Page 1

friday night lights 2011 football preview


2 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview

what’s inside high school

>> Jacksonville Christian Academy / >> Jacksonville High School / >> Piedmont High School /

14

>> Pleasant Valley High School / >> Spring Garden High School / >> White Plains High School /

3

6

page

page

page

page

page

page

24

26

33

college

>> Jacksonville State University / >> Auburn University /

page

>> University of Alabama / >> SEC Schedules /

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The August 2011 Football Preview is the product of The Jacksonville News and The Piedmont Journal. Page design by Michelle Doe

anita kilgore// Piedmont High School varsity football head coach Steve Smith. >> See Piedmont Bulldogs on page 14

to all area schools for a safe and successful 2011 season!

page

35

37 page

38

13

on the cover

field of champions // anita kilgore

The newly renovated Piedmont High School stadium lights up the night in anticipation for the upcoming season. After the Bulldogs came away with the 3A State Championship two seasons ago, the new field may be a source of inspiration for another big year.


august 2011 / 3

>> 2011 football preview

ANITA KILGORE // Jacksonville Christian Academy varsity football team, managers, and coaches.

By dustin holmes Sports Correspondent In the nine-year history of Jacksonville Christian, 2010 was as good as it gets. A team loaded with veterans and talent led the Thunder to a 7-4 record and the school’s first Alabama High School Athletic Association playoff berth. Coach Tommy Miller said the excitement of the season and the unprecedented feat remains, but looking out over the field at a recent practice, one thing was clear to Miller. The honeymoon is over. “There’s 25 kids out there (grades) 7-12,” he said. “And one of them has to sit out because of (transfer) eligibility. “That’s 24 kids. And that’s very thin to be going into a season with.” The eight seniors who departed the program were names that had become synonymous with the fundamental and upright style that Miller preaches both on and

off the field. kept teams from At a small 1A being able to key school, a major on his talents. loss numbering D y l a n eight players has McGuffie tallied Miller just wonmore than 1,000 dering “how” in all-purpose yards too many differand quarterback ent areas. Matt Crook had “Pretty much 18 touchdowns our hole defense ANITA KILGORE // Head coach Tommy Miller with quarteracks (from last season rushwas wiped away,” left) Josh Boling, Daylon Brackett and Will Warren. ing and passing. Miller said. “I “We’re going just can’t say what our strength School for the Deaf, which has to have to rely on him a lot,” will be on that side of the ball. hopes of claiming the deaf school Miller said of Bryant. “Overall, I just don’t know how national championship again. Bryant will also be relied upon we’re going to react.” “There’s no chance to ease into heavily on the defensive side The suspense for Miller will (this season),” Miller said. “It’s of the ball, too. He’s one of last one more week than usual just not a good opener for us. JCA’s two returning all-county as his Thunder won’t be embark“For that team last year, it was selections at his defensive back ing on a preseason jamboree fine. It’s just not a good one for position, tallying 44 tackles and — which is taking too much of this bunch.” returning two interceptions for chance to get somebody hurt With little experience returning, touchdowns last season. with an already thin lineup. Jon Averette is the other, and if its any reassurance for Miller, But when the suspense is bro- his most experienced player is he’s a fine one, as well. ken, it’s even going to be tough coming at a very key position. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound linefor the rebuilding Thunder to Cameron Bryant returns at man is drawing looks from coltell then. running back for his third and leges and could become the first As in years past, Jacksonville final season, but he’ll be without Thunder football player to sign Christian will open with Alabama many of his backfield mates that a college scholarship. Schools

from all levels, from Football Championship Subdivision schools and down, are looking to gain the services of the diamond in the rough, but none have yet to official offer a scholarship. And size is something Jacksonville Christian has begun to grow in recent years. Last season Miller estimates they had five players over the 200-pound mark. While they’ve dropped down to only three or four this season, “we haven’t had that many in the past,” Miller said. But this year, they need them more so than in other years. Especially to protect a very new quarterback. Will Warren steps under center to replace Crook in his first year of organized varsity football. “He was literally the manager last year,” Miller said. “First you have to get him in a football frame of mind, then you have to teach him the plays. “Our play book will have to shrink considerably.”


4 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview

JCA Cheerleaders pump it up

Tailgating Headquarters

ing the squad. “I am very excited,” said Parker. “My girls are awesome. We have the best sponThunder. A mighty force of nature that sor. Mrs. Messer is absolutely amazing. I makes you take notice. Like their name- am looking forward to this year.” Parker is extremely excited to show off sake, the 2011 Jacksonville Christian Academy Thunder cheerleaders are ready her squad’s new moves. “We got a lot of new stunts this to get loud and grab your year…we are bringing the wow attention. factor!” said Parker. This will be Anna Parker believes that God Messer’s second year as brought the team together. the JCA varsity cheerlead“I am giving all the glory to ing sponsor. She says that God, because He is the reason this summer they have been why we are here,” said Parker. practicing and working hard “There is a reason all 12 girls to expand and add variety to made it on the squad. He has a their cheers. purpose for us this year. I am “They are looking great,” really looking forward to that.” said Messer. “We have a “I think it is going to be a really great bunch of girls.” Anna Messer great year,” said Russaw. “We This year’s squad is 12 strong, with four new members and two have a really talented group of girls.” Both ladies say that they could not have seniors ready to cheer on the boys at Tommy Miller Field. Leading the squad made it this far without the guidance and are captain Jordan Parker and co-captain love of God and Jesus. “Come out and support the Thunder,” Courtney Russaw. Both are juniors that have been on the varsity squad since the said Russaw. “It is going to be a great ninth grade. This is their first time lead- year!” By david jennings News Editor, Jax News

Savings to Cheer About! We Accept & The Original Cost Plus 10%

anita kilgore // JCA senior football players and cheerleaders.

GO THUNDER! The City of Jacksonville The Mayor & City Council Members

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5 / august 2011

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thunder 2011 Schedule Aug 26 Sept 2 Sept 9 Sept 16 Sept 23 Sept 30 Oct 7 Oct 14 Oct 21 Oct 27

Alabama School for the Deaf

Appalachian (R) Donoho (R) Jefferson Christian (R) Vina Parkway Christian (R) Ragland (R) Akron (R) Coosa Christian Meek

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ANITA KILGORE // RIGHT: Captain Jordan Parker (Left) and co-captain Courtney Russaw. ABOVE: 2011 JCA

varsity cheerleaders. (Front row left to right) Ashlea Clibrey, Amber Williams, Chelsea Butler, McKenzie Reid, Elysabeth Morales Maya Cunningham. (Back row left to right) Danna Leigh-Swindale, Calley Compton, Jordan Parker, Maggie Ray, Courtney Russaw and Rachel Russaw.

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6 / august 2011

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alan tippets // Jacksonville High School varsity football team

Golden Eagles confident heading into season Jacksonville changes defense to 3-4 scheme

By Lori Tippets Sports Writer In Jacksonville High’s spring football game at Cherokee County, Eagle fans were pleasantly surprised when their surprisingly fast team posted a win over a strong Warrior team. “That has given us a lot of confidence,” Jacksonville coach Roland Houston said. “We had a losing season last year because we lost a lot of experience from the year before and couldn’t recover. “Eventually we’ll get this program where year in and year out we’ll be competitive.” Houston has begun to build that program by changing his defense, moving from an eight-man front to a 3-4 defensive scheme. The defensive line should get opposing coaches to sit up and take notice. Tyler Prater is described as a “big kid” by Houston, a term that doesn’t seem adequate to describe the defensive lineman. The senior nose man weighs 300 pounds. Joining Prater up front on the defensive line will be junior Trey “Pork Chop” Morris,

who weighs in at 275 pounds. Defensive ends for the Eagles will be Coryell Elston, who once ran the ball for the Eagles but has found his nitch on defense, and Kevin Reese, a strong 205-pound sophomore. Houston is excited about the prospects of his new defense that features “10 guys that can run.” CJ Gilbert and Dalton Mount are at the linebacker position and at outside linebacker are Dominique Thomas and Tyler Ross. With the new defensive scheme Houston feels that the success of the defense lies in the hands of Thomas and Ross. “With this defense we have to have guys that are really good and are really good playmakers,” and he feels that Ross and Thomas fit this bill. Houston feels that last year the Eagles gave up too many plays that went the distance or for long gains, so he has put two safeties into his defensive plan. Junior Jared Tippets and sophomore Lavontae LaCount will be counted on to stop the long play. “These are two big guys that can move good,” said Houston of Tippets and LaCount. At the corner positions will

be Forrest Pearson and Jecolby Heard, another pair that can pour on the speed and can really hit. Houston says that his offensive line could be called the “no name” line. “We are pretty even across the front; they are all good players,” said Houston. While they may be the “no name” now, it won’t be long before people take notice of who’s up front. Mount is possibly one of the strongest players on the team. “He is a guy with great strength, I’m looking for big things from him,” remarked Houston. Senior Chris Kopet is back at center for the Golden Eagles this year. Kopet did a great job for the Eagles last year and now has a year’s experience behind him. Senior Manuel Santana “Manny” has worked hard during the offseason to improve his strength. Starting at left guard will be sophomore Reid Hobbs, who sat out last year from football but has impressed the coaches enough to win a starting position. The front line averages close to 210 pounds. While Houston has worked hard at putting together a new

defense, the offense should really shine. Senior Cordero Little has impressed fans and coaches with his ability to break loose for the long run and his ability to score. Little has been hampered by injuries the last two years but if he can stay healthy the Eagles

have a shot at going a long way. “Little is always an asset,” said Houston. “We are a much better team as far as our ability to score when Cordero is on the field. He has the ability to go the distance continued on page 7

golden eagles 2011 Schedule Aug 26

John Carroll Catholic

away

Sept 2

Locust Fork (R)

away

Sept 9

Cleburne County (R)

home

Sept 16

Alexandria (R)

AWAY

Sept 23

Munford

away

Sept 30

Springville

home

Oct 7

Oneonta (R)

away

Oct 14

Saint Clair County (R)

HOME

Oct 21

Anniston (R)

HOME

Oct 28

Pleasant Valley

home


august 2011 / 7

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from page 6

if things fall in place.” Running the option at quarterback will be senior Forrest Pearson with two years of experience at the helm. Pearson has the ability to keep the ball until the last minute, a must for an option quarterback, or to tuck it in and turn up field for long gains, which he has done many times over the past two years. With Pearson in the game, the opposing teams cannot focus on any one running back as the feisty quarterback will make them pay if left alone. Pearson also has a great arm and has connected on many scoring strikes with his receivers. In the backfield with Pearson and Little will also be senior Josh Staples at tailback. Houston also expects to use Tippets, LaCount and Reese at running back and Thomas at fullback. Pearson will be looking to a corps of receivers led by Ross and Heard. Junior Jacob Whitmore will also be inserted at receiver as will be senior Tucker Pritchett, who is playing football for the first time and Houston says that he has ability and will surprise a lot of people. The Eagles coaching staff is comprised of Jordan Houston, offensive co-coordinator, Ryan Chambless, secondary and receivers; Shane Harper, offensive line; and Matt Thompson and Jackson Pearson, two former JHS standouts. Joe Whitmore and Clint Roper will be coaching the junior high team. The Eagles are in one of the toughest 4A Regions in the state playing against Anniston and Cleburne County, two teams that are expected to go far; always tough Alexandria, Oneonta, St. Clair County, Locust Fork and Oneonta. The Eagles will open up on the road at John Carroll on August 26.

alan tippets // Jacksonville High School varsity football coaches. (Front row from left) Jackson Pearson, Matt Thompson, Adam Treadwell and Clint Roper. (Back row from left) Shane Harper, Ryan Chambless, head coach Roland Houston, Jordy Houston and Joe Whitmore.

Eagle cheerleaders ready to pump it up By david jennings News Editor, Jax News Ten girls will represent Jacksonville High School on the sidelines this year. T h e cheerleading s q u a d consists of Sponsor Christy Vice three seniors, three juniors and the rest are sophomores. Lauren Bass, in her fourth year on the cheerleading squad, is captain. Christy Vice, faculty sponsor, says that Bass is, “very organized and is a well-rounded individual.” Another senior, Ashleigh Todd, was selected co-captain. Todd is also in her fourth year. Vice describes Todd as also being well organized and as being a “gogetter.” “The two of them together,” said Vice of her senior leaders, “balance each other out. They

both have different strengths.” Senior Janay Wilson is in her second year on the squad as is junior Haley Turley. Sophomores Madison Burroughs and Sarah Holcombe have moved up from the junior high squad. There are four newcomers to the group this year, girls who have never cheered at Jacksonville High School. This group includes juniors Natalie Gunter and Cody Haynes and sophomores M a d i s o n M u r r a y and Becky Heintzelman. T h e cheerleaders opted to stay at home for a UCA cheerleading camp this year. The camp lasted one week where the girls learned cheers,

stunting and dancing. Bass, Todd, Burroughs and Holcombe were all named AllAmerican and the squad won Superior awards for cheer and dance. Vice felt that the camp was a success as the girls all got along well together and the new girls “soaked up as much as they could.” Vice feels that her squad is unique in its own way. She

praised the courage that the new cheerleaders exhibited to “stand up and do something they had never done before, and in front of a large group of people. “These are strong individuals, not easily swayed,” said Vice of her squad. The one expectation that Vice has for the cheerleaders is that they have fun.

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8 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview alan tippets // Jacksonville High School varsity cheerleading squad. (Front row from left) Madison Burroughs, head cheerleader Lauren Bass, co-captain Ashleigh Todd and Sarah Holcombe. (Back row from left) Haley Turley, Becky Heintzelman, Cody Haynes, Natalie Gunter and Madison Murray.

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august 2011 / 9

>> 2011 football preview

Golden Eagles take flight to outer space

JHS will put on Lunar FX half time show BY LORI TIPPETS Sports Correspondent “Mission control, we have touchdown.” Football fans are going to be treated to a halftime show by the Golden Eagle Marching Band that will open with the “2001 Space Odyssey” and move on to “Moon Dance”, “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “Moonscapes.” As they have done in the past, the band will also feature special effects that include a moonscape complete with a lunar landing module and spaceman. The 103-member band under the direction of Jeff Gossett has practiced hard during the summer, spending two weeks at band camp. The band went over marching fundamentals, foot placement, shoulder alignment, movement around the field and playing fundamentals. Gossett credits the fact that the band has been able to practice at night under lights with how productive the band has been this summer. “They are doing a fantastic job,” said Gossett of his band, “we have never been this good this early.”

Gossett also credits the fact that the band has 15 seniors this year to their early success. “It’s their leadership,” said Gossett. “Some of the seniors are in their third year to be section leaders.” To be a section leader in the Golden Eagle band is not just a title, it’s a responsibility. “I teach my kids you are not a section leader just in name, you are there to teach those younger ones what to do,” said Gossett who continued, “You are there as a role model and if you do things in the right way and the younger ones see it, it just perpetuates.” Section leaders this year are: Flutes: Amanda Currie, Lakshmi Krishnaprasad; Clarinets: Katie McCutchen, Lillie Zeck; Saxophones: Spencer Stephens, Aaron Bregquist; Trumpets: Caleb McFall, Patrick Roberson; French Horns: Jake Wilson; Trombones; Shawn Roberson; Baritones; Hector Lopez; Tubas; Kenneth Crosby; Front Ensemble; Courtney Chandler; Battery Percussion; Chris McGowan, Mason Paris, Rachel

Pinkard; Majorettes; Anna Borders (feature) Claire Eagle; Color Guard; Kiara Ervin, Allison Hamilton. The band has a unique situation this year in that there are two male drum majors, a first for the marching band. Leading the band will be Andrew Record in his second year as drum major and Daniel O’Donnell. Gossett has nothing but praise for these two young men. “They both have very strong leadership skills,” he said. “The kids really respect them. They do exactly what I preach which is to treat everybody the same and to be good at what you do.” Both drum majors are All-State players, Record on the tuba and O’Donnell on saxophone. Last year the band won the Weaver band contest coming in first out of 32 bands. With the large number of students in the marching band, Gossett feels that it is because of the success that they have had that has drawn out the numbers. “Nothing makes things go better than a little bit of success,” noted Gossett. Gossett, in his 20th year as band director at Jacksonville has a goal this year, “20 for 20.” Gossett is hoping to get 20 All-State players to match the number of years he has been at the high school. The highest number of All-State players he has

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had, which was last year, is seven. Gossett feels that with the talent that his students have this is a possibility. Humble and quiet, the seasoned band director is not looking for 20 All-State players to show what he has done in his 20 years, but he knows that this is the best chance that his students have of getting scholarships. For a band director that is so well respected, it just may happen.

lori tippets // Drum major Andrew Record leads the band with a song from the Lunar FX show. Daniel O’Donnell will also lead the band as drum major this year.

GO GOLDEN EAGLES!

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The Mayor & City Council Members


10 / august 2011

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lori tippets // JHS Golden Eagles Marching Band, majorettes and dance line.

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august 2011 / 11

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lori tippets // LEFT JHS drumline (from left) Michael Godwin, Mason Paris and Brooke Kozinski. right Golden Eagles majorettes (from left) Claire Eagle, Caroline Peevy and Anna Borders.

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12 / august 2011

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august 2011 / 13

>> 2011 football preview

2011 SEC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE 2011 SEC Football Schedule Date Team

Sept. 3

Sept. 10

Sept. 17

Sept. 24

Oct. 1

Oct. 8

Oct. 15

Oct. 22

ALABAMA

KENT STATE Tuscaloosa

PENN STATE State College

NORTH TEXAS Tuscaloosa

ARKANSAS Tuscaloosa

FLORIDA Gainesville

VANDERBILT Tuscaloosa

OLE MISS Oxford

TENNESSEE Tuscaloosa

ARKANSAS

MISSOURI STATE Fayetteville

NEW MEXICO Little Rock

TROY Fayetteville

ALABAMA Tuscaloosa

TEXAS A&M Arlington, Texas

AUBURN Fayetteville

AUBURN

UTAH STATE Auburn

MISS. STATE Auburn

CLEMSON Clemson

FLORIDA ATLANTIC Auburn

SOUTH CAROLINA Columbia

ARKANSAS Fayetteville

FLORIDA Auburn

FLORIDA

FLORIDA ATLANTIC Gainesville

UAB Gainesville

TENNESSEE Gainesville

KENTUCKY Lexington

ALABAMA Gainesville

LSU Baton Rouge

AUBURN Auburn

GEORGIA Jacksonville

GEORGIA

BOISE STATE Atlanta

SOUTH CAROLINA Athens

COASTAL CAROLINA Athens

OLE MISS Oxford

MISSISSIPPI STATE Athens

TENNESSEE Knoxville

VANDERBILT Nashville

KENTUCKY

W. KENTUCKY Nashville (Sept. 1)

CENTRAL MICHIGAN Lexington

LOUISVILLE Lexington

FLORIDA Lexington

LSU Baton Rouge

SOUTH CAROLINA Columbia

LSU

OREGON Arlington, Texas

NORTHWESTERN STATE Baton Rouge

MISS. STATE Starkville (Sept. 15)

WEST VIRGINIA Morgantown

KENTUCKY Baton Rouge

FLORIDA Baton Rouge

OLE MISS

BRIGHAM YOUNG Oxford

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS Oxford

VANDERBILT Nashville

GEORGIA Oxford

FRESNO STATE Fresno

MISSISSIPPI STATE

MEMPHIS Memphis (Sept. 1)

AUBURN Auburn

LSU Starkville (Sept. 15)

LOUISIANA TECH Starkville

GEORGIA Athens

UAB Birmingham

GEORGIA Athens

NAVY Columbia

VANDERBILT Columbia

AUBURN Columbia BUFFALO Knoxville

SOUTH CAROLINA

EAST CAROLINA Charlotte

TENNESSEE

MONTANA Knoxville

CINCINNATI Knoxville

FLORIDA Gainesville

VANDERBILT

ELON Nashville

CONNECTICUT Nashville

OLE MISS Nashville

SOUTH CAROLINA Columbia

Oct. 29

Nov. 5

Nov. 12

Nov. 19

Nov. 26

LSU Tuscaloosa

MISSISSIPPI STATE Starkville

GEORGIA SOUTHERN Tuscaloosa

AUBURN Auburn

SOUTH CAROLINA Fayetteville

TENNESSEE Fayetteville

MISSISSIPPI STATE Little Rock

LSU Baton Rouge (Nov. 25)

GEORGIA Athens

SAMFORD Auburn

ALABAMA Auburn

VANDERBILT Gainesville

SOUTH CAROLINA Columbia

FURMAN Gainesville

FLORIDA STATE Gainesville

FLORIDA Jacksonville

NEW MEXICO STATE Athens

AUBURN Athens

KENTUCKY Athens

GEORGIA TECH Atlanta

MISSISSIPPI STATE Lexington

OLE MISS Lexington

VANDERBILT Nashville

GEORGIA Athens

TENNESSEE Lexington

ALABAMA Tuscaloosa

WESTERN KENTUCKY Baton Rouge

OLE MISS Oxford

ARKANSAS Baton Rouge (Nov. 25)

AUBURN Auburn

KENTUCKY Lexington

LOUISIANA TECH Oxford

LSU Oxford

MISSISSIPPI STATE Starkville

SOUTH CAROLINA Starkville

KENTUCKY Lexington

TENNESSEEMARTIN Starkville

ALABAMA Starkville

ARKANSAS Little Rock

OLE MISS Starkville

KENTUCKY Columbia

MISSISSIPPI STATE Starkville

TENNESSEE Knoxville

ARKANSAS Fayetteville

FLORIDA Columbia

THE CITADEL Columbia

CLEMSON Columbia

GEORGIA Knoxville

LSU Knoxville

ALABAMA Tuscaloosa

SOUTH CAROLINA Knoxville

MIDDLE TENNESSEE Knoxville

ARKANSAS Fayetteville

VANDERBILT Knoxville

KENTUCKY Lexington

ALABAMA Tuscaloosa

GEORGIA Nashville

ARMY Nashville

ARKANSAS Nashville

FLORIDA Gainesville

KENTUCKY Nashville

TENNESSEE Knoxville

WAKE FOREST Winston-Salem

OLE MISS Oxford

VANDERBILT Nashville

LSU Baton Rouge

OLE MISS Auburn

JACKSONVILLE STATE Lexington TENNESSEE Knoxville

AUBURN Baton Rouge

ALABAMA Oxford

ARKANSAS Oxford

2011 SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME • DECEMBER 3 • ATLANTA, GA.

2011 SEC Championship Game // December 3 // Atlanta, GA


14 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview

anita kilgore // Piedmont High School varsity football team, coaches and managers

Bulldogs look for another state title Coach Steve Smith anticipates a successful year By rip donavan Sports Correspondant Success typically brings with it rising expectations. That has certainly become the case in Piedmont. Prior to Steve Smith’s arrival as head football coach for the 2006 season, the Bulldogs had missed the playoffs six consecutive years and had only one postseason appearance in the previous 11 seasons. When the Bulldogs finished their first season under Smith’s tutelage third in their region, there was rejoicing even though that team lost in the opening round of postseason play. The next three years brought three 8-2 regular seasons and three second place finishes in region action. In 2007 and 2008, two playoff victories each year earned the Bulldogs a pair of 10-win seasons. In the magical 2009 season, Piedmont raced to five consecutive postseason wins, a 13-2 overall record and the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A state championship, the first football title for the school and the community. In Piedmont, it was Christmas, the Fourth of

July and everyone’s birth2 doesn’t automatically day all rolled into one. give us a win,” Smith Last year the Bulldogs said. were region champions What the ranking does for the first time and is paint a target on the Aug 26 Hokes Bluff (R) AWAY reached the 3A semifinals back of every Bulldog Sept 2 Susan Moore (R) home before they were eliminatfor every game in 2011. ed. Despite the departure Just as Piedmont playSept 9 White Plains (R) away by graduation of three of ers will be hoping for Sept 16 J.B. Pennington (R) home Piedmont’s four firsta chance to bump off team All-State selections preseason No. 1 Leeds Sept 23 Glencoe (R) away from 2010, those in the – something that could Sept 30 Weaver (R) home stands at Cedar Bluff for only happen if each the spring jamboree game team reaches the Class Oct 7 Greensboro Public HOME talked openly of another 3A championship game Oct 14 Saks (R) away 3A state crown. Preseason set for the University expectations are about as of Alabama’s BryantOct 21 Ashville (R) HOME high as preseason expecDenny Stadium in early Oct 28 Cherokee County AWAY tations can get this time December – the 64 around in the current footteams in Class 3A not ball capital of Calhoun County. Region 6 title, at Hokes Bluff ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the preSmith, for one, doesn’t shy on Thursday, August 25, they season will be just as happy to away from those expectations. will do so as Class 3A’s No. 2 take down the Bulldogs. In a conversation a few days ago rated team in the Alabama Sport “On any night, if you don’t about the potential of the 2011 Writers Association’s preseason come out and play, you put yourBulldogs, Smith acknowledged poll. Smith doesn’t put a lot of self in a position to get beat. I the current team “has a chance to stock in the ranking. He specu- think they understand that pretty be really special” before insert- lated that Piedmont’s lofty status well,” Smith said of his players. ing some cautionary words – the had more to do with last year’s On offense, senior Chris Strott offense must not be plagued by performance than an awareness returns at quarterback. Junior turnovers and the defense cannot across the state of who is return- Cade Bradley will again be the allow big plays. ing for the Bulldogs. backup at quarterback. Freshman When the Bulldogs open the “I think our kids probably Tyler Lusk, who had a long season, and the race for the understand that being ranked No. touchdown completion in the

bulldogs 2011 Schedule

Winston County playoff game after being called up from the junior high team, is the No. 3 quarterback this season. At tailback will be junior Jamie Major, a first-team AllState pick at linebacker last year. Major rushed for more than 800 yards and scored eight touchdowns despite limited carries in 2010. Junior Sarandon Dunbar and freshman Dreke Thompson will play behind Major. Dunbar had two long scoring runs in a recent intra-squad scrimmage and Thompson also showed great potential. The more effective Dunbar and Thompson are, the more Major can concentrate on his responsibilities on defense. Senior Dalton Riffey, another experienced runner, will be the No. 1 fullback. Junior Cale Chasteen and sophomore Dalton Barber will also play the position. The starter at split end will be senior Sloan Garner, at 6-foot6 an enormous target. Garner showed an ability to catch passes in traffic during 7-on-7 competitions. Behind Garner are freshman C.J. Savage and senior Joel Ray, a transfer.


15 / august 2011 Senior Andrew Adderhold looks to be the starter at flanker with juniors Cass McCord and Jaret Prater in the mix. Senior Andru Hincy, back after electing not to play football in 2010, has shown promise at flanker. When the Bulldogs utilize a tight end, senior Landon Pruitt will be the No. 1. Senior Trevor Ford and juniors Dillon Terry and Haden Downey are behind Pruitt. On the offensive line, senior Jameson Trammell (6-4, 281) returns to right tackle where he started last year. Junior Austin Bishop (6-3, 255), the starting center in 2010, takes over at left tackle. Freshman Tyler Lucas (62, 191) is Trammell’s backup and sophomore Dustin Norton (6-2, 216) will relieve Bishop. The play of junior Patrick Raney (6-foot, 214) at right guard has allowed Smith to shift senior Clay Dent, a two–year starter

>> 2011 football preview at the position, to linebacker. Behind Raney are junior Dustin Baer (5-10, 205) and sophomore Ryan Kirk (5-11, 236). Senior Chaz Gamble (5-11, 232) will start at left guard. Sophomore Jeffery Pryor (6-2, 201) is the No. 2 man. Senior Casey Moore (6foot, 252) is the No. 1 center. Sophomore Caleb Adams (5-10, 175) plays behind Moore. On defense, look for the Bulldogs to deploy in their familiar three-man front with four linebackers. Junior Marquez Gamble (6-foot, 268) will anchor the defensive line at nose guard. Gamble started at defensive end last year but also played significant snaps at the nose. Sophomore Exavyer Jackson (58, 223) will be the No. 2 nose. Senior Quadree Woods (6-foot, 226) will be the left end with Downey as his relief. On the

right end will be junior Jaylan Johnson (6-2, 235) with junior Logan Moore (6-1, 233) behind Johnson. Leading the linebackers will be junior Collin Bradley (6-foot, 190), the only starter on last year’s defense returning to the same position he played in 2010. Bradley, who will be the weak side inside linebacker, finished last year with 95 total tackles. Dent (5-10, 184) will be the inside backer on the strong side. Raney and Adams are behind Dent. Junior Hunter Pike (510, 171) and Barber will spell Bradley. Senior Michael DeVoe (5-11, 190) is the outside linebacker on the left side. His help will come from freshman Cody Daughtry (6-foot, 165) and junior transfer Caelan Goss (6-foot, 180). Riffey is the No. 1 at right side outside linebacker. Terry and Chasteen

39 punts a year ago, will again do the punting. Terry and Strott are also available to punt. Collin Bradley will snap the ball for extra points and field goals. Bishop is the snapper on punts.

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are his replacements. At right cornerback is junior LaPhonzo Burroughs with Dunbar the backup. Cade Bradley will start at left cornerback, ahead of Thompson and Savage. Pruitt will be the free safety with McCord and Adderhold behind him. Major, now a chiseled 6-2 and 212 pounds, shifts from linebacker – where he led the 2010 Bulldogs with 104 total tackles and had 11 quarterback sacks on his way to first-team AllState honors – to strong safety. At his new position he will be free to make plays all over the field. Strott will be his backup and Hincy may also see time at safety. On special teams, Terry will handle kickoffs. Either Terry or Strott will kick field goals and extra points. Cade Bradley, who averaged 35.7 yards per kick on

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anita kilgore // Piedmont High School senior football players and cheerleaders.

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>> 2011 football preview Two varsity cheerleaders, Maggie Love and Goss, who is captain of the Piedmont varsity squad, made UCA All-American, as did Kathryn Lusk, captain of the junior high squad. Cheer coach and PHS guidance counselor Sandra Akin said that with so much experience cheering together, this year will be exciting for everyone involved. “They’re looking good so far. I’m really excited about it,” Akin said. “We’ve been working hard on our new routines. I have seven seniors and eleven juniors

ANITA KILGORE // PHS varsity cheerleaders (Front) Captain Lexy Goss. (Middle from left) Marley Harper, Sara Beth Minton, Sara Martin, Tracie Donaldson and Savannah Grimes. (Back from left) Coach Sandra Akin, Maggie Love, Allyson Ivey, Christa Smith, Addie Jane Minton, Carlee Anderson and Kasie Moore.

Experience & desire PHS cheerleaders say this is their year By eddie burkhalter News Editor, Piedmont Journal

If history is any indication, this year may be a very good one for Piedmont High School’s cheer squads. Last year, the PHS competition team ended their season as State runner-ups, and in previous years they landed in third, fourth and second spots consecutively in the State competition. Squad captain Lexy Goss said last year ended well, but the girls aren’t ready to give up on their dreams of taking the top spot. “We have been cheerleading together since junior high, and we have all waited for the day we would become juniors and

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and most of them have cheered together since junior high, so they’ve got a lot of strength and a lot of experience.” Of the 14 girls that make up this year’s competition team, twelve are from the Varsity squad with the addition of Katherine Lusk, pulled up from the junior high, and Alexis Byers from the junior varsity squad. Piedmont cheerleaders and football players alike set State wins in their sights for the 2011 season.

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seniors. The time has finally come and we couldn’t be more excited about it,” Goss said. “Out theme this year is ‘Our time is now’ because we believe as a team it’s our year to work hard and have a great competition season while supporting our Bulldogs throughout each game.” Over the summer, the cheerleaders attended a camp sponsored by the Universal Cheerleader Association at the University of Alabama. Both the Varsity and the Junior High squads competed in the Championship on the last day of camp. The Varsity/JV squad finished second in the cheer category, and the Junior High Squad placed second in the cheer category and fourth in the Extreme Routine.

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Blue Knights ready to tear it up on the new Field of Champions By eddie burkhalter News Editor, Piedmont Journal Some might say that the renovated stadium at Piedmont High School could use a little anointing, and the Blue Knights Marching Band have selected a show that fits the bill. More than 80 members will march this year, bringing some gospel music onto the new Field of Champions. “We’re performing a Southern Gospel show for halftime this year,” PHS Band Director Jamie Thomas said. “We will be highlighting the Dixieland music style with “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”.” The second song of the program, the Spiritual “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” will make good use of the drum line, and the show closer, the beloved American folk song “Amazing Grace”, will wrap the program up on the right note. “There’s even a little bit of “I’ll Fly Away”

stuck in there to so it should get the crowd excited,” Thomas said. Ethan Downey left his first chair trumpet spot with the Blue Knights last year to join the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band. Downey began band camp at UA on Aug. 14. “We’re excited for him. He’ll be up there marching with the Crimson Tide this year,” Thomas said. Without Downey and the other senior leaders who graduated last year, the band is relying on young blood to step up to the task. With more than two dozen junior high players in the horn and drum lines alone, Thomas said there is plenty of young blood available, and he said they’ve been proving themselves all summer long. “I was surprised how good they’ve done. They just jumped in and took off. I’ve bragged that they were doing some of their marching drills better than some of the older folks,” Thomas said. “Our kids have

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really stepped up. There are some awesome players out there.” Chris Machen, a trumpet player with JSU’s Marching Southerners, will be helping Thomas with the Blue Knights this year. There will be a lot of color on the field this year as well. Twentythree members all told in the dance line, color guard and majorettes, and Thomas said they’ve been working hard and doing an amazing job and will add a great deal to the show. With a growing music program comes the need for instruments, and the band is working alongside the school board, band booster and continued on page 20 Piedmont High School Band Director Jamie Thomas

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anita kilgore // PHS drum major Brittani Reynolds.

from page 19

the alumni association to find sponsors and to raise the needed funds. The band is in the process of purchasing all new marching percussion, but the major goal, Thomas said, is to purchase all new school-loan instruments for the high school. The older school-loan instruments would then shift down to the middle school. “We’re a growing program

and we’ve got to have decent instruments for the kids. If they’re going to grow, we want to provide them with the best instruments. Fund-raisers will likely spring up throughout the year, giving everyone the opportunity to help. “We’ve got a lot of stuff planned and hopefully the community anita kilgore // PHS marching band seniors. (Seated from left) Christine Mitchell, Meagan Hoxie, Whitney Wood, Tori Waddell, Kayla Gowens and Mariah Gowens. (Standing from left) Matthew Stitts, Brittani will get behind it and help us Reynolds, band director Jamie Thomas, KayLynn Russell and Destini Monahan. provide some decent equipment for our kids,” Thomas said.

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Anita kilgore // Piedmont High School Blue Knights marching band

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anita kilgore // Blue Knights marching band majorettes. (From left) Whitney Wood, Raven Paslay, Melissa Fortenberry, Tori Waddell, Linda Feazell and Laura Posey.

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anita kilgore // PHS marching band section leaders. (Front row from left) Mariah Gowens, Kendal Garrett, Kayla Gowens, Brittani Reynolds, Allison Wood, Kaylynn Russell, Whitney Wood, Tori Waddell. (Back row from left) Hannah Bedwell, Shannon Alberse, Andrew Posey, Christopher McClurs, Destini Munahan.

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>> 2011 football preview

anita kilgore // Pleasant Valley varsity football team, varsity cheerleaders and coaches.

More players to play both offense/defense this season BY LORI TIPPETS Sports Correspondent Coach Jeff Davis lost 13 seniors to graduation last year, and even though he has 11 seniors back this year numbers are down on the football team, meaning more players are going to have to play both Aug 25 ways. The Raiders, who Sept 2 finished with a 6-5 record last year after Sept 9 losing in the first Sept 16 round of playoffs to Reeltown, are suiting Sept 23 up only 40 players Sept 30 this season, the smallest number in many Oct 7 years. Despite the fact Oct 14 that the small numbers mean more play- Oct 21 ers having to play on Oct 28 both sides of the ball, Davis also points out that it hurts the program since there now will be no “B” team games to give experience to younger players. However, the Raiders strength could be their offensive line where five of the six are returning from last year. “We feel good about our offensive linemen,” said Davis. Back at center will be senior

Landon Gilmer with senior Garrett Veazey and junior Ethan Lambert at the guard positions. Also on the line is sophomore Jared Colvin, a young man who gets a lot of praise from his head

his size.” Senior Michael Dean Roe will be back at tight end. A rather large question mark for the Raiders this year is who will be running the offense. Right now there are three vying for the spot at quarterback. Junior Eddie Roe, sophomore Lucas Ford and junior HOME Garrett Preston all have different talents AWAY and qualities that they HOME bring to the table and whoever steps up to AWAY take over the leaderHOME ship role will win out. The Raiders lost AWAY talented Kyle Bean HOME at running back, and even though it is hard HOME to replace a 1,000 yard AWAY rusher Davis feels that he has two running AWAY backs who will prove to be adequate replacements over time. Junior Hunter Green at 6’1”, 205lbs “can pick ‘em up and put ‘em down pretty good,” says Davis. Davis has also been impressed with senior Will Hamby and Dalton Bean, Kyle’s younger brother, who should see

Raiders 2011 Schedule Sand Rock (R) Westbrook (R) North Sand Mountain (R) Victory Christian (R) Section (R) Ohatchee (R) Fyffle (R) White Plains Ider (R) Jacksonville coach. “Jared will be starting his 22nd game for us,” explained Davis. “He started as an eighth grader and I’m real proud of him. He has broken all the school records in weight lifting. He does an outstanding job for a young kid and has been playing that position since he was 13. He’s about 300 pounds and moves well for

continued on page 39

PVHS Cheerleaders BY LORI TIPPETS Sports Correspondent

Pleasant Valley has a small cheerleading squad this year, with only nine members, but they have already impressed those who have watched them. At the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) camp in Panama City, Fla., this June the squad received all superior ribbons as well as the overall spirit stick. There were over 30 squads participating at the camp. The squad competed in the in the home pom evaluation and were rewarded with first place and the overall extreme routine dance competition where they received third overall. The Raiders were invited to participate in the Capital One Bowl at Disney World in December. Chandler Burgess and Blakeli Bolt were selected as UCA AllStars and have been invited to perform in the Varsity Spirit New Year’s Day Parade in London. Burgess was also invited to try out for the UCA staff. Shaa Bolt, Raider Cheerleader sponsor, has been very impressed with her group. “This is the best camp we’ve

had,” recalled Bolt who is in her seventh year. “They worked really hard. We had less problems and things went smoothly. They all have good attitudes and are a tight group.” This year’s squad features one male cheerleader, Cameron Glass, a sophomore. “Cameron has never cheered before and is very positive and upbeat. He has brought a lot to the squad,” said Bolt. Captain this year is senior Chandler Burgess and co-captain senior Jordan Cash. Both girls have been on the squad for three years. “Both girls bring different personalities to the squad,” remarked Bolt. “Chandler is very responsible, an all around great cheerleader and a great leader. Jordan brings a lot of new things and new ideas to the group.” There are five juniors on this year’s squad, Chelsea Ward, Savannah Tant, Meghan Shackelford, Kelsey Feiner and Blakeli Bolt. Ward is in her first year, the rest are in the second year on the squad. Kaci Johnson is the other sophomore on the squad, also in her first year.


august 2011 / 25

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anita kilgore // CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Pleasant Valley High School marching band; Band director Haley Jackson discusses band formation with drum major Brett Shields; Raiders marching band color guard.

New director upbeat for PVHS Marching Raiders

By Lori Tippets Sports News Writer Following in the footsteps of an icon is not an easy task. New Pleasant Valley band director Haley Jackson knows just how hard that can be. Jackson has taken over for Pam Smith who directed the marching band for the Raiders for 27 years before she retired at the end of last school year.

Jackson is in her second year as a band director, her first for the Raiders. A Troy graduate, Jackson marched in the Trojan playing clarinet. She also plays the piano and is a member of the Alabama National Guard Band Unit. The Troy native admits that “following behind a good director is hard,” but she feels that she is up to the task, especially

with the help of the members of the band. Jackson has been impressed with her 20-member band so far. “They love what they do, they have great work ethic and love coming to practice,” said Jackson. “They are just good kids. They try hard and want to be good so they work hard.” Jackson admits that having such a small band is hard

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because it limits what you can play, however, it does have its upside as a smaller group is easier to handle. Drum major for the Raiders this year is senior Brett Shields. “He’s a good leader. He loves band and he’s always in here trying to help with something,” said Jackson. The band practiced for two weeks in July to prepare for the

upcoming season. While Jackson did not reveal what the whole halftime performance will be, saying she wants it to be a surprise, she did say that the opening number will be “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. “It will be an exciting show,” said Jackson, “a lot of people will like it. We have a variety of music; something that appeals to everybody.”

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26 / august 2011

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eddie burkhalter // Spring Garden Varsity football team, varsity cheerleaders and mascot Pepper the Panther.

Panthers want to reach playoffs again

Spring Garden coach feels team is in best shape and ready to make run in region By rip donavan Sports Correspondent They didn’t reach the Class 1A playoffs last year. They don’t want that to be the case again this season. That, in a nutshell, is the story of football at Spring Garden in 2011. “I think they’re extremely focused on it. We’ve talked about it. That’s our goal, to get back,” second-year head coach John McKay said recently. A home playoff game, something Spring Garden has never enjoyed, to open the postseason would be icing on the cake. Collinsville (7-0 in Region play), Cedar Bluff (6-1), Gaylesville (5-2) and Gaston (4-3) were the playoff teams from Region 7 in 2010. A win over Gaston would have given the No. 4 finish to Spring Garden. With wins over Gaston and Gaylesville, the Panthers would have been No. 3. Both losses came on the road last year. Those games will be played at Spring Garden this time, in Week 4 against Gaston and Week

6 against Gaylesville. To their credit, after finishing 3-4 in Region 7 and 3-7 overall the Panthers didn’t spend the offseason pouting and feeling sorry for themselves. They took a week off then were back at work in the weight room. Preparation starts now, counseled McKay. The initial work ethic has remained from winter workouts to spring practice to summer workouts to preseason practice. “From the end of the season, they’ve put their noses to the grindstone and lifted, lifted, lifted,” McKay said. “I feel like we’re in the best shape we’ve ever been in.” The offensive line, where three starters return from last year, should be a strength for the Panthers. Center Caleb Steward, right guard Craig Jones and right tackle B.J. Turner are the returning starters. All three are juniors. Left guard Ben Robinson played extensively in 2010. At left tackle will be Dusty Young, a regular in 2009 who did not play football in 2010. Young and Robinson are

seniors. Sophomore Zack Dobbs will be the No. 2 center. Austin Bondie and Hunter Bondie are the reserve guards. Cody McWilliams, Hunter Crider and freshman Chris Holcomb are the backups at tackle. At split end, junior Will Penton is the starter with junior Dylan Watson and freshman Kyle Reece behind him. Senior Ryan Messer will be at flanker or wingback, depending on the formation. Junior Alan Herter and freshman Andrew McLarty also play the position. When the Panthers use a tight end it will be senior Brad Heath with classmates Evan Jones and C.J. Salcido the backups. Junior Jake Grogan will call the plays at quarterback. Junior Forrest Livingston, who rushed for just over 1,000 yards in nine games last year, will run from fullback this time. Senior Riley Smith and sophomore Will Ivey will be McKay’s “co-starters” at tailback. Ivey will also be the No. 2 quarterback. Ivey and Smith,

who has not played football since junior high, will also see time in the rotation at wide receiver. Most of the Panthers will play large roles on defense as well as offense. Craig Jones will start at defensive end on the strong side and Messer will be the weak side end. Behind Jones will be Salcido and Hunter Bondie with Robinson and Crider behind Messer. Turner is set at strong side tackle with Young as his relief. McWilliams and Austin Bondie are neck-and-neck at weak tackle with Steward the No. 3. The outside linebackers are Heath on the strong side and Watson on the weak side. Dobbs is behind Watson and Messer is Heath’s backup. Livingston is in the middle on the strong side and Evan Jones on the weak side. Matt Mullinax plays behind Jones and Herter behind Livingston. In the secondary, Penton will be the right side cornerback with help from Reece. Ivey, followed by McLarty, has the left corner. Grogan will be the safety with

Smith and Holcomb behind him. Craig Jones returns to handle extra points and field goals. McWilliams or Livingston will do the punting. One factor in achieving a successful season and a return to the postseason will be avoiding injuries. A single injury to a key player could force multiple changes in the lineup. The ability to force opposing defenses to think pass defense as well as run defense will also be critical. “We have to make some positive throws and we want to make some early so they can see we will and we can,” McKay said. Coaching staff Head coach: John McKay (offensive and defensive lines) Assistants: Damon McDonald (offensive coordinator, backs), Stan Jones (defensive coordinator, linebackers), Tony Benefield (receivers, defensive backs), Derek Freeman (varsity line and junior high), Barrett Ragsdale (varsity linebackers and junior high).


august 2011 / 27

>> 2011 football preview

panthers 2011 Schedule Aug 26 Sept 2 Sept 9 Sept 16 Sept 23 Sept 30 Oct 7 Oct 14 Oct 21 Oct 28

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august 2011 / 29

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Pump up the Panthers Spring Garden cheerleaders are ready to get the crowd going

Rumor has it that Pepper has some new eddie burkhalter // left Jacqueline Haney will don the Pepper the Panther mascot this season. RIGHT: Senior Spring Garden cheerleaders (from left) Ivy Franklin, moves as well, so keep an eye out this Chandler Brock and Laura Poole. season for some good-natured ribbing The Spring Garden cheerleaders are ready directed towards the opposing teams this to spread some excitement for Panther fans year. this year. Cheer coach Kelly Bates says the A good mix of new and returning girls have been working hard and couldn’t cheerleaders make up Spring Garden’s be more ready for football season to begin. squad this year, says Bates. “I have a “We’re getting started and things are mixed bag this year,” she said. looking good,” Bates said. The girls held a “I have one senior who has never cheer camp at the school in June and Bates cheered and one who hasn’t cheered said the new routines are coming along since junior high, and a returning senior.” well. All the girls have worked hard, Bates There will be 11 girls in total cheering on said, and they’re all football fans as well the Panthers this year, and as always the so there will be no shortage of exciteSpring Garden mascot Pepper will be on ment on the Panther sidelines. the sidelines keeping the crowds pumped. By Eddie burkhalter News Editor, Piedmont Journal

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30 / august 2011

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Eddie burkhalter // Spring Garden varsity cheerleading squad. (Front row from left) Haley Dobbs, Kaylie Hill, Laura Poole, Kayleigh Smith and Miranda Casey. (Back row from left) Morgan Short, Ivy Franklin, Kayla Holcomb, Chandler Brock, Hayden Bates, Maddy Micha and Jacqueline Haney in the Pepper the Panther mascot suit.

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august 2011 / 31

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eddie burkhalter // Spring Garden varsity football coaches. (From left) Tony Benefield, Damon McDonald, Head Coach John McKay, Barrett Ragsdale, Derek Freeman and Stan Jones.

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32 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview eddie burkhalter // Spring Garden senior panthers from the football team and varsity cheerleading squad. (Front row from left) Evan Jones, Dusty Young, Laura Poole Jake Grogan and Brad Heath. (Back row from left) Chandler Brock, Cody McWilliams, CJ Salcido, Ben Robinson, Austin Bondie, Ryan Messer and Ivy Franklin.

THE SPRING GARDEN FOUNDATION We are looking forward to a great 2011-2012 season of Spring Garden Panther Football!!

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august 2011 / 33

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Wildcats drop in numbers By dustin holmes Sports Correspondent

Ever since Heath Harmon arrived at White Plains, one of his main goals was to make the Wildcats more physical. Starting his fourth season, Harmon looks to be getting his wish – but not exactly by all of his own doing. Graduation hit the Wildcats hard. But so did injuries and apathy. In addition to the players who moved on, some did so on their own, forcing the Wildcats into certain situations personnel-wise. Dylan Randall, who contributed heavily as a freshman, is out because of multiple concussions suffered last season. Others just decided not to play dropping a roster that numbered 50 in Harmon’s second year to only 35. Of the players Harmon has, he likes them. Delmetrius Reddick takes over at quarterback, replacing multi-year starter Konnor Amis. In the backfield, Rodderick Young will be the tailback. Each situation is unique. Reddick will take the job back under center, something Amis seldom did in the Wildcats’ spread-look offense. With open tryouts for the position in the spring, Harmon said the former running back/wide receiver separated

himself from the rest. “He just keeps getting better and better every day,” Harmon said. “He’s pretty raw, but he’s reads well and he’s vocal enough to play the position.” When Reddick turns around to hand it off, Young gives him a body as big as those making the holes. When the experiment with Young started, he tipped the scales at 260. While Harmon notes he’s dropped a few pounds and toned up, too, he estimates he’s still pushing 250. But it’s another chapter in the more physical experience – because if nothing else, 250 pounds running downhill isn’t going to finesse even a rhino. “It’s not a complete stretch from what I’ve done in the past,” Harmon said of being under center. “We’re still going to run a lot of the two-back stuff, but under center it’s going to happen Making it all go will be the boys in the trenches, and those are who Harmon is the most excited about. Six players – Chris McCain, Zach Burgess, Casey Miller, Adam Smith, Jacob Nesbitt and Dustin Ford --- will play on the line from left to right with Smith and Nesbitt rotating at right guard, as Nesbitt plays a key role as the anchor of the defensive line. Smith and Nesbitt are also the only non-seniors of the bunch. McCain is the project of the line,

but don’t take as he’s any further behind the rest. Harmon had concerns in the off-season about his quick tackle being able to make the pull blocks and isolation blocks on linebackers necessary in his offense. What he did wasn’t try to make a lineman quicker, but find someone quick and make them a lineman. “He can get out there when we pull them,” Harmon said of the runt of the line. “And then he can get out there and block a linebacker or a corner in space. “Before when we tried to do that with a 250-pound lineman, it got ugly quick.” Logan Giddens moved from fullback to take over the empty spot left by graduation at tight end and the focal point of the defense. When Harmon preaches physicalness, he said Giddens personifies his message. He’s pleased with the progress of the rest of the defense players, too, but knows the toll of a full season could quickly become their undoing. “I think we’re getting better,” he said. “And coach (Chad) Hudson does a great job with our defense. “We just don’t have a ton of depth over there.”

anita kilgore // LEFT White Plains varsity football team and varsity cheerleaders. ABOVE Head Coach Heath Harmon.

They’ve got spirit Squad ready to rile up Wildcat fans By david jennings Sports News Writer

The White Plains High School Cheerleaders are pumped up and ready to cheer. This will be WPHS Cheerleading Coach Kerry Shaw’s fourth year leading the Wildcats cheering squad. She says that the girls have been practicing and are ready to go. This year there are 13 squad members: two seniors, one junior, six sophomores and four freshmen. Like last year, over half the team is made up of underclassmen. continued on page 39

wildcat 2011 Schedule Aug 26 Sept 2 Sept 9 Sept 16 Sept 23 Sept 30 Oct 7 Oct 14 Oct 21 Oct 28

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34 / august 2011

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Red, White Plains, and Blue Brigade The Brigade is back and this year they are taking their show on the road

courtesy photos // FAR LEFT: Spring Garden Blue Brigade marching band headed by drum major Patton Lenard. TOP LEFT: Blue Brigade danceline: Katie Gossett, Danielle Zickafoose, Faith McMichael, Kimberly Barley. ABOVE: Blue Brigade colorguard: Heather Turner (Captain), Ariel Edwards, Hannah Oswalt, Frannie Jones, Angellynn McDaniel. LEFT: Blue Brigade majorettes: Brooke Kandziorski (Captain), Kelsey Lenard, Savannah Leonard, Raegan Thompson.

By david jennings news Editor, Jax News White Plains High School’s Marching Band, the Blue Brigade, has always dominated when it comes to putting on a spectacular field show. Last year’s, “iRock: An American Download”, thrilled audiences with a tribute to America’s rockin’ musical past. That was Band Director Wendy Etter’s first year leading the band. For 2011’s field show, she still focuses on American songs, albeit in a new and exciting way. This year’s show is called “Entertaining America: Celebrating the Entertainment Industries’ salute to America!” It is a unique look at the songs and entertainers all with the underlying theme of America. “We are doing the Entertaining America theme for a few reasons,” said Etter. “First, the band is going to New York City to perform in the New York City Veteran’s Day Parade, and this is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. So, I thought Patriotic and America

would be appropriate.” The show’s opening number starts off, like many immigrants looking to come to America, in “New York, New York” from MGM studio’s “On the Town” starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelley. Next, a drum solo inspired by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” that will also feature a guitarist and bass player. The opener will finish by tying together the 21st Century groove of “Empire State of Mind” with the melody of “New York, New York.” New to the brigade’s auxiliary, the dance line and majorettes will get a chance to show off more of their skills and talents during the Elton John favorite, “Philadelphia Freedom”. “The closer pays a more somber tribute to America and the events of 9/11 with Elvis’ American Trilogy,” said Etter. “We are starting the Trilogy with Amazing Grace, and then it goes to “All My Trials” and concludes with a powerful “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Expect to see whatever field

they perform on to be filled with red, white and blue. Also expect to see the crowd on its feet. The field show is going to be big, but the Brigade can handle it. This year the band is 29 members strong. Patton Lenard will lead the group as the drum major and Heather Turner stands out as the band’s lone senior. This November, the Blue Brigade will be taking their show on the road … all the way to New York. “We are very excited about going to New York,” said Etter. “We will perform on November 10th in the Band of Pride Tribute Band which is comprised of all of the bands who will march in the parade. This group will perform on Times Square. We will get to

tour the 9/11 Memorial, go on a “Sounds of the City” Tour to see various important musical venues and locations throughout the city, and see “Spiderman” on Broadway. On Veterans’ Day we will march in the Veterans’ Day parade down Fifth Avenue. That evening we will go on a dinner cruise on the Hudson River past the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and NYC Skyline. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,

and thanks to the fundraising efforts of the band and the support of community members and various business and clubs we are able to make this trip possible for the entire band. As always, band members, parents and fans can keep in touch and get updated information about the band and auxiliary members by heading over to their website: www.thebluebrigade.org.

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2011 football preview

august 2011 / 35

jacksonville state university Gamecocks to be in dogfight after dogfight By lori tippets Sports Correspondent Speaking to the press at JSU’s Media Days, Head Coach Jack Crowe promised that this season would be, “a dogfight, after a dogfight, after a dogfight; starting with UT-Martin. It will be worth the price of admission,” said Crowe. It was a disappointing season last year that saw the Gamecocks knock off Ole Miss in their opening game and go on to within one half of a game of being ranked the No. 1 team in the nation before losing three of their last four games, finishing the season 9-3. Crowe, who lifted up his ring finger to display his OVC championship ring garnered after the 2003 season, gave a sense of desperation about winning an OVC championship this year. The Gamecocks have been picked to win the OVC several times, including this year, but haven’t brought home an OVC championship since 2004. Crowe says he wears the ring, “to remind me and to remind the players. I stick it in front of the players all the time and ask them, ‘How many of you guys have one of these?’ and no one does…that’s not good,” remarked Crowe who continued, “We have to get back to the championship level. I have told them that I’m not going to handle this well if that’s not where we end up.” The Gamecocks lost a slew of seniors last year, but have senior experience this year in several slots. Most notably will be senior captains quarterback Marquez Ivory on offense and Jamison Wadley at defensive end. Ivory, who will be starting for his second year at quarterback for the Gamecocks, had an incredible season last year, finishing third in the OVC in total

offense with over 196 yards per game, passing for 187 yards per game and completed 181 of 309 passes for 18 touchdowns and 2,248 yards. Ivory has slimmed down for this year’s season, losing over 30 pounds and looks fit and trim to lead his team. As captain, Ivory will be looked at not only for his on-field performance but for how he guides his team off the field as well, especially in the mental aspects of the game. He doesn’t want to repeat what happened last year and wants the younger players to be on board. “I’ll tell them to remember the feelings we had when we lost,” said Ivory. “I never want to experience that again.” Coach Crowe has stated that he wants to go back to establishing a running game for the Gamecocks, which pleases Ivory. “Running opens up the passing game, we’ll be great if we can just run,” said Ivory. Of course passing comes second nature to Ivory and with a talented corps of receivers he should be putting up big numbers again. “We have good receivers coming back and I’m comfortable with all four receivers,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who is in the game at all, I trust them all; third down, fourth down, last play of the game, I can throw to any one of them.” Anchoring the defense will be Wadley, who Crowe feels is one of the most respected players on the team. Married, and a father, Wadley has extra duties placed on him that the average college player doesn’t have to deal with and he takes it all in stride. Living in Rainbow City, Wadley gets up earlier than most to take care of his duties at home before heading out to practice. A very responsible individual, Wadley is ready to do what it

lori tippets // Left Jacksonville State University head coach Jack Crowe and running back transfer from the University of Georgia Washun Ealey.

takes to get his team to that championship level. He will use what happened to the team last year as a building block. “Last year when we beat Ole Miss it shot everyone’s expectations up. It was like championship or bust,” explained Wadley. “I don’t know if we were mentally ready for that as a team. “This year we’ve already been there and done that. We have a solid group of seniors so I think we’re more mentally prepared and we know what we need to do. We have all those jitters out of the way and we know what to expect. As a team we are willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship this year.” While Ivory and Wadley will draw a lot of attention, this year all eyes will be focused on Georgia transfer Washaun Ealey. Ealey, who had the position of No. 1 running back before even stepping on the JSU campus, led

Georgia in rushing for two years. He was ranked 10th in the SEC in rushing and named pre-season all SEC his sophomore year. Ealey will be a punishing runner. At 5-11, 215, Ealey is built like a tank, and wears down defenders during the course of the game. Crowe grouped him with names like Hershel and Bo before he introduced him to the press. “He’s a power back,” said Crowe. “One of those guys that the more they get the ball the more effective they are. I can see in Washaun that he is that kind of back. He’ll wear you down. You’ll not want to tackle him; he’s got the ability to make you miss. “He’s a guy that will get you to the fourth quarter and in the fourth quarter will separate you from everyone else. He’s exactly the kind of back we need right now.”

Crowe knows that he needs his team mentally prepared to win the OVC this year and feels that they are ready. “I think we crossed over to a point where the mental point of it doesn’t mess with us like it used to. One requirement that I have is that we are better after we play than we were before playing it.” Crowe says that his team is well aware of the fact that the OVC championship has eluded them. “This is at a point of critical,” reported Crowe. “I don’t mind saying it; I promise you they feel it.” While Ole Miss was a big opening game for the Gamecocks last year, this years game could be even more important as JSU opens up at home with a conference game against UT-Martin. The Gamecocks know that the road to winning the OVC begins right here at home.


36 / august 2011

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august 2011 / 37

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Auburn to rebuild By dustin holmes Sports Correspondent The honeymoon is over. Long over for the Auburn Tigers and their BCS National Championship. Their star quarterback, Cam Newton, went the way of many college basketball stars and was one and done. Their star defensive lineman followed suit to the NFL, too. And count the overwhelming majority of offensive lineman, two wide receivers and countless other role players among the group of Tigers who won’t be buckling the chinstrap on a white helmet again this season. But as any good Auburn fan and the bulk of the Southeastern Conference will tell you, before the first football was kicked off last season, few predicted the accolades that Cam Newton and Nick Fairley would earn – and in the process, bring the Tigers. It’s pleasant surprises like that that gives the Auburn family hope for this 2011 season, one many prognosticators see wrapping up long before the benchmark of a good season, a bowl game that’s played on or after New Year’s Day. And their head coach, too. “I don’t know who will be the next Cam Newton or Nick Fairley,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said at SEC Media Days in late July. “What I want is a bunch of guys in there that love football, they love academics, they love Auburn, and guys that lay it on the line like those guys do to give them an opportunity to be productive like them.  “Hard to replace – we all know that. If I stood up here and said anything different, that wouldn’t be the truth. At the end of the day, we got some great young

players and hopefully we’ll get some guys that are productive as well.”   Where the Tigers do have promise is with players like running back Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, one of the top backfield tandums in the league. Pair that pair with offensive coordinator – called a genius by many – with Gus Malzahn, and saying the sky is the limit for his creativeness, is doing disrespect to the horizon. But Malzahn, who has been called Harry Potter for his magic and trademark glasses, will have to reach deep into his top hat to recreate the wonder he’s pulled off before. The offensive line has but one starter returning. But he’s a good one. Brandon Mosley (6-foot-6, 306, Sr.) will anchor the group with tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen helping out from time to time. AJ Greene is back from injury and true freshmen Greg Robinson and Christian Westerman are living up to their high billing coming out of high school. But even with talent there, they’ll have a tough time taking the heat off of whoever ends up under center in the opener. For a while, the race to replace Newton was assumed to be a battle between Barrett Trotter (Jr.) and Clint Mosley (So.). But as the summer practices have progressed, Kiehl Frazier has gotten just as many kudos as anybody. The true freshman is the dualthreat that fits in perfectly with Malzahn’s offense, and he ran a similar one in his days at Shiloh Christian. The mindset of the staff may be the biggest decision in not only who is the starter at the beginning of the season, but more importantly, who is the starter at

the end. Does having Frazier at the helm – whenever it may come – signal a play-for-next-year mentality, or is he actually the option that gives the Tigers the best option to win? Only time will tell there, but as even a SEC football novice will tell you: You won’t get far in the league without a solid defense. And oddly enough at Auburn, that has become one of the more overlooked aspects of the Tigers. With the flash of Newton and the brilliance of Malzahn, it’s been easy to do. Even last year, the unit didn’t get the credit it probably deserved. Even after being the top rushing defense in the league last year, everyone predicted an offense shootout in the championship game with Oregon, but the Tigers played opportunistically and held the stephen gross, consolidated news service // Tigers Ducks to less than 20 points. coach Gene Chizik. Even with only three starters returning on that side of the ball and Chizik, who made his living will tell you that, but we’re going “We moved on when the plane fine tuning those units before to work hard to get there.” landed in Montgomery on Jan. becoming a head coach, he said And Chizik doesn’t mind tell- 11,” he said. he’s got all the faith in the world ing one other thing: He’s OK that Ted Roof can get the job with a short honeymoon. done. “Ted Roof does a phenomenal job,” Chizik said. “I’ve got a lot of trust in him, and we’ll continue to improve on defense as the years go. “… Look, we 613 N. Main Street • Piedmont, AL 36272 haven’t arrived everywhere as a defense. Every one of our coaches www.piedmontoutdoor.net and players

Go Auburn Tigers!


38 / august 2011

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How far can the Crimson Tide go? By dustin holmes Sports Correspondent If you’re an optimist, you look at Alabama’s No. 2 preseason ranking and start wondering just where you’ll stay – on Bourbon Street or near the courtyard. If you’re a pessimist, well, you’re probably not an Alabama fan. But your coach is. Or at the very least a realist. Nick Saban started to quell the fervor on his time at the podium at the Southeastern Conference’s media days in late July. “It’s always a challenge to have the right kind of team chemistry, your team have the right stuff,” Saban said. “I feel like this team has the ingredients for that, but that’s always the challenge, because the consistency and performance is what helps you have successful seasons, especially in a league that’s as challenging as ours in terms of the number of good teams.”  And he does have a point – but few are listening. Alabama has a quarterback – whoever it turns out to be – people know little about outside of what the hype machines (also known as recruiting services) pumped about the stars when they were heralded high school players. The Tide also has lost major playmakers in Mark Ingram and Julio Jones on offense and Marcel Dareus on defense who can’t be replaced. “We have question marks on our team,” Saban said. “How we respond, how we address these questions marks on our team are going to certainly determine the consistency that our team can

play with throughout the season.  We have difficult games, like everybody in our league does. How we address the challenges of our team and play with consistency are going to determine the kind of success that we can have.” The one position that worries Alabama fans the least has to be at running back. Much like the popularity of a backup quarterback, many deemed Trent Richardson as talented – if not more so – as Ingram. Now, Richardson and his wideopen style will be Batman of the backfield with Eddie Lacy being his Robin in the two-running back style that Saban haås worked to perfection throughout his career. Richardson proved ready for the spotlight having some of his best games in the 2010 season when Ingram was out due to injury. With Alabama returning four of its five offensive linemen, the running game could be even better than it was a year ago. While Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze are capable, they aren’t the flashy, game-changing threats Jones was. And while Phillip Sims and A.J. McCarron may have more raw talent than Greg McElroy, neither will be as savy. And with the defense that Alabama is prepared to put on the field, that may be what the Tide needs more than anything: An offense that can put 20 points on the board and not make any fatal errors at the quarterback position. Alabama has taken that defense first formula and ridden it to national championships in the past.

With the group the Crimson Tide has assembled on that side of the ball, it’s the biggest reason why many are pointing to the Crimson Tide as favorites to give the SEC yet another championship. Even with Dareus gone, the bulky bodies on the defensive line and the fine-tuned talent in the linebacking corps will make it next near impossible for teams to run. Dont’a Hightower is the key man among the linebacking corps that has produced NFL-ready players in back-to-back seasons. While Hightower was sidelined by injury, Saban likes what he’s seen so far and could be next in line to carry the linebacking torch for the Tide. “He’s got his explosive quickness back, his burst in pass-rush, playing with a little bit more speed, which is more like he played before his injury,” Saban said. “So he has had a really, really good off-season, really good spring practice, and a great summer. “He has demonstrated some leadership qualities that will certainly be important to our entire team.”  And while the secondary was spotty in 2010, a year of experience could have the unit primed to be one of the best in the country. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester, who led the team with eight interceptions, all return. Saban calls the group a different unit than he’s had in year’s past. He won’t say whether they are more of les talented --- there’s too many intangibles that will determine that answer at the end of the season

TRENT PENNY, CONSOLIDATED NEWS SERVICE // Alabama running back Trent Richardson looks for running room.

“I think we have some good players coming back on defense that have talent and experience,” he said. “ But I think it goes right back to the thing that I said before: Are we going to take that talent and experience and challenge ourselves to a high standard of what we want to accomplish or is that going to create a comfort zone for our players in thinking that they

don’t need to work as hard, they don’t need to invest the time, they don’t need to pay attention to detail like you definitely need to, because the competitive edge is like that much.  “You have to do all these other things in terms of preparation, how you rest, how you study, how you sort of master the plan so that you can go out there and execute together as a group.”


august 2011 / 39

>> 2011 football preview

WILDCATS CHEERSQUAD: Will rally up the crowd this season from page 33

anita kilgore // White Plains varsity cheerleading squad. Front row from left, Shawndia Conley, Haylie Whiteside, co-captain, Haley Rowe and Micaela Truett. Middlle row from left, Hannah Cronan, Harlie Vines, Laina Martin, Cassie Tims, captain, Sarah Williams and Britney Bates. Back row from left, Jacy Jenkins, Pilar McGuirk, co-captain, Erica McGuirk and Victoria Ginn.

PVHS Football: from page 24

some playing time. At split end Davis expects to see some rotation between Riley Morgan, Brett Langston, Austin Tate and Dayton Boozer. On defense Davis says that he has seen good things from Ethan Lambert at linebacker as well as Garrett Veazey, Ridge Andrews and Chris Deerman. “We have a good linebacker corps that we can rotate,” said Davis. “We’re further ahead at linebacker than we’ve been in 2-3 years.” The front line will be anchored by Dustin Andrews and Austin Tate at defensive end and Landon Gilbert who has been on the line for three years. The secondary will be manned by junior Jonathon Oliver, Michael Dean Roe and Will Hamby. Davis is assisted by Darren Hamby, Robby Davis, Anthony

Players will be getting more field time

Finley and Ronnie Preston, men whom Davis has a lot of admiration for. “I love to watch our coaches,” said Davis. “They do a great job. They love our kids and that’s what we’re here for; we’re here to give them guidance. They are good role models. The Raiders will be tested right from the very start as they open up regular season play with a region game against an always tough Sand Rock team in a home game. Things don’t get any easier as the next week they are on the road in another region game against Westbrook followed by the team that Davis says to be on the lookout for, North Sand Mountain. Also in the same region as Pleasant Valley are Victory Christian, Section, Ohatchee, Fyffe and Ider. The Raiders will play two non-region games against White Plains and Jacksonville.

anita kilgore // Pleasant Valley varsity cheerleading squad. Front row from left, Chandler Burgess, captain, Jordan Cash. Middle row from left, Savannah Tant, Meghan Shakelford and Blakeli Bolt. Back row from left, Cameron Glass, Chelsea Ward, Kelsey Feiner and Kaci Johnson.

But, don’t let that fool you, these Wildcats are at the top of their game and they have already proven it when they went pompom to pom-pom with other area cheer teams. “We have spent the summer preparing for the upcoming football season; as well as, preparing for completions this fall,” said Shaw. “We attended UCA camp this summer in Panama City Beach, Florida, where we placed second in both cheer and extreme routine. Cassie Tims and Sarah Williams were named All American Cheerleaders.” Tims will lead the squad as captain. Helping her will be cocaptains: Pilar McGuirk and Haylie Whiteside. No matter the venue, Shaw says that her girls are ready to steal the show. “This is a great group of girls and I look forward to seeing them shine on the field, court, and competition floor,” said Shaw.

anita kilgore // ABOVE PVHS Raiders head football coach Jeff Davis.


40 / august 2011

>> 2011 football preview

“I’m alive today thanks to Dr. Yates and Jacksonville Medical Center.” – Dr. Bill Meehan

Thank you for continuing to rank us as number one in patient satisfaction in Etowah and Calhoun Counties.*

In 2003, Dr. Bill Meehan (right) was in his fourth year as president of Jacksonville State University. It was almost his last. “I was walking across campus when I noticed some tightness in my chest,” remembers Bill, now in his twelfth

256-435-4970 256-435-4970

www.jacksonvillemedicalcenter.com www.jacksonvillemedicalcenter.com

year. “I also had shortness of breath and pain in my left arm. I knew that what I was experiencing might be the signs of a serious heart problem, but I didn’t take the time to do anything about it. About a week later, after riding my bike, I noticed the same symptoms. I called Dr. James Yates (left), who told me to meet him at the Emergency Room at Jacksonville Medical Center.” An EKG revealed that Bill had 99 percent blockage in his left descending artery! “There’s no doubt about it,” says Bill. “Dr. Yates and Jacksonville Medical Center saved my life. With 9,500 students and more than 1,000 employees, I imagine someone from the university family is always receiving medical care at Jacksonville Medical Center. And over the years my three children have used the hospital’s Emergency Department. It’s just good to know that my family and the people at this university are in good hands.”

*That’s according to HealthStream Research in a comparison of all hospitals in Etowah and Calhoun counties.See for yourself how area hospitals are rated at www.HospitalCompare.hhs.gov


2011 Football Preview  

The football preview section from The Jacksonville News and Piedmont Journal.

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