Page 1

Section c

WedneSday, aUGUSt 24, 2011

2011 HigH ScHool Football Preview

ROuGH & TOuGH 20

Thomas, shanks lead lions uproar Every year there’s always debate as to who is the best pound-for-pound high school football player in Autauga and Elmore counties. The Progress has thrown its hat into the ring of competitive banter with its “Rough & Tough 20” 2011 preseason rankings. By Cortez Strickland

1. Justin Thomas

6. Lorenza Cooper

11. Jay Minor

16. Bailey Hansen

QB | Prattville | Sr.

RB | Marbury | Sr.

DL | Prattville | Sr.

DB | Edgewood | Jr.

If Thomas can avoid those nagging leg injuries, he’ll show why numerous SEC and ACC schools continue to recruit him despite his verbal commitment to Alabama. A stellar season by this quarterback could mean another state championship for the Lions.

2. Justin Shanks DL | Prattville | Sr.

The attention for Shanks, who committed to Florida State, went to another level over the summer behind his impressive camp outings. However, his onthe-field output hasn’t matched those numbers of other highprofiled stars. Stay tuned.

3. Caleb Gulledge OL | Prattville | Sr.

One of two Tide commitments at Prattville, Gulledge’s size and quickness off the line make him a perfect fit for the up-tempo scheme of Lions coach Jamey DuBose.

4. Kevin Lacey QB | Wetumpka | Sr.

The switch to quarterback should be an interesting process for the 6-foot-6 former defensive back. If he can make quick adjustments, expect programs like Oregon State to soon offer a scholarship.

5. Austin Golson OL | Prattville | Jr.

With two seasons still remaining to improve and grow, the FSU commitment should be in the running for the nation’s top prep linemen by season’s end.

As perhaps the most underrated player in Autauga County, Cooper amassed more than 1,400 all-propose yards in a tough region that included 3A heavyweights Leeds and Handley.

The 6-foot-2 defensive lineman is one of three Prattville teammates who have already given a verbal to South Alabama. He was one of the Lions’ top sack leaders, collecting a dozen a season ago.

7. O.J. Howard

12. Jalen Whitlow

WR | Autauga Academy | Jr.

Like Shanks, the on-field production hasn’t equaled his off-season national attention. There’s more than enough time for Howard, an Alabama commitment for 2013, to mature as a playmaker.

QB | Prattville | Sr.


No one can argue Whitlow’s talent or ability. If you don’t think so, ask your self how can someone who played mainly as the backup quarterback secure an offer from Arkansas State?

8. Derrick Moncrief

13. Arie Anderson

DB | Prattville | Sr.

DL | Stanhope Elmore | Jr.

A playmaker in the true sense of the word. A hardhitting defensive back with a mean streak. Southern Miss is getting a good one.

A key cog in the defensive machine at Stanhope Elmore, Anderson finished with 81 tackles and a pair of sacks as a sophomore. He’ll be counted on more this season due to the program’s large graduation number on his side of the ball.

9. Dedrien Lucas DL | Wetumpka | Sr.

Lucas’ non-stop motor was one of the main reasons why the Tribe’s secondary caused so much trouble for opposing quarterbacks.

10. Laronji Vason DB | Prattville | Sr.

A get-in-your-face cornerback who can be left on an island by himself with the opposing team’s top receiver. He has already given a verbal commitment to Wake Forest.


14. Bradley Steele OL | Prattville | Sr.


He’s the one of four starting linemen to have already committed, pledging his alliance with South Alabama, which also got a verbal from follow lineman and teammate Terrance Jones.

15. De’Ante Lawrence

He had more than 100 tackles, six interceptions and five fumble recoveries. And it was just his first season as a full-time starter, so expect to see those numbers go up.

17. JaQuille Ellis RB | Holtville | Jr.

Ellis created some buzz for himself despite being in a deep and loaded backfield in the Dawgs’ “Spin” offense. Whether at receiver or running back, he’ll keep defenses honest.

18. Jonathan Pearson LB | Prattville Christian | Sr.

Pearson’s abilities at linebacker have caught the eye of Wake Forest and Western Kentucky, among others. He had 77 tackles and three sacks a year ago.

19. Kenterrious Tyree RB | Stanhope Elmore | So.

With the backfield less crowded now, Tyree should be the featured back for the run-first, run-second offensive scheme of Mustangs coach Jeff Foshee.

20. Keyvon Owens DL | Marbury | Sr.

A late bloomer, Owens has generated some interest from several state colleges including Alabama State, Tuskegee and Faulkner.

LB | Prattville | Sr.

An all-around and versatile performer who committed to Southern Miss. Lawrence might just be the best athlete of the two counties.

top: photoS by Mickey WelSh and lloyd GallMan/advertiSer left: advertiSer file photoS

INSIDE » Prattville 2-3C » Prattville Christian Academy 4C » Marbury 5C » East Memorial 6C » Billingsley 7C » Autauga Academy 8C » 2011 Football Schedules 8C » Stanhope Elmore 9C » Autaugaville 10C


Prattville PROGRESS

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

PRATTVILLE LIONS AHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 » 2010 Record: 8-4 (lost to Wetumpka 26-23 in two overtimes in the second round of Class 6A playoffs. Defeated Phenix City Central in first round 42-14).

MAINTAINING RANK Lions enter season as one of state’s, nation’s top teams By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser


Prattville quarterback Justin Thomas said he knows other teams will have the Lions in their sights this season. MICKEY WELSH/ADVERTISER

rattville rolls into the 2011 season as a preseason favorite to compete for the state championship. The Lions were knocked out in the second round last fall and the majority of players will return. It has been a who’s who of college coaches at the Prattville Athletic Building during the spring recruiting season. Quarterback Justin Thomas played most of the 2010 season hobbled by a knee injury that required surgery over the winter. He is expected to fully recover by the start of the fall season. Thomas has an excellent arm and blazing speed. He will have a host of available targets. Senior Brandon Smith was on the receiving end of 45 passes for 448 yards at the National Select 7-on7 tournament in Hoover in July. Senior Nick Shanks grabbed 27 for 317 yards.

Prattville finished second to defending state champion Daphne in a field of 32 teams from 15 different states at the prestigious tournament. Senior running back George Rowe also picked up 485 receiving yards at the tournament. Seniors Kordell Arrington, Jeremiah Gardner, Nate Albert, Mike Smith and sophomore Denzel Jones all are excellent receivers. Following the tournament, head coach Jamey DuBose said he “left our best players at home.” DuBose was referring to talented defensive linemen and offensive lineman. The Lions return offensive linemen Rann Causey (6-0, 240), Jordan McQueen (6-3, 280), Austin Golson (6-6, 260), Bradley Steele (6-3, 310), Nole Jones (6-5, 268) and Terrance Jones (6-3, 260). One recruiting website ranks defensive lineman Justin Shanks (6-3, 305) as Continued On Page 3C

Player profiles Caleb Gulledge » Year: Sr. » Position: OL » Ht./Wt.: 6-6/280 “The atmosphere of Friday night games — the love for the game is most precious at the high school level.” Justin Shanks » Year: Sr. » Position: » DL » Ht./Wt.: 6-3/305 When asked what he loved about high school Shanks replied: “Sacking quarterbacks.”

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

Prattville PROGRESS


PRATTVILLE LIONS AHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 » 2010 Record: 8-4 (lost to Wetumpka 26-23 in two overtimes in the second round of Class 6A playoffs. Defeated Phenix City Central in first round 42-14).

The Prattville Lions, with numerous seniors returning on both sides of the ball, are ranked No. 1 in the country by MICKEY WELSH/ADVERTISER

the No. 1 prospect in the state, with Caleb Gulledge (6-6, 280) the No. 13. Other defensive linemen include Jay Minor (6-2, 230), Jherron Jones (5-10, 280) and linebackers Se’Courtney Gardner (6-0220), De’Ante Lawrence (61, 180). Lawrence can also play running back. Prattville is blessed with defensive backs beginning with seniors Laronji Vason, Derrick Moncrief, Lawon Debardelaben and Mike Smith and juniors Cory Jones, Jalel Gilbert, and Christian Reese. The Lions lost kicker Chris Kennedy, who’s now at Georgia Military School. However, kicking coach Mike McCabe has junior Daniel Marshall and senior Brian Curry vying for the starting role. DuBose approaches the season with cautious optimism. The Lions are ranked No. 1 by in its preseason rankings of the top 100 high school teams in the country. “I know we are getting a lot of preseason hype, but that’s what it is, hype,” DuBose said. “Looking at our schedule on any night we can get beat. We start the season in Birmingham with the No. 4 team in America, St. Thomas Aquinas. They won the Florida big school state championship last year, and were undefeated and ended the season ranked No. 2 in the state. “You could say that’s our toughest opponent, but any time you play the schools in our region week in and week out, you have to play your best. All of the region schools are going to be better. We’re not looking over anyone and will play the schedule game by game. “Certainly, we have some talented kids. But many things can play a part in a successful season, such as injuries, too many penalties, silly mistakes, and believe it not, having a lot of luck. The ball is not round.” Thomas, 18, echoed DuBose’s thoughts. “I hope to have a good

year and avoid the nagging injuries,” Thomas said. “We certainly set our goals high, and we know we will be a marked team. We’ll go out and play to our best ability and see what happens.” Gulledge, 18, also feels that the team will have high expectations. “This is a team with a lot of seniors on it,” Gulledge said. “Most of us have been together for three to four years, and have set our standards high. We feel like we fell short of our goals last year, and want to try and correct those mistakes and get back on the winning track. If we can stay healthy we could have a great season, hope so anyway.” Notes: Forty-five seniors return with the class having 15 Division 1A scholarship offers. The team expects to have another 10 sign with smaller schools. Some of the commitments include: QB Justin Thomas (Alabama), OL/DL Caleb Gulledge (Alabama), OL Bradley Steele (South Alabama) and Terrance Jones (South Alabama), DB Derrick Moncrief (Southern Mississippi); DB Lajonri Vason (Wake Forest), QB Jalen Whitlow

Head coach Jamey DuBose

(Arkansas State), Austin Golson (Florida State) and DL Justin Shanks (Florida State). The Lions are 1-4 when facing out-of-state schools since 2008. The program’s lone win came against Tennessee’s Brentwood Academy.

» Age: 41 » Experience: He begins his fourth season. DuBose is a native of Opp, where he played football for the legendary coach Jamie Riggs. He has two young sons from first marriage, and his wife Tracey, has two sons, Lance, 18, and Austin, 16, from her first marriage. DuBose began his high school coaching career in 1993 at Eufaula High. He was head coach at Susan Moore High in Blountsville, for two seasons. His career record is 43-19 (Susan Moore 10-11 and Prattville 33-8).

I know we are getting a lot of preseason hype, but that’s what it is, hype. — Jamey DuBose, head coach

Continued from Page 2C


Prattville PROGRESS

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

PRATTVILLE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY PANTHERS AISA Class 3A Region 2 » 2010 Record: 9-3 (lost in first round playoffs to Pike Liberal Arts 34-16)

TAKING THE NEXT STEP Panthers hoping region success will fuel state title dreams By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser


At left, Quandarius Vickers stops Shawan Parks during football practice. The Panthers lost their first game 21-14 to Autauga Academy last week. At right, Nick Nettles works out during preseason practice. PHOTOS BY LLOYD GALLMAN Ousley. Michael Lynam (senior halfback) and Jonathan Pearson (senior running back) will also play a vital role in our offense.” The Panthers return seniors Nick Friday, Tyler Brannon and Aaron Reynolds on the offensive line. Defensively, Pearson (6-0/200) is an all-metro linebacker, while Connor McKenzie returns as a senior linebacker and can play H-back. Pearson is excited about his senior season. He has interest from Western Kentucky, Samford, Jacksonville State and Harding

There is no doubt that this year’s team has worked harder, longer and with more enthusiasm that any other season. — Edward Todd Jr., WR/KR

University. “We have been working very hard this summer,” Pearson said. “It has been the best summer since I have been here. We hope all the extra work we have put in will help us get to Troy. We have set the bar high for this year’s team, and our expectations are not just to make the playoffs,

n his second year, Grey Powell’s Prattville Christian Academy squad finished second in a tough region of the largest classification in AISA. The Panthers had opportunity to win the region, but lost back-to-back home games to Pike Liberal Arts and Bessemer Academy. “We hope to be able to play up to our potential,” Powell said. “This will be the first senior class at PCA that actually began their careers on the very first PCA team in the seventh grade. It is common knowledge that first we must stay healthy, just can’t afford to have injuries to our key personnel, and second eliminate mistakes, such as penalties, and broken assignments, etc. “To win our region we have to beat Morgan, Bessemer and Pike Liberal. And even winning those doesn’t guarantee it. Everybody has good teams in this region.” The Panthers will dress 45 players for varsity games and also field a junior varsity team. The Panthers have 65 players in total. One of those is Alex Powell (coach’s son). Quarterback Jordan Peak (junior) is healthy and already has college recruiter’s interest. Peak has an excellent arm and manages Powell’s spread offense with accuracy. “We run the Gus Malzahn spread and have some kids that can run and catch,” Powell said. “Edward Todd (senior) has good hands and great speed. Others include Barry Jackson (senior) and three juniors Thomas Cotton, Jake Williams and Trey

but advance deeper to Troy for the championship.” Todd has interest from Troy, Samford, Western Kentucky, UAB, North Carolina, Memphis and Wake Forest. Prattville Christian traveled to cross town rival Autauga Academy for the season opener on Aug. 18. The Panthers won last year meeting, 27-6. “There is no doubt that this year’s team has worked harder, longer and with more enthusiasm that any other season,” Todd said. “We have focused on

details of every phase of the game. We have really come together as a team, more like a brotherhood. “It has meant a lot of hard work, and long hours of extra time on our own practicing. Through it all we have honored God, on and off the field.” Notes: Mike Pearson, father of senior linebacker Jonathan, serves as defensive coordinator … The Panthers lost 11 lettermen including record setting running back J. J. Hudson (All-state, all-metro, all county) and offensive lineman Ray Rudolph (all-state, all-metro, and all-county). Rudolph and Hudson played in the AISA all star game along with four other Panthers who have graduated — Michael Gregory (Strong safety) Josh Jones (wide receiver), DeMarcus Geeter (defensive back) and Victor Washington (defensive line) … 16 lettermen return this year including a three-year starter in linebacker Michael Lynam.

Head coach Grey Powell » Age: 37 » Experience: Begins third season at PCA with career record of 16-8. He is a native of Arkansas, where he graduated from Harding University. Following college, he served as assistant coach at several high schools in Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee. He and wife, Sharon, have four children, Alex, Caleb, Haley and Rebekah.

Player profiles Edward Todd. Jr. » Year: Senior » Position: WR/KR » Ht./Wt.: 5-9/160 “This year’s team can accomplish our goals and make plays and the bond we have is better than anything else. We have each other’s back.” Jonathan Pearson

Junior quarterback Jordan Peak will be managing the offense on the field for the Panthers this season.

» Year: Senior » Position: RB/LB » Ht./Wt.: 6-0/200 “The two losses to Pike Lib motivated me. I hate the feeling of losing. I hate it more than I like the feeling of winning and I don’t want to feel it this year.”

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

Prattville PROGRESS



2010 Record: 6-4

KEYS TO DOMINATION Bulldogs have 40 lettermen returning to compete in one of state’s toughest regions

Head coach James Strickland, center, said the Bulldogs will use spread and option offenses this season, while employing a 4-2-5 defense. Photos by Lloyd Gallman/Advertiser

Head coach

By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser

James Strickland


Above, players run drills during preseason practice. Lorenza Cooper, below, is an an all-state running back who registered more than 1,400 all-purpose yards last year.

It is what you do from Monday to Thursday that allows the event to unfold on Friday night. Did you dominate and did you deserve the outcome of the game? — James Strickland, head coach

goals this fall,” Salvato said. “Certainly one of those is to make the playoffs and to compete in every game we play. I know we are in the toughest region in our classification, but we feel we can play with the best, and that is want we are striving to do. “Hopefully, this fall I can play well enough to have the opportunity to play at the next level. As a senior I want to be a leader and help achieve our goals.” Jerry Tyus, a senior running back and defensive back, is looking forward to the challenge. “I will work harder this fall as an individual because I want to show my teammates that we all need to come together and become one in order to keep

ames Strickland begins his second year at Marbury High School as the head coach. He returns a large number of players from last year’s team that played in a rugged region with the Class 3A state champions, Leeds, and two other schools that ended the regular season ranked in the top 12 of class 3A, Clay County (12) and Handley (3). “I talk to our kids and try to explain to them to not worry about the outcome of each game, but to compete in each game, and play as hard as you can,” Strickland said. “When it is over you have either played good, average or bad. Understand how you played in the game then try and dominate in the next game. “It is what you do from Monday to Thursday that allows the event to unfold on Friday night. Did you dominate and did you deserve the outcome of the game? We lost some quality kids last year, but we have some quality coming back.” “We will use the spread and option, and we like to run the ball. (Lorenza) Cooper is very talented, and we have some young kids that are good receivers. A. J. Walton is a senior and has good hands, so we can throw the ball,” Strickland said. Marbury expects to employ a 4-2-5 defense. “I am blessed with a good staff; all of them have been here at Marbury so they know our kids.” Strickland said. “We play in a rough region, but we will play as hard as we can, and these kids will work hard, and certainly we will strive to improve week by week.” Senior linebacker Nick Salvato said he was anxious for the season to get under way. “We have set some team

the team at a high level,” Tyus said. “ We fell short of some goals last year, and we want to compete with all the region teams regardless of their high rankings. “We are going to take the season one game at a time, and concentrate on that game each week. Hopefully we will have a good season and make the playoffs. I am a senior and want to go to college and study physical therapy.” Notes: The Bulldogs have 40 lettermen returning … Jerome Barrington serves as the defensive coordinator … The Bulldogs’ region produced the state Class 3A champions, Leeds. Four of their opponents (Marbury’s four defeats) were ranked in the top 10 at least once during the season (Leeds, Handley, Clay County and Walter Wellborn).

» Age: 43 » Experience: In his second year, Strickland is no stranger to the area. He was an assistant coach at Prattville High School for seven years (one year with Tommy Lucas and seven years under Bill Clark). During his tenure at Prattville, the Lions went 70-16 and were state runner-up in 2004. He left Prattville and went to Marbury for two years as an assistant, and then joined Chad Anderson at Wetumpka as the offensive coordinator for three seasons. During his Wetumpka career, the Indians went 26-10 and scored 889 points. Wetumpka advanced to the quarterfinals all three season under Strickland’s offense. Strickland and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Syndal, 18, and Skylar, 8. He is a graduate of Auburn Montgomery. His career record is 6-4.

Player profiles Jerry Tyus » Year: Sr. » Position: RB/DB » Ht./Wt.: 5-10/165 “I love football because it’s fun and I get to work together with my teammates.” Nick Salvato » Year: Sr. » Position: RB/DB » Ht./Wt.: 5-10/192 “I would like to play college football and earn a business degree. I love Friday night lights and being able to play next to your friends.”


Prattville PROGRESS

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

EAST MEMORIAL WILDCATS AISA Class AAA, Region 2 » 2010 Record: 2-9

SEEKING RESPECTABILITY Wildcats taking steps to turn program in right direction Head coach

By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser

Vic Foxworth


» Age: 50 » Experience: Foxworth will begin his second year of his second tour at EMCA. Foxworth began the football program at EMCA in 2004 and coached two years. He was out of football for four years, returning in the 2010 season. Foxworth and his wife Toni have three adult children, Jason, Vicki, and Lena.

Player profiles Corbin Shaw

Tommy Hammack, clockwise from left, Tommy Burton and Casey Rollan will look to help East Memorial improve on last year’s 2-9 record. The Wildcats lost their first game 55-14 to Edgewood Academy last week. PHOTOS BY MICKEY WELSH/ADVERTISER the team we put on the field will have quality players because most will have a year’s experience in what we want to do. We want to throw the ball and spread it out on offense. “Defensively, we are going to make it simple, we will run the 4-3 and play fundamental, sound defense. Some games might be different. We’ll just adapt to what our opponents run. Most of the teams in the AISA like to run the football, so this is our best defensive scheme to stop the run, a 4-3.” Dashun Bartley is one of the players that Foxworth is counting to have a great season. Bartley, 16, transferred

We’re looking at a lot of youth, but we will have more quality players. — Vic Foxworth, head coach

to East Memorial from Stanhope Elmore High. “I felt more comfortable coming to EMCA because of the environment here as a Christian school,” Bartley said. “Also I knew coach (Jeff) Foshee was going to run the ball more at Stanhope, and here I knew EMCA would use passing plays more frequently. I felt I would have a better opportunity to be noticed for my pass receiving skills.” Bartley’s teammate Corbin Shaw, also 16, didn’t

he East Memorial Wildcats got off to a horrendous start last fall, dropping their first three football games by a combined score of 148-7. “It was a tough start, no doubt,” East Memorial coach Vic Foxworth said. “But I was very proud of the kids, they never quite and always played to the best of their ability until the last game of the season. We had a ton of injuries throughout the season. That’s one of the keys to having a successful season, stay healthy. “The chemistry on this team is much better, and we have more talent, not in numbers, although our numbers could be up from last year.” Other than injuries, Foxworth cited a few other key factors for success this season. “There are also three other things that have to happen for a successful year,” Foxworth said. “One, the injuries, we have to eliminate those, and be more consistent on offense and defense, Second, we have to be more productive in the red zone. Last year we were 23 percent. We can’t do that and win. Three, we have reduce the mistakes, like holding and offside penalties. If we can do those things, then we’ll be competitive.” The Wildcats head into the season with only seven seniors. “We’re looking at a lot of youth, but we will have more quality players,” Foxworth said. “We may be smaller in numbers, but

get to show off his skills as he was hurt the majority of the season. He is completely healthy and ready to get started. “We have been working out three days a week and it is different as night and day from last year’s team,” Shaw said. “We have come together as a team and have been willing to pay the price to get better. When you come in and lift when other students are out having fun in the summer, you realize that you and your teammates are

paying a price to be better, and that’s our goal to improve.” East Memorial will open the season with a road trip to class AA defending state champions Edgewood Academy in Elmore. Bobby Carr’s Wildcats defeated Springwood Academy, 41-0, in last year’s championship game for the school’s second title in three years. Notes: Scott Phillips and David Chambers serve as co-defensive coordinators while Richard Joiner is the team’s offensive coordinator. … The Wildcats have 10 lettermen returning junior quarterback Corbin Shaw, who was injured most of last season, junior running back Timmy Moore and senior offensive tackle and defensive end Joseph Brewton.

» Year: Jr. » Position: QB » Ht./Wt.: 6-4 1/2/185 “I love the bond between teammates and the feeling that you get playing on Friday nights.” Joseph Brewton » Year: Sr. » Position: OT/DE » Ht./Wt.: 6-1/254 “I love being able to fellowship with my teammates and other players.”

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

Prattville PROGRESS


BILLINGSLEY BEARS AHSAA Class 2A, Region 4 » 2010 Record: 3-7

A NEW BIG BOSS McLean aims to bring alma mater back to championship level Head coach

By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser

Tyson McLean


» Age: 39 » Experience: He graduated from Billingsley in 1990, where he was a quarterback and played for coach James Carter’s team that lost two straight Class 1A finals in 1987 and 1988. He graduated from Auburn Montgomery in 2003 with a degree in physical education. He became an assistant football coach at the high school in 2002 under Carter. McLean and wife Angie have one son, Tyler, 16, who is a running back on the current team, and a daughter, Ashley, 21.

Player profiles The Billingsley Bears will use a split backfield or I-formation on offense and 4-4 setup on defense. PHOTOS BY MICKEY WELSH/ADVERTISER ed to be a head coach, and what better situation than to get the chance at your high school alma mater. “I know we lost several outstanding players who left because they were unhappy with some of coach Nettles’ rules. I want to reach out into the community and get those kids back. I am looking forward to it.” McLean will run from a split backfield or the I. “I like to run the ball, but we can throw it and keep the defense honest,” McLean said. He said he would use a 4-4 front on defense. The Bears return senior linebacker Carlos Caver,

This is my first head coach position. I know that we are going to do it the right way, both on and off the field. —Tyson McLean, head coach

and junior lineman Luther Tyus. McLean hopes to mold freshmen Riley Tindol and Cody McGilliard into starters on the line. Billingsley will have an outstanding running back returning in Jimmy Lanier. Devion Hardy, a senior, has the inside track for the starting quarterback position. “I will work hard and do the best I can to get the

ithout a doubt Billingsley coach Tyson McLean has the toughest job in the county. He steps in after former coach Joe Nettles announced that he would resign the first week in July. “We were all shocked when coach Nettles elected to resign,” McLean said. “We had no idea that he wanted to leave.” Despite a 3-7 record, the Bears remained in playoff contention tied with Isabella and Francis Marion for the final spot. Isabella won the final playoff spot, when Francis Marion defeated the Bears 36-6. Billingsley played with an extremely young team. Of the 49 players listed on the fall roster in 2010, only 14 were juniors and seniors. When asked his coaching philosophy, McLean said that he really didn’t know. “This is my first head coach position,” he said. “I know that we are going to do it the right way, both on and off the field. I want to try and reach every young man that wants to be a part of the team. “I know I want the players to win on the field and off, and teach them to be men and to win or lose with class.” Heading into fall practice, McLean estimated 2022 players would be on the team. “I am very excited about the opportunity,” McLean said. “I have always want-

team on the right track.” Hardy said. “We should have a lot of players returning and I am looking forward to leading the team. I’ll do whatever it takes to be a team leader. If coach McLean wants to run the ball we will, or if he wants to throw it we will throw the ball.” Caver another senior said one of the team’s goals will be to win the region.

Matthew Probula

“We want to win our region and get Billingsley back into the playoffs,” Caver said. “I am looking forward to the season and I’ll work hard and try to step up and be a leader. This is my last year and I want the team to go out winning.”

» Year: Jr. » Position: MLB/RB » Ht./Wt.: 5-10/180 “I love the game of football and I love the contact.”

Notes: Billingsley was one of the smallest 2A schools last year ahead of only Cottonwood and Ariton. … The Bears beat Isabella, R. C. Hatch and Central-Hayneville … In addition to losing six seniors, some underclassmen quit the team and others transferred to AISA schools. … J.T. Lawrence is McLean’s assistant coach. McLean hopes to have help from former Dallas County head coach Earl Griffin, who teaches at the school.

Devion Hardy » Year: Sr. » Position: QB/RB » Ht./Wt.: 5-8/203 “I love to learn new things about football. It’s just fun.”


Prattville PROGRESS



Aug. 26 vs. Greenville Sept. 1 at Robert E. Lee Sept. 9 vs. Sidney Lanier Sept. 19 vs. Prattville Sept. 30 vs. Carver Oct. 7 at Benjamin Russell Oct. 13 at Jeff Davis Oct. 21 vs. Stanhope Elmore Oct. 28 vs. Dothan

Aug. 26 at McKenzie Sept. 2 vs. John Essex Sept. 9 at Shades Mtn. Christian Sept. 16 vs. Sunshine Sept. 23 at Montgomery Catholic Sept. 30 at Pickens County Oct. 7 vs. Holy Spirit Catholic Oct. 14 vs. Maplesville Oct. 21 at Keith Oct. 28 vs. St. Jude


Aug. 26 vs. Thompson Sept. 2 at Prattville Sept. 9 vs. Carver Sept. 16 vs. Benjamin Russell Sept. 23 at Dothan Sept. 30 at Jeff Davis Oct. 7 at Sidney Lanier Oct. 14 vs. Robert E. Lee Oct. 21 at Wetumpka Oct. 28 vs. Selma

Aug. 25 at Holtville Sept. 2 at Leeds Sept. 9 at Central-Coosa Sept. 16 vs. Beulah Sept. 23 at Chilton County Sept. 30 vs. Handley Oct. 7 vs. Comer Oct. 14 at Clay County Oct. 21 vs. Walter Wellborn Oct. 28 vs. Jemison



Aug. 25 vs. Marbury Sept. 2 vs. Munford Sept. 9 at Lincoln Sept. 16 vs. Childersburg Sept. 23 at Houston Academy Sept. 30 at Calera Oct. 7 vs. Dadeville Oct. 14 at Beauregard Oct. 21 vs. Elmore County Oct. 28 vs. Alabama Christian

Aug. 26 at Dallas County Sept. 2 at Isabella Sept. 9 vs. Vincent Sept. 16 at Thorsby Sept. 23 vs. Maplesville Sept. 30 vs. Hatch Oct. 7 at American Christian Aca. Oct. 14 vs. Francis Marion Oct. 21 at Central-Hayne Oct. 28 vs. Verbena

Elmore County

Autauga Academy

(Class 4A)

(Class 4A)

Aug. 26 at Alabama Christian Sept. 2 vs. Lincoln Sept. 9 at Munford Sept.16 vs. Calera Sept. 23 vs. Tallassee Sept. 30 at Childersburg Oct. 7 vs. Beauregard Oct. 14 at Dadeville Oct. 21 at Holtville Oct. 28 vs. Trinity

Tallassee (Class 5A)

Aug. 26 at Benjamin Russell Sept. 2 vs. Charles Henderson Sept. 9 at Eufaula Sept. 16 vs. Rehobeth Sept. 23 at Elmore County Sept. 30 at Carroll Oct. 7 vs. Russell County Oct. 14 vs. BTW (Tuskegee) Oct. 21 at Valley Oct. 28 vs. Beauregard

Edgewood Academy (AISA Class AA)

Aug. 18 W, 55-14 vs. E. Memorial Aug. 26 at Evangel Sept. 9 at Lakeside Sept. 16 vs. Morgan Sept. 23 vs. Pickens Sept. 30 at Restoration Oct. 7 vs. Springwood Oct. 14 vs. Abbeville Oct. 21 at Glenwood Oct. 27 at Fort Dale

Prattville (Class 6A)

Aug. 27 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas Sept. 2 vs. Stanhope Elmore Sept. 8 at Robert E. Lee Sept. 16 at Wetumpka Sept. 23 vs. Opelika Sept. 30 vs. Sidney Lanier Oct. 7 at Carver Oct. 14 at Benjamin Russell Oct. 21 vs. Jeff Davis

AISA Class A, Region 2 » 2010 Record: 7-6 (lost to eventual state champion Coosa Valley 15-10 in semifinals after beating Lowndes Academy 37-15 in the first round)


(Class 1A)

Stanhope Elmore (Class 6A)


Generals looking to complete some unfinished business

(Class 3A)

(Class 2A)

(AISA, Class A) Aug. 18 W, 21-14 vs. PCA Aug. 26 at Coosa Valley Sept. 2 vs. Cornerstone Sept. 9 at Jackson Sept. 16 vs. SMCA Sept. 23 vs. Meadowview Sept. 30 at Sparta Oct. 7 vs. Sumter Oct. 14 at Bessemer Oct. 21 vs. Clarke Prep Oct. 28 at Lowndes

Prattville Christian

(AISA, Class AAA) Aug. 18 L, 21-14 at Autauga Acad. Aug. 26 vs. Kingwood Sept. 2 vs. Morgan Sept. 9 at Tuscaloosa Sept. 16 at Escambia Sept. 23 vs. Lee-Scott Sept. 30 at Pike-Liberal Arts Oct. 7 at Bessemer Oct. 14 at E. Memorial Christian Oct. 21 vs. Hooper Oct. 28 vs. Restoration

East Memorial Christian (AISA, Class AAA)

Aug. 18 L, 55-14 at Edgewood Aug. 26 vs. Bessemer Sept. 2 at Restoration Sept. 9 at Hooper Sept. 16 vs. Meadowview Sept. 22 vs. Kingwood Sept. 30 at Morgan Oct. 7 at Tuscaloosa Oct. 14 vs. Prattville Christian Oct. 21 at East-Macon

Autauga Academy junior O.J. Howard, right, has verbally committed to play for the University of Alabama in 2013. PHOTOS BY AMANDA SOWARDS/ADVERTISER

Head coach

By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser

Mike Sims


ith 22 returning lettermen, coach Mike Sims was all smiles as the Autauga Academy Generals prepared this off-season in the school’s new weight room. “Our expectations are to do better than we did last year,” Sims said. “We sum it up in one word — finish. We lost a heart breaker in the semifinals last year to eventual state champions Coosa Valley.” Autauga Academy led 10-7 with less than five minutes to play and had the ball when they lost a fumble at their 35-yard line. Coosa Valley rallied for a 15-10 win. “We are going to play every game week by week, knowing that anyone can beat you,” Sims said. “But we are happy with this year’s team. We are not large in numbers but the kids have grown into our philosophy of what we expect both ways. Like any team in AISA we have to stay healthy because many of our kids have to play both ways. “We want our linemen to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, that’s where all games are won. We want to be able to run the ball as well as throw the ball out of our Wing T. Our quarterback came on late in the season and hit 70 percent of his passes for more than 800 yards, seven touchdowns and only had one pick. He’s not big, but he is a good athlete, and doesn’t get rattled in the heat of the battle. Our kids respect him.” The Generals also have an outstanding wide receiver with junior O. J. Howard. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder

The Generals have a goal of improving on last season, in which they lost in the semifinals to Coosa Valley.

Autauga Academy opened the season with a 21-14 win against Prattville Christian.

Our team has answered the call this summer to be better. I believe we will. — O.J. Howard, WR

has verbally committed to play for the University of Alabama in 2013. “Last year we had a good chance to play for the championship and win it all, but we didn’t get the job done,” Howard said. “This year we want to change that. We want to go from good to being great. It all starts here into the weight room and it is remarkable how hard this team have worked in the off season program. “Our team has answered

(Class 6A)

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

the call this summer to be better. I believe we will.” Quarterback Stuart Dawson said the team’s commitment this summer was noticeable. The Generals opened the season Aug. 18 with a 21-14 win over Prattville Christian. “We all have worked very hard this summer,” said Dawson, who is also the team’s kicker. “The team is close-knit and we realize what it takes to get an opportunity to play for a championship. Hopefully, we can make it to Troy this fall. That’s our goal.” Notes: Chad Michaels serves as the defensive coordinator while Sims will handle offensive coordinator duties … The Generals lost 10 lettermen including offensive linemen Tyler Alexander, Andy Forbus, Zack Jones and Cody Evans … 22 lettermen return including collegiate projects running back Taye Clay, who has an offer from the Citadel, quarterback Stuart Dawson and defensive lineman Hunter Hollon.

» Age: 30 » Experience: He begins his third season at the Academy. Sims came to Autauga Academy in fall of 2009 from Evergreen’s Sparta Academy. He is a native of Castleberry and attended Brewton’s W. Neal High where he played for coach Jim Fountain. He earned scholarship to Georgia Military Academy where he played defensive back for one season, and then two years at West Alabama. He signed a free agent contract with Atlanta Falcons, but was cut after one season. He played one season with the Tennessee Valley Vipers in the Arena Football League. He gave up his dreams of professional football and enrolled at Faulkner University where he earned his bachelor’s degree. After graduation he took the head coaching position at Sparta Academy. His overall career record is 26-28.

PLAYER PROFILES Stuart Dawson » Year: Sr. » Position: QB » Ht./Wt.: 5-8/155 “Playing high school football builds character and most importantly, it’s fun.” O. J. Howard » Year: Jr. » Position: WR » Ht./Wt.: 6-5/217 “When you go on the field Friday nights looking for a win and you can wake up on Saturday mornings and realize you found one.”

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

Prattville PROGRESS


STANHOPE ELMORE MUSTANGS AHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 » 2010 Record: 10-3 (the Mustangs lost to Davidson, 31-24, in quarterfinals of Class 6A playoffs after defeating GW Carver, 20-15)

HIGH EXPECTATIONS Mustangs plan to extend long homefield winning streak Head coach

By Cortez Strickland

Jeff Foshee


» Age: 39 » Experience: Foshee spent two years as an University of Alabama graduate assistant and three years as the defensive coordinator at Stanhope Elmore High School before taking over the helm following the retirement of his father, Jimmy, in 2000.

Player profiles Casey “C.J.” Davis

Kicker Dalton VanCor, above left, said being a senior will bring out more pride in winning this year. Head coach Jeff Foshee, below left, said expectations are high for the Mustangs and the team wants it that way. Photos by Lloyd Gallman/Advertiser job. Harris generated some buzz last summer while in middle school, participating in Football University’s Top Gun All-Star Camp as an eighth-grader. The camp has featured with some of the nation’s top players and boasts an elite staff of some of football’s greatest minds. Top Gun has privately trained and mentored NFL quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Eli Manning, among others. But Foshee was recently forced to juggle his depth chart at quarterback after Harris surprisingly transferred to a school in the Gulf Shores area. With his competitor out of the pic-

When you look up and see the student section filled and parents there to see their kids play, it brings out a lot of pride. — Dalton VanCor, K

ture, Glenn assumes playcalling duties with the first team and Tory Graves slides in as backup until Wilson is declared healthy enough for football activities. “He has accepted the challenge and I know he’s not going to make a lot of mistakes,” Foshee said of Glenn, a senior. “No doubt he can run the offense, he’s been out here two years so he knows what to do. Now is his opportunity. “It puts a lot more pres-

he bar has been set pretty high for Stanhope Elmore. A season ago, the Mustangs put together their best campaign, posting a 10-3 record that featured wins that halted long losing streaks against Prattville and Wetumpka and included a trip to the Class 6A quarterfinals. “Expectations have always been high and we want to keep them that way,” Stanhope Elmore coach Jeff Foshee said. “The guys have worked extremely hard this summer. Hopefully we can keep it going and maybe go a step further.” The Mustangs, who lost close to 30 seniors from last year’s squad, are expected to use the same formula that provided the Millbrook fans with loads of excitement in 2010. Foshee said he plans to continue calling the defensive schemes while the offense will operate out of the I-formation again. Stanhope Elmore’s running attack should continue to be the school’s bread and butter with Fred Harris, C.J. Davis and Kenterrious Tyree. If there’s one glaring concern for the Mustangs, it might come from the quarterback position. Last year’s starter, Brandon Wilson, suffered a broken leg during the spring and is expected to miss at least the first three games. Quarterbacks Garrett Glenn and freshman Nathan Harris came into the offseason neck-and-neck in a heated battle to land the

sure on the other guys,” the head coach continued. “We’re going to move on and be fine. It does hurt as from a depth standpoint, though.” Six of Stanhope Elmore’s regular-season games are at the safe confines of FosheeHenderson Stadium, a field where the Mustangs have not lost at in two seasons. “When you look up and see the student section filled and parents there to see their kids play, it brings out

a lot of pride,” senior kicker Dalton VanCor said. “Being a senior, I know I will have more pride about winning (at home) more than ever.” A senior, Davis said protecting home-field advantage is perhaps the most important thing for him and his follow senior classmates because they don’t want to be known as the group who allowed the streak to end. Notes: Stanhope Elmore has not suffered a loss at FosheeHenderson Stadium since its 27-21 setback to Jess Lanier on Oct. 31, 2008 — a span of 11 consecutive home games including the postseason. … The Mustangs’ defense dominated more than half of their opponents a season ago, limiting seven schools to a touchdown or less.

» Year: Sr. » Position: Fullback » Ht./Wt.: 5-11/230 “Playing in front of your family and friends and your school and showing your talent to those you love the most on the football field.” Dalton VanCor » Year: Sr. » Position: Kicker » Ht./Wt.: 5-11/207 “Too many things to list — discipline, strength, toughness and effort.”


Prattville PROGRESS

Wednesday, AUGUST 24, 2011

AUTAUGAVILLE EAGLES AHSAA Class 1A, Region 4 » 2010 Record: 8-4 (the Eagles lost to St. Jude 15-12 in second round of Class 1A playoffs after defeating Wadley 33-30)

Picking up the pieces New coach seeks to keep Eagles on winning track


Autaugaville will attempt to keep the momentum generated by an 8-4 record and a playoff appearance a year ago. Amanda Sowards/Advertiser

ntonio “Bam” Richards’ decision to resign from his head football coaching duties left Autaugaville without a leader just months following the program’s deepest run in recent memory. The Eagles excited their small community with an 8-4 record that led them to the second round of the Class 1A postseason, the school’s first playoff appearance since 2005.

Autaugaville was only 11-27 overall over the previous four seasons. Now the task of building off 2010’s success goes to new coach Will Randolph. Randolph brings years of experience to the Autaugaville sidelines, serving as head coach in stops at Tarrant High, Dale County and J.F. Shields. His best effort came at the controls of Tarrant High, where he guided the school — from 1999-2005 — to 26 straight Class 3A, Region 4 wins over a four-year span and led the school to a 2001 state runner-up finish. The 48-year-old veteran coach inherits some returning players at the skill positions with quarterback Lundon Maynard and receiver DeMarcus Nixon in the mix. Tecarrie Powell, James Jones and Ricardo Richardson should also help the Eagles attempt to stay amongst the elite in Region 4. Maynard, a sophomore, is excited about coming season. “I think we can have another good season,” he said. “We have had a lot of participation in off season workouts. A lot of us work, but we make time to come in early and workout. I think coach Randolph will be a good coach for us. We lost a lot of our linemen, but we should have some young players come in and play. “We made it to the playoffs last season and want to get back this year.”

Nixon said he and his teammates put extra time on practice field during the offseason. “I’m very excited about the season,” he said. “Lundon and I have worked out a lot on our own throwing and catching. We have had good participation at all of our summer drills here at the weight room, anywhere from 10-12 players at each session. The departure of several offensive and defensive linemen could be the biggest challenge due to players usually playing both sides of the ball. “We just need to replace some linemen,” Nixon said. The unfamiliarity of the program and its players could be another tough hurdle Randolph has to leap. “As to what we do here it depends of course on the players,” he said. “But I like to run the ball. Again it depends on what we have when fall practice begins. Defensively I like the 4-3, sometimes I’ll use a three-man front depending on what offense our opponents are running. I like my defensive backs to play man to man.” Randolph makes his Eagles coaching debut on the on the road at McKenzie High on Friday night. Notes: The Eagles lost 11 lettermen including all five starting offensive linemen and All-State running back and kick returner Malcolm Cyrus, who rushed for 1,231 yards and 19 touchdowns. Cyrus set state and national record for punt and kickoff returns for TDs.

By Jimmy White Special to the Advertiser

We made it to the playoffs last season and want to get back this year. — DeMarcus Nixon, WR

Head coach Will Randolph » Age: 48 » Experience: Randolph replaces Antonio “Bam” Richards, who stayed one season and led the Eagles back into the state playoffs after an absence of four years. He attended Maryville College one year, and then entered the Marine Corps. After his military service he graduated from the University of South Florida in 1989. Randolph and wife Karen have two children. He owns a 50-31 in Alabama.

Player profiles DeMarcus Nixon » Year: Sr. » Position: WR » Ht./Wt.: 6-0/173 “I like scoring touchdowns and being able to play with my teammates.” Lundon Maynard » Year: So. » Position: QB » Ht./Wt.: 6-1/190 “The thing I like best about playing high school football is that it keeps me out of trouble. I love the game so much. I love to compete.”

2011 Prattvile Progress HS Football Preview  
2011 Prattvile Progress HS Football Preview  

2011 Prattvile Progress HS Football Preview