in the same position for the whole season. “It was just something every week, and we just couldn’t over-

come it,” coach Billy Jackson said. So, instead of spending as much time this offseason focused on maxing out in Olympic-style lifts, the Rebels focused on building strength through movement. “We felt like we’ve been really, really strong, but it wasn’t translating to the field,” Jackson said. The result could be a team with improved speed and conditioning that could result in more wins.


Cameron Castleberry will be counted on to contribute on both offense and defense for a team with a thin roster.

as the quarterback. He’s dangerous with his feet as well as his arm. Other offensive weapons will include Cody Scott (tight end), Cameron Castleberry (receiver), Jagger Cook (receiver) and Casey Jones (fullback). Jackson said THS would employ a platoon in the backfield of Kevin Owens, Dustin Shackleford, Bobby Watley and others. defense Thorsby will switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 3-5-3 in part because Jackson has seen firsthand how effective the formation can be, especially against spread offenses. “We’ve had such a tough time blocking it,” he said. Jackson described the defense as “feast or famine” because it features lots of blitzes. Veteran Dakota Holcombe and newcomer Sergio Garcia will anchor the defensive line. Linebackers will include Watley, Shackleford and Popwell. While Shackleford is the only newcomer in the group, even the others will find themselves in new positions. Cook has the potential to a shutdown cornerback, while Castleberry’s combination of size and aggressiveness makes him perfectly suited to play a linebacker/safety hybrid position.

Offense The Thorsby offense will look different this season, but it won’t be because Jackson and his staff have abandoned their spread attack. Only two starters from 2012 return: offensive linemen Jay Norwood and Justin Popwell—and Popwell will be at a different position (left guard instead of center). “I think we’ll be OK,” Jackson said about a retooled offensive special teams line. “They’re Though the squad’s working hard. kickers from last year don’t They’re underreturn, Kevin Owens and standing what David Combs we’re trying to were able to lock accomplish.” Dustin Shackleford, a junior, fought down the punting Darius Davis, in fall camp for the lion’s share of and placekicking a talented senior carries in a backfield that will likely responsibilities, who wasn’t feature a three-man rotation. respectively, durable to play last ing fall camp. season because Cook could of issues with find himself returning a share of a transfer, will be counted on to kicks and punts. lead the team from behind center

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RosteR 1-Darius Davis-Sr. 2-Jagger Cook-Sr. 3-Ben Thornton-So. 7-Jerred Atchison-Jr. 8-Casey Jones-Jr. 9-Alex Robinson-Jr. 13-Donnie Hoffman-Sr. 14-Cameron Castleberry-Sr. 16-israel Garcia-So. 18-Cody Scott-Sr. 21-Colton Castleberry-Sr. 22-Jon Davenport-9th 23-Ken Mims-9th 24-Kevin Mims-9th

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33-Bobby Watley-Sr. 42-Kaleb Cleveland-9th 45-Dustin Shackelford-Jr. 51-Chandler Moon-9th 52-Austin Crumpton-Jr. 54-Colton Caton-9th 55-Sergio Garcia-Sr. 57-Jay Norwood-Sr. 61-Jarrett Price-9th 62-Jacob Rollan-So. 64-Jerry Laister-So. 65-David Combs-Jr. 77-Braden Davenport-So. 78-Dakota Holcombe-Sr. 81-Alex Dawson-Jr.


thoRsby high sChool band Stephanie Hubbard (drum major), Adrienne Ellison, Ginger Smith, Austin Liveoak, Samuel Gasson, Christian Quintanilla, Danielle Headley, Robert Beaumont, Brandon Jones, Beth Boartfield, Trinity Lowery, Grace Howard, Regina Wilson, Angel Fields, Kaitlyn Greene, Chrissy Shaver, Claudia Dawson, Danielle Pressley. CheeRleadeRs Laken Patterson (captain), Bailey Lucas, Lindsey Robinson, Katie Adkins, Braiden Gottier, Darian Green, Laken Hayes, Kourtney Lowery, Marissa Withers, Baylee Childress, Allie Yeargan, Taylor McManus, Madison Gunn, Jack Padgett.

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iNSiDE THE LOCKER ROOM

daRius davis

Eager to help new team Story by Stephen Dawkins | Photo by Jon Goering

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horsby’s 2012 season was undoubtedly hard on the players and coaches who dealt with a seemingly endless and merciless string of injuries on their way to a 1-9 record. The season was hard on someone else, also, in a different way. Darius Davis, a transfer from Tennessee, knew he could have helped the Rebels, and he wanted to badly. But his move into a cousin’s residence didn’t satisfy the transfer requirements because his mother, Davis’ legal guardian, was still in Tennessee. So, Davis had to watch from the sidelines as his new team struggled. Now a senior and cleared to play, Davis will have his chance to help. Last year’s starting quarterback for Thorsby transferred to another Chilton County school, and the No. 2 guy on the depth chart will be unable to play this season because of health issues, leaving Davis as the Rebels’ best option behind center even though he has no experience at the position. “It’s been a challenge,” Davis said. The senior is off to a good start, showing leadership through his offseason commitment to improve and instilling confidence in teammates through his solid performance in fall camp. “We’ve been pleased with the character he has shown,” THS coach Billy Jackson said. “He’s a good young man.” Davis’ running ability, especially, will put pressure on opposing defenses. Jackson said the 5-foot-11 Davis is strong for his frame and is the team’s fastest player. He also has confidence in the teammates around him being able to do their share in getting the offense moving. However the 2013 season turns out, Davis is looking forward to competing on the field. “It’s a new beginning,” he said. “It’s my last chance.”

CHILTON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

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Darius Davis transferred to Thorsby before the 2012 season, but an eligibility issue prevented him from playing last year.



Kickoff 2013