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STARTING NEW

NEW COACHES TALK ABOUT THEIR HOPES FOR THEIR TEAMS by Chris Wasson Page 4

MEMORIAL STADIUM

63 YEARS AND STILL GOING

by Laura Fenton

TIGER TALE

DALLAS COUNTY HORNET KEYMIYA HARRELL TALKS ABOUT WHY HE CHOSE AUBURN by Brian Tynes Page 8

Page 27

PLUS: LOCAL SCHOOL

PREPARATIONS, KEY RETURNERS AND SCHEDULES A LOOK AT ALABAMA AND AUBURN

The Selma Times-Journal • August 27, 2010 • www.selmatimesjournal.com


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WHAT’S INSIDE... Starting New........................................................................ 4 Dallas County Hornets ......................................................... 5-7 Dallas County Hornet is AU Bound ............................................ 8 Ellwood Christian Eagles....................................................... 9-11 Francis Marion Rams ........................................................... 12-14 Keith High Bears .................................................................. 15-17 Meadowview Christian Trojans .............................................. 18-20 Morgan Academy Senators ................................................... 21-23 R. C. Hatch Bobcats ............................................................ 24-26 Memorial Stadium Ready for Football .................................... 27 Selma High Saints.......................................................... 28-30 Southside Panthers .................................................. 31-33 Concordia College Hornets................................. 34-36 Alabama Crimson Tide ................................... 37-38 Auburn Tigers........................................... 39-40


4 | At The Stadium

Starting New

Leroy Miles By Chris Wasson The Selma Times-Journal Starting out a new season is exciting for every school. When you have a new coach, the excitement can be laced with other emotions such as uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Three schools around Selma: Selma High Sc hool, Meadowview Christian School and Ellwood Christian Academy are preparing to take on the new season with new men at the helm. After 14 years away from a head coaching spot, Leroy Miles joined the Selma High Sc hool Saints in hopes of turning the team around after a 3-7 season. Upon arrival, Miles began to mold his players’ work ethic, while trying to increase their size and speed in the process. “Each of our players had to make at least 22 of our 27 workouts,” said Miles. “We had about 80 percent come out and make those 22, so we are working hard.” Miles previously worked at Selma High School as an assistant coach 15 years ago and said the expecta tions are different. “When I first coached here, people just recognized the program and saw a little success,” said Miles. “Now people are thirsting for that success. It puts some pr essure on you as a coach at a new program.” Selma High School senior quarterback Darion Alexander has been through three coaches since he be gan playing football in the eighth g rade. “It is tough having to keep going through that change,” said Alexander. “You don’t know if it’s you or the coaches. But coach Miles is g reat. He is pretty laid back.” With so many coaches he has gone thr ough, Alexander has begun to see similarities between his former and current coach.

“I would say Coach Miles is a more like coach (Brian) Montgomery,” said Alexander. “On the field it is all hard work. You can relate to coach Miles, just like you could with coach Montgomery.” Meadowview Christian School has seen a lot of turnover in the past year. The Trojans are not only adjusting to a new head coach, but a new headmaster as well. “Not just athletics, but the whole school is rebuilding,” said new John Glasscock head coach John Glasscock. “We are basically redoing the whole thing.” Glasscock has had to teac h his new crop of players a brand new system, which he said has been an adjustment. “Just learning these kids is an adjustment,” said Glasscock. “Learning their strengths and weaknesses and trying to sell them on a dif ferent offensive scheme.” Glasscock said the sell has gone better than he had hoped. “They are really buying into the of fense we are wanting to bring in,” said Glasscoc k. “I’m not sure they were buying into the scheme that was here before, so it wasn’t that hard of a sell. When we came in and installed the veer option they seem to like it and take to it. So tha t is where we are headed.” Senior linebacker Tyler Perry said he is ex cited to have a new coach to lean on. “Everyone says that their coach is the best,” said Perry. “But coach Glasscock really is just a great coach to play for. He is seriously good. He is one of the best coaches I have ever had. He is Mike Stokes good about not yelling at you, he just coaches you.” Perry may have put it best when talking about having a new coach. “When learning a new system, it’s all about you,” said Perry. “If you have played football and try to lear n it, then everything is going to work out.” Now its time for the three new coaches to prove they can work it out, too.

Starting New


DALLAS COUNTY


6 | At The Stadium

Dallas County High Hornets By BRIAN TYNES The Selma Times-Journal PLANTERSVILLE — Darryl Burns has motivational quotes, Bible verses and a newspaper article featuring a player from another county on the walls inside Dallas County High School’s locker room. He’s trying to inspire his players to improve upon their 4-6 record from last year. “We have a long way to go,” Burns said. “Do we want to play winning football or do we want to win four games?” Burns has the makings of a winning team with a solid running game and hardnosed defensive line, two things that will be crucial to the success of this year’s team. “If we can do the fundamentals of football — block and tackle — we have a chance to battle,” Burns said. “But things like consistency are way behind. We need to improve on the offensive line and our linebackers.” The Hornets will run a pro-style I-formation offense, designed to control the clock and methodically move the ball

matter. Right now we’re not ready to play a football game, and we have two weeks to get there.” Burns said offensively he thinks the team will “If we can do the fundamentals have a good balance, and will be able to of football - block and tackle - we stretch the field vertihave a chance to battle.” cally if defenses start attacking the run too heavily. Coach Darryl Burns “If they start selling out, we’re able to get in the spread and throw,” Burns said. Where the offense — particularly the line — might be a question mark, the defense — par ticularly the line — is without a doubt the team’s strongest unit, led by Keymiya Harrell who committed to Auburn in early August. “We hope that we can use him to shut do wn one side of the field in the running game and force them to run the ball away from him,” Burns said. “Then we can make the adjustments to stop them on the other side . As far as pass rush, he’s a special player. His speed is what makes him who he is.” Harrell said he has been assuming the r ole of a leader and thinks the Hornets’ defense will be better than bef ore. “We want to step up and stop the r un and force a team to SEE DALLAS COUNTY, PAGE 7

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down the field, using a combina tion of running backs to wear down the opposing defense. But Burns is quick to point out that the stable of running backs is nothing without big guys in fr ont of them to clear the way. “It’s hard for a running back to be g reat if not for the offensive line,” Burns said. “If we can’t block, it’s not going to

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At The Stadium | 7

DALLAS COUNTY: FROM PAGE 6

Coach: Darryl Burns (fourth year, 17-13) Last season: 4-6 Returning starters: Keymiya Harrell, Brandon Harvell, Justin Moore, Aaron Waters Key losses: McArthur Jemison, Courtland Henry, Justin McAfee, Nathaniel Bell, Hunter Butts pass and play the way we want them to play,” Harrell said. “We have to get everybody going full speed to the ball, and don’t give up.” Burns said the team’s secondary is also a str ong point, giving the Hornets a formidable pass rush and good defenders to keep receivers at bay. With perennial powers like Bibb County and Jemison in their region, the Hornets will have their work cut out.

Dallas County High Hornets 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Billingsley (Away) Sept. 3 Jemison* (Away) Sept. 10 Bibb County* (Home) Sept. 17 Holt* (Home) Sept. 24 Greensboro (Home) Oct. 1 Greene County* (Away) Oct. 8 Southside* (Home) Oct. 15 West Blocton* (Away) Oct. 22 Livingston* (Away) Oct. 29 Calera (Home)

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8 | At The Stadium

Dallas County Hornet is AU bound By BRIAN TYNES Selma Times-Journal PLANTERSVILLE — About this time a year ago, Keymiya Harrell started getting mail. Not post cards or bills or even pizza coupons, Harrell got the simplest form of mail possible — letters. “I’ve got tons of them,” Harrell said. “Several shoeboxes full.” He got them every day, and those small letters would cause him to make the biggest decision of his life: where to play football and get an education … without having to pay for either. Harrell heard from schools like Alabama, Tennessee, Troy, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Louisville and Auburn, where he ultimately committed in early August. He also heard from schools he’s never heard of, and many he can’t even remember. “I heard from private schools,” Harrell said. “I Keymiya Harrell, who plays defensive end for DCHS will be walking the “Tiger Walk” next year on the Plains. didn’t know who any of them were.” Michael Johnson about the decision, and he said J ohnson Harrell received eight official scholarship offers, and told him to enjoy the experience. was expecting to get more had he not made a commit“He said don’t go anywhere because of anybody else, go ment. there because you want to,” Harrell said. “He said look a t While a verbal commitment is not binding, Dar ryl the academics and the football program and see what you Burns, Harrell’s coach at Dallas County High School, said like.” one of the few pieces of advice he gave Harrell was to take Burns agreed, saying he took the same a pproach with his time and honor his word. Harrell that he did when he coached Ben Jones, a junior “I told him ‘don’t make a quick decision,’” Burns said. center at the University of Georgia, while at Bibb County “Everybody is going to tell you what you want to hear, in Centreville. visit all the schools, make sure you’re comfortable with “I give any advice, and I can help if he asks,” Burns the people and when you commit, be a man of your word.” said. “But the bottom line is K eymiya has to live with his Harrell said the visits were a whirlwind tour of meeting decision, and I don’t want to impact it. I have my favorite coaches, seeing campuses, sitting in on meetings and team, but what I like doesn’t matter.” being greeted by pretty girls. What Harrell liked — besides the pretty girls — was the “Auburn’s were the prettiest,” Harrell said. “The atmosphere, the coaching staff, the environment and the ‘Tigerettes’ come take you around.” But that didn’t influattention he received from Auburn in return. ence his decision. “My personality fits well in the program,” Harrell said. Harrell said he talked with former Dallas County High Meanwhile, the mail will likely continue to pour in. School defensive end and current Cincinnati Bengal Only now, Harrell won’t have to bother opening it.


ELLWOOD CHRISTIAN


10 | At The Stadium

Ellwood Christian Eagles

Players and coaches make a point to pray for safety at every practice.

By LAURA FENTON Selma Times-Journal

SELMA — New year, new coach, new name — Ellwood Christian Academy has cleared the slate, and is in for a year of reviving and rebuilding its football program. “I’ll get it right,” said head coac h Mike Stokes. “It’s going to take a little time, but I’ll get it right. I’ ll build this program.” Formerly known as Central Christian Academy, Ellwood ended last year with a 0-7 record in the Alabama 8-man football division. Stokes believes his team should end this season with a 4-3 record, but only if players show up to practice. Four days into summer practices, about half the team showed up for the mandatory 7 a.m. practice. All players will show up to 6 p.m. practice, though, Stokes said. “The 10 or 11 that are missing, those are the kids that we are going to depend on, and they’re not even here,” Stokes said. “It’s just a testament of last year. They come to practice when they want, but I assure you, that will not happen this year.” Stokes must rebuild the team on everything from discipline to how to carry the football and the correct order of pre-play calls. “They just came on the field and just went to the game and played,” Stokes said. “There wasn’t any work ethic. I’m not saying that Coach [Darrell] Two Ellwood players get ready for a snap.

Walker didn’t do a good job last y ear, but they just think they can walk out here and do whatever. From day one, it’s been hard for me to break that. It looks a little shak y now, but it’s going to be OK.” The team has potential for success if they can lear n discipline. Stokes watched films from the team’s toughest competitor, Victory Christian School in Pell “It’s going to take a little time, City, for tips to play well but I’ll get it right. I’ll build this in the division. Stokes even showed the film to program.” his players to illustrate how discipline and conCoach Mike Stokes sistent hard work lead to a team’s success. “It’s good talent out here, but it’s just undisciplined talent,” Stokes said. The lack of commitment from all players is apparent to fellow teammates as well. “It shows that people don’t really want to win,” said sophomore Bennett Harris. “They just want to tell e verybody they are a football player.” Harris wants his team to f ocus because he does not want to endure another losing season. Freshman Deriaun Glenn’s first impression of the team leads him to believe the team can do w ell, but it needs to improve its work ethic. SEE ELLWOOD, PAGE 11


At The Stadium | 11

ELLWOOD: FROM PAGE 10 “I see potential and that we can do better than w e are doing right now,” Glenn said. “There’s a lot of folks that know what they are doing but just don’t put the ef fort forward to do it.” He will try to motivate his teammates, but in the end, the decision is up to each person to do well, Glenn said. “I can tell them we don’t want to look stupid out her e losing all our games, but if their minds don’t put forth the

Coach: Mike Stokes Mike Stokes’ record as assistant coaching for Dallas County High School, Southside High School and Concordia College: 52-44 Last season: Central Christian 0-7 Returning starters: Robert Davis, starting quarterback, led the team in touchdowns last season (7 touchdowns)

Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles 2010 Schedule Aug. 19 North River (Home) Aug. 27 Victory - C (Away) Sept. 2 Heritage (Home) Sept. 10 Open Sept. 17 Tabernacle (Away) Sept. 23 Tuscaloosa (Home)

Key losses: Peirre Coleman, Tyronne Hatcher, John Gutherie Important newcomers: Jesse Lewellen, left tackle, transfer student, Chris Stokes, cornerback and running back, transfer student, Glentravious Olds, running back and cornerback, transfer student, Devin Tabb, left tackle and nose guard, 8 th grade effort to do what they are supposed to do, it won’t happen,” Glenn said. Stokes has not chosen the starting line-up yet. He will wait until closer to the first g ame Aug. 19 against North River to decide placement of his team. “Some that started last year, they won’t start this year,” Stokes said. “They won’t. It’s just a matter of who comes to practice, who works hard and who I can depend on. The ones that are not here, most of them started last year and they think they are just going to waltz out w hen they get ready. They’re either going to come to practice or they w on’t play. I’ve always been like that and I’m going to stay exactly the same.”

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francis marion


At The Stadium | 13

Francis Marion Rams By CHRIS WASSON Selma Times-Journal

MARION — An old coach and a new system, this is what the players of Francis Marion High School are facing. After going a combined 2-18 in his first tw o years, coach Javaris Jackson began implementing a runbased, wishbone offense in hopes of improving his team’s chances for success. “We started running the wishbone four or five games into last season,” said J ackson. “We got a lot of productivity out of it, and were putting up points. So we are moving that direction. Being a smaller, 2A school, we are going to run the ball.” Jackson hopes the philosophy change will bring better results in the upcoming season, a season tha t doesn’t have 2A powerhouse Reeltown on the schedule for the first time since he has coac hed the Rams. “Last year we just worked out of a base playbook,” said Jackson. “You could tell they were having fun with it over the last few games, but it was just your basic leads and dives. We worked on it during the spring and now are able to add in some ne w plays.” The Rams are looking at their offensive line to put a lot of points on the board. “I think our strength is our of fensive line,” said Jackson. “We are working toward getting them to block who they are suppose to block. If we can get

them focused on that, then they will be a ble to move people out of the way, and we can put almost anybody in the backfield.” But Francis Marion has work to do in the secondary. “We aren’t so much young as inexperienced back there,” said Jackson. “We have got kids who are playing football for the first time in the 11 th “I see that we have a potential grade, so we have to be a good team.” worked to do.” One of the key position battles is at the Coach Javaris Jacksons most important position: quarterback. Two 11th graders, Radge Turner and Torriance Herring, will battle in the fall to take the reigns of this new offense. “They are both extremely fast,” said Jackson. “I think this position battle would be a positive to both of them, because both really want to succeed.” Turner said he expected big things fr om the Rams this year. “I see that we have potential to be a good team,” said Turner. “I think that we can make the playoffs this year if we try hard. We got a lot of heart and potential.” Senior defensive end/ tight end Jaquan Bates goals are even greater. “I want a championship,” said Bates. “But we have to work hard to be able to make it that far.”

Larry Williams and Samuel Williams work up a sweat during defensive lineman drills.


14 | At The Stadium

Coach: Javaris Jackson (2-18) Last Year: 1-9 Returning starters: Jaquan Bates TE/DL, Jalen Essex RB, Ladarious Tabb WR/DE Key newcomers: Torriance Herring, Quarterback/Defensive Back

Francis Marion Rams 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Sumter County (Away) Sept. 3 Thorsby* (Away) Sept. 10 American Christian* Sept. 17 Hayneville* (Away) Sept. 24 Choctaw County (Home) Oct. 1 Vincent* (Home) Oct. 8 R. C. Hatch (Away) Oct. 15 Billingsley* (Home) Oct. 22 Isabella* (Home) Oct. 29 Wilcox Central (Away) *Denotes region game

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KEITH HIGH


16 | At The Stadium

Keith High Bears By BRIAN TYNES Selma Times-Journal ORRVILLE — Five minutes a day. That’s all the time Har ry Crum tells his defense they need to work on blitzing packages to be able to confuse and overwhelm opposing offenses. But during a recent practice, Crum shuffled his Keith High School football players around to different position and brought different blitzes, some created on the fly, for about 20 minutes. With the schedule the Bears face, the work will go a long way. “Everybody wants to run the spread,” Crum said. “All the teams were looking at have quick-strike potential. We’re learning how to play man-to-man. If you can go man-toman and step-forA Keith player prepares to catch the ball step they have to during a tip drill. make an almost perfect throw. If you play zone, their quarterbacks can just sit back and pick you apart. We’re doing OK with it. Hopefully, we’ll continue to improve.” Crum drilled the players on a series of blitzes and stunts

The Bears offense goes through a play.

designed to not only to pressure, but to contain opposing offenses. At least two players charged forward on every play. At the most, it was eight. “We changed our defense from a 4-3 to “We’re going to be able to now it’s a 4-4,” senior Michael Giles said. “It pass a little better, but why gives us more speed from the outside.” throw when you don’t have to.” While the blitzes should prove effective Coach Harry Crum in forcing plays to develop faster than a quarterback might like, Crum said the biggest weapon he has against a spread team is his own offense, which is based on ball control. If the other of fense is on the sidelines, it can’t score. “We believe in the Wing-T,” Crum said. “We’ve had games where we’ve run for 350 or 400 yards. We’re going to be able to pass a little better, but why throw when you don’t have to?” In addition to holding the ball and sustaining long dri ves, Crum said the added challenge of defending an of fense a team isn’t used to seeing will work in the Bears’ f avor. “It’s hard to duplicate what we do in practice,” Crum said. “Other teams don’t see this a lot.” Crum’s son, Jeremy is running the offense at quarterback, but will move to wingback or tailback on occasion. He said the offense is looking better and has mor e options this year than in the past. “Our passing game is definitely improved,” Jeremy Crum said. “We will be able to spread out the defense a little better and move the ball on anybody.” Keith did not lose many seniors from last year’s team, and doesn’t have many seniors this year. Harry Crum said he has noticed a big improvement in the players and thinks the team can get over the hump, having lost in the first r ound of the playoffs each of the last two seasons. SEE KEITH, PAGE 17


KEITH:

At The Stadium | 17

FROM PAGE 16

Coach: Harry Crum (10th year) Last Year: 5-5, lost first round of playoffs Returning starters: Jeremy Crum, Lavarosis Robinson, Larry Molette, Damarquis Lumpkin Key losses: Terry Jones, Jr. Key newcomers: Maurice Crompton “They understand what they have to do to win consistently,” Crum said. “We play against a lot of teams with football tradition.” Keith plays in a region with Maplesville and Pickens County, the Bears’ biggest competition, according to Crum. Crum said he thinks in or der to get that playoff win, it will require earning a No. 2 seed. A dif ficult task, but one he thinks is doable. “I don’t know if it’s realistic, but it’s what we’re shooting for,” Crum said. “It’s not going to be a cak ewalk, but we will do our best.

Keith High Bears 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Calhoun (Home) Sept. 3 Maplesville* (Home) Sept. 10 Pickens County* (Home) Sept. 17 Holy Spirit Catholic* (Away) Sept. 24 Southside (Away) Oct. 1 Sunshine* (Away) Oct. 8 John Essex* (Away) Oct. 15 Shades Mountain* (Home) Oct. 22 Autaugaville* (Away) Oct. 29 Marengo County (Home) *Denotes region game J. H. Williams & Sons Funeral Home 1226 Minter Avenue Selma, Alabama 36701

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Meadowview Christian


At The Stadium | 19

Meadowview Christian Trojans By Chris Wasson Selma Times-Journal

Meadowview Christian School has seen a lot of turnover since its last football season. But a new headmaster, a new coach and a completely different system haven’t discouraged the Trojans. Instead, they are excited and setting high goals. “I think we can make the playoffs and even win state,” said Tyler Perry, senior linebacker and tight end. “Every seniors dreams about winning state, some make it and some don’t. We just have to work hard and listen to what coach (John Glasscock) has been teaching us. I think we can do it.” Glasscock took over Meadowview’s program in the spring, and has brought a new run-focused game to the Trojan attack.

“I come from a primarily pass, spread offense. Coming to the veer is a lear ning process,” said Piper. “It is better for me because I have to focus every time the ball is thrown to me, because I might not get another “We just have a ways to go, chance.” One thing that could but I feel pretty good about where we hinder a quick turnare right now.” around for the Trojans is their lack of experiCoach John Glasscock ence. Piper and Perry will be the only two starters to return from last years team that finished 1-10. “The first thing I noticed was ho w inexperienced we were,” said Glasscock. “This team only has two people coming back, plus a couple of transfers in. But right no w they are just really inexperienced.” “We might have lost some people from last year’s

Meadwoview coach John Glasscock instructs the team.

“Last year they tried to r un primarily a spread,” said Glasscock. “When I came in and e valuated the personnel, I didn’t see spread personnel. I didn’t see passing of fense personnel. What I see is a r unning game, and a power offense.” Senior wide receiver Greg Piper said lear ning the new offense has been dif ficult.

team,” said Perry. “But we have new guys who are talented and now it is their time to ste p up and play hard.” The inexperience begins at the running back position, but it is a position tha t Glasscock believes is a strength of his team. SEE MEADOWVIEW, PAGE 20


20 | At The Stadium

MEADOWVIEW: FROM PAGE 19

“We have some depth at running back,” said Glasscock. “We are just real young there. I don’t think we have a senior in the backfield. They are a bunch of juniors and sophomores and one ninth-g rader. They are athletes, but are just young.” Defensively, the Trojans wisll look to keep people from winning the ground battle. Meadowview will be lining up with four down linemen and four linebackers to shut down the opposition’s running game, but again youth is a concern. “We need to find some personnel,” said Glasscoc k. “We have to find some linebackers and some cor nerbacks, and we are going to be trying to g et a lot of people there. We haven’t been in a g ame type situation yet to look at them.” Glasscock said his team would not even look the same from the beginning of the year to the end. “Right now we are just the tip of the iceberg on of fense and defense,” said Glasscock. “We haven’t gotten anywhere near to where we are going to be when the season is over. If everything goes according to plan, we will continue to improve throughout the season.

Coach: John Glasscock (193-129-2) Last Year: 1-10 Returning starters: Hunter Smith, Greg Piper, Tyler Perry Key newcomers: Dylan Lawrence Glasscock said a winning season could ha ppen, but it’s not the goal for the year. “We are basically redoing the whole thing,” said Glasscock. “We would love to have a winning season, but that is not our goal. We are trying to build a foundation. We just have a ways to go, but I feel pretty good about where we are right now.”

Meadowview Christian Trojans 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Sparta Academy* (Home) Sept. 3 Sumter Academy* (Away) Sept. 10 Dixie Academy (Away) Sept. 17 East Montgomery County Academy (Home) Sept. 24 Autauga Academy* (Home) Oct. 1 Coosa Valley* (Away) Oct. 8 Cornerstone Christian* (Home) Oct. 15 Jackson Academy* (Away) Oct. 22 Abbeville (Away) Oct. 29 Chambers Academy (Home) *Denotes region game

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MORGAN ACADEMY


22 | At The Stadium

Morgan Academy Senators By BRIAN TYNES Selma Times-Journal SELMA — Another year. Another offense. It’s become an annual ritual at Morgan Academy. “This year the reads are off one person, when before it was off multiple people,” quarterback Austin Smitherman said. “I still get stuff mixed up.” The Senators are in their third offense in three years, a constant string of transition that coach Brian King said has

Morgan Academy quarterback Austin Smitherman drops back to pass.

definitely taken a toll, but the transition to the ne w scheme has gone easier than expected. “It looks like we’ve been running it a while, but we’ve only been doing it for a few weeks,” King said. “We “The running game is good, did so much 7-on-7 that we got the passing down with a strong offensive line....” before we even really started.” Coach Brian King New offensive coordinator Bob Taylor brought the offense with him, and said it is suc h a versatile scheme that practically any style of offense will work from it. “You can ask five coaches that run it what they do, and you’ll get five different answers,” Taylor said. “I’m doing my thing with it, and it’s completely different from what the guy that taught me runs.” One big change has been the blocking assignments. “This offense requires us to pull a lot mor e,” left guard Michael Clark said. “It gets difficult, but we’ve been practicing well.” The offensive line is a strength that King said Morgan will definitely be designing its play calling around. “The running game is good with a str ong offensive line, and we’re going to use that to the best of our ability,” King said. “That will open it for us to do more passing. I think we’ll have good balance.” The Senators finished last season with a loss in the sta te semifinals, and open the season with a tough r oad, facing Tuscaloosa Academy and Prattville Christian in the first two weeks of the year. King would rather play those games later, but isn’t complaining about the hand he’s been dealt. “You always want to be your best at the end of the season,” King said. “You always want to play them later in the season when your team is better. We don’t need as much time, but it’s to have it.” King said Morgan got off to a slow start last season, going 2-4, but picked it up in the middle of the year, winning five straight to make a playoff run before losing to eventual state champion Pike Liberal Arts. “We didn’t quite start with the confidence we needed to go all the way,” King said. “Now we’re more mature and we have that confidence, we know we can do it.”

A Morgan player takes a hand off from QB Austin Smitherman


At The Stadium | 23

Coach: Brian King (second year 7-5) Last Year: 7-5, lost in state semi-final Returning starters: Austin Smitherman, Walker Mason, Michael Clark, Joseph Watters, Jody Glover Key losses: Frankie Wilbourne, Taylor Bone, Cody Wheat, Heath Brantley, Ryan Traylor Key newcomers: McCain Levins, Parker Hughes, Crawford Traylor, Hunter Rogers, Dylan Stewart

Morgan Academy Senators 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Tuscaloosa Academy* (Away) Sept. 3 Prattville* (Home) Sept. 10 Macon East (Away) Sept. 17 Edgewood Academy (Home) Sept. 24 Bessemer Academy* (Home) Oct. 1 East Montgomery County Academy* (Away) Oct. 8 Hooper Academy* (Home) Oct. 15 Kingwood* (Away) Oct. 22 South Choctaw (Away) Oct. 29 Southern Academy (Home) *Denotes region game

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R. C. HATCH


At The Stadium | 25

R. C. Hatch Bobcats By Chris Wasson The Selma Times-Journal Changing a losing culture in football can be dif ficult. When the school in question is a bask etball legend, things get even tougher. That has been the challenge facing coach Jammie Abraham at R.C. Hatch. Before Abraham took over the program in 2001, the Bobcats were in the midst of a 5-year losing streak. It took another three years before Abraham could lead Hatch to its first win in 70 g ames. “The people around here say I am the reason for the resurgence of this program,” said Abraham. “When I came here, I think they had been thr ough five or six head coaches. I was the assistant coac h my first year. That spring it was thrown to me. For a couple of years I tried different things to see what worked, and realized that I needed to find an of fense that fit my personnel.” Abraham said trying to compete to g et attention was difficult with the basketball program. “If there is a good player in this town everyone points them to the basketball court,” said Abraham. “You get kids who are worried that they will come out to pla y football and would get hurt, so they just don’t play.”

After winning three games last year, Abraham will face another challenge after losing 17 seniors fr om last year’s squad. “They were the heart of the team,” said Abraham. “They have “We have some very skilled been the core of the athletes. When we turn them team ever since the loose, they can do something.” 10th grade. So we have lost a lot of skilled Coach Jammie Abraham people and experienced people.” This greatest hit with the inexperience b ug is the of fensive line. Two projected starters will be in the eighth grade, two others in the 10th. “Our line may be young, but they try hard,” said Tony Tabb, sophomore fullback and linebacker. “It’s tough right now. We have to keep going over the stuff. We try to give them more and more with the of fense, but they are starting to get it.” The lack of playing time for most of the team worried Abraham. “We don’t have a feeder program here,” said Abraham. “So when I do finally get the players, I am having to teach them plays and as much fundamentals as I

The Hatch offense huddles together for a play.

can. We have as much athleticism as any team, but our lack of fundamentals makes it tough.” Junior wide receiver and safety Devante Paige said the young team could actually help. “We may be young, but then we don’t have any pressure,” said Paige. “I think our young guys will step up and help us mak e the playoffs.” The Bobcats will line up in a spr ead formation this season with new quarterback to take the reigns. “Right now we are going to a spread option,” said Abraham. “Right now we don’t have a very big line, so we are having to try something dif ferent.” Abraham and Paige agreed the key for the season would be on the defensive side of the ball. “It all star ts on ‘D,’” said Paige. “If we want to be successful on offense, then we have to do well on the SEE HATCH, PAGE 26 Justin Smith focuses on the ball during practice.


26 | At The Stadium

HATCH: FROM PAGE 25

defensive side of the ball. That is where we can do something.” “We are going to be alright o ver there,” said Abraham. “We have some very skilled athletes. When we turn them loose, they can do something. We will definitely be OK there.” Abraham said he is trying to temper expecta tion for the season. “I was talking to the principal toda y and she asked how we would look,” said Abraham. “I told her to not expect much, we just want to g et better this season.”

Coach: Jammie Abraham (9-71) Last Year: 3-7 Returning starters: Devante Paige - QB, Tony Tabb, FB Key losses: Trenton Tucker, Lawrence Key newcomers: Deangelo Bache - RG, Derdrick Norfleet - QB

R. C. Hatch Bobcats 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 A. L. Johnson (Away) Sept. 3 American Christian* (Away) Sept. 10 Hayneville* (Home) Sept. 17 Vincent* (Home) Sept. 24 Sunshine (Home) Oct. 1 Billingsley* (Home) Oct. 8 Francis Marion* (Home) Oct. 15 Isabella* (Away) Oct. 22 Thorsby* (Home) Oct. 29 John Essex (Away) *Denotes region game

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At The Stadium | 27

MEMORIAL STADIUM READY FOR FOOTBALL By LAURA FENTON Selma Times-Journal After days of field preparation and 60 gallons of paint, Memorial Stadium is ready for football. “It’s usually an all-day affair and it takes five men to do that all day long,” said Elton Reece, director of the Selma Recreation Department. Crew members work from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays, and sometimes Saturdays, to maintain the field and c lean the facility. “Maintaining Memorial Stadium is a year-round project because you’re constantly dealing with turf management and keeping the fields playable,” Reece said. “We keep it cut, we keep it watered and we keep it fertilized.” Crew members generally cut the field on Monday or Wednesday, paint the field on T hursdays and clean the stadium on Saturdays or Mondays, depending on if Concordia College has a game.

Preparing the field first requires cutting the g rass, then sweeping away all grass pieces or drops of dew and filling the cracks between the grass with sand. Then the crew uses strings to make the straight lines and 90-degree angles to follow with the paint machines to draw all yard lines, hash marks and goal lines. The process must be completed each week because most of the paint is removed when the grass is cut. The first week, it costs $1,500 for labor and supplies to prepare the field and stadium. Following weeks require about $1,200 because the crew does not have to re-measure the lines, which reduces the labor cost. Memorial Stadium is the home field f or Selma High School, Concordia College, Ellwood Christian Academy and Selma Middle CHAT Academy, as well as the field used for games with expected crowds too large for the high school stands to accommodate. “Periodically, we’ll have other teams, like if Southside plays Keith or Keith plays Southside, if we can work it out, we’ll schedule here because we seat lots of people in the stadium,” Reece said. The facility can fit 6,500 people. A large stadium is a motivator for the students on the Selma High School football team. “Being that Memorial Stadium is our home stadium, tha t’s always motivation

ready for FOOTBALL

for the kids,” said Leroy Miles, head football coach of Selma High School. “It just looks so hug e compared to the other stadiums some high sc hool teams play in. It’s a real honor to have it as our home stadium.” Selma students dress at the school before arriving at the stadium. “It’s not a problem,” Miles said. “The ride is just five minutes.” Patrick Evans, athletic director of the Selma City Schools, said Selma High will contin ue to use Memorial Stadium as a home field f or years to come. “As far I know, we are going to be using tha t stadium for a long time,” said Evans said. “There is no plan at this time to build a home stadium on our campus , so we will continue to use that stadium.” Schools pay $250 per game to use the stadium. T he only things the school is required to operate are the front ticket posts, the concession stand and ar rangements for crossing guards or police. The crew of the stadium takes care of everything else. The remaining operation costs are part of the stadium’s budget. Reece cannot estimate a total cost of the stadium per game night because he does not see the po wer bill before the city pays it. “The whole city is on some billing process that we never see,” Reece said. The stadium, built in 1947, will undergo r enovations once football games end on Nov. 13. Renovations will start Nov. 15.


Selma High


At The Stadium | 29

Selma High Saints By Chris Wasson Selma Times-Journal When new Selma coach Leroy Miles first ar rived late in May, he did so with a line dra wn in the sand. “When I first ar rived I met with the players and told them that we would have to make some changes in order to reach our goal of winning a championship,” said Miles. “They all understood.” Miles’ first act as coach was to hold 27 workout sessions over the summer, if someone wanted to play for his team, they would have to show up to at least 22. “It went well,” said Miles. “We had about 80 percent of the kids show up to the 22 workouts for the summer. I think it has been very successful getting ahead in conditioning.” Miles tried to get that same focus from his players to his coaches. The staff took a two-day camping trip to focus on the season. “We just ate and talked football,” said Miles. “We wanted to have a time without inter ruption that we could meet together and get on the same pa ge before practices began.” Starting QB Darion Alexander said the pla yers were motivated over the summer to g et better and improve. “Coach came here and really began motivating us,” said Alexander. “We have been working hard all summer and putting in a lot of new things. I feel like we are better this year.” Miles said he felt like, despite being in a r egion that has defending 5A state champion Demopolis High School and defending region champion Greenville High School, his team can compete for wins. “We are young and have a new coach, but I think that we can come in and compete f or one of the region spots,” said Miles. “Even though we are coming in and installing a ne w program, I think we can compete. When it comes to stac king

Players run a play during an afternoon practice.

up against some of the bigger schools in the region, I think we will be competitive.” The Saints have been working on becoming a balanced team on offense, installing multiple formations from which to throw and run. “We know we can run the ball,” said Alexander. “But when we put the ball in the air, we can confuse the defense. It is going to be really good.” Alexander said “I think we that we can come Miles has given him a lot more freein and compete for one of the dom at the line of region spots” scrimmage. “They are putting Coach Leroy Miles it in my hands,” said Alexander. “(Miles) said it is up to me to read what coverage the defense is in and mak e a call.” The defense spent the summer lear ning a new system. “We are moving from more of 3-4 to a 4-3 defense,” said sophomore defensive tackle Ezekiel Ufomado. “I think you’ll see us get a lot of turnovers. We want to be able to set the tone at defense.” Miles had confidence in the players from his defense being able to pick up the system. “We are going to be OK on defense , it is the side of the ball we are really strong at,” said Miles. “We have a lot of good players on that side of the ball.” Ufomado will lead a defensive line that Miles has a lot of confidence in. “Zeke is one of the strongest players we have on the team,” said Miles. “With him and Kendal Thomas on the line, we are in a good place to be .” With a renewed intensity and focus, things are looking up for the Saints. Miles wouldn’t want it any other way.


30 | At The Stadium

Coach: Leroy Miles Last Record: 3-7 Returning starters: Darion Alexander - QB, Keenan Woods - RB, Roderick Brewer - CB Key losses: Dexter Blackmon, Darrius Moore Key newcomers: Ezekie Ufomado, Kendal Smith

Selma High Saints 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Southside (Away) Sept. 3 Bryant* (Home) Sept. 10 Wilcox Central* (Away) Sept. 17 Tuscaloosa* (Home) Sept. 24 Lanier (Home) Oct. 1 Chilton County* (Home) Oct. 8 Brookwood* (Away) Oct. 15 Greenville* (Home) Oct. 22 Demopolis* (Away) Oct. 29 Elmore (Home) *Denotes region game

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SOUTHSIDE


32 | At The Stadium

Southside Panthers By BRIAN TYNES Selma Times-Journal SELMA — The ability to understand is an impor tant trait. So important, in fact, Southside High School coach Lemuel Jones is counting on it to bring the P anthers a winning record. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t improve on 5-5,” Jones said. “We want to be in the top f our in our region, and I don’t see why we can’t meet our goal.” Standing in the way is Bibb County, Jemison and Dallas County, Greene County, West Blocton, Holt and Livingston. Jones doesn’t care. “We are much better than last year,” Jones said. “We are a smarter team and a better team.” Having lost only one impact player from last year — center James Shannon — has put the P anthers in a unique position of not having players learn their roles, and can focus on bettering themselves at what they already know how to do. “Our football IQ is head and shoulders a bove last year,” Jones said. “We were two points away from the playoffs last year. We’re small in numbers, but we’re much better. We’re all chasing Bibb County, and we’re eager to play them.” Southside will have to wait until Oct. 15 f or that game. Until then, Jones is going to try to tur n his team’s knowledge of the game into more wins, a playoff berth and a potential shot at the region championship. In fact, the team thinks it will be w orth at least two wins. “We should come out easy 7-3,” r unning back Wilbert

Southside coach Lemuel Jones talks to his team after practice.

McConico said. “We worked too hard in the summer to give up.” McConico is expected to the be fea ture of the Panthers’ spread offense, utilizing him as a r unner and a receiver out of the backfield. He’s also the team’s best defensive back. “He’s the best athlete on the team, and could pla y for any team in “They all bring different things Alabama,” Jones said. “He to the table, and we’re always understands a going to get the ball to our best lot more about angles and run- athlete” ning lanes. Coach Lemuel Jones There is a difference in football speed and track speed.” Jones said Southside will not be big ger, stronger or faster than anybody on its schedule, and the team won’t overpower anyone, but should have no problems winning games with their understand of the game, balanced offense and improved defense. Jones said he uses a lot of players in the course of a game, and one defender thinks tha t will go will a long way in stopping opposing of fenses. “We get a lot of guys off the sidelines, because everybody has been stepping up.” linebacker Derrick Clay SEE SOUTHSIDE, PAGE 33


At The Stadium | 33

SOUTHSIDE: FROM PAGE 32

said. “We’ve got a lot more aggressive scheme that will confuse the quarterback. It’s a lot of cover two and we’re able to blitz more when we need to.” Offensively, the Panthers have replaced their lost center, and shouldn’t miss much from that position, but the guy he will snap the ball to is unkno wn. Actually, it might be four guys. Bartavious Hall, currently the No. 1 choice, Jermal Dudley, who started as a sophomore, Rajadavia Phillips, the best option quarterback and Samuel Fails are all competing for the job. According to Jones, they may all get it. “Nowhere is it written that you’re supposed to have just one (quarterback),” Jones said. “They all bring different things to the table, and we’re always going to get the ball to our best a thlete.” Having so many different signal callers gives the team a multitude of options on of fense, and stellar depth should any injuries occur.

Coach: Lemuel Jones (third year: 6-14) Last Year: 5-5 Returning starters: Wilbert McConico, Michael Smith, Michael Steele, Michael Perryman, Derrick Clay, Cramaine Hudson, Antarius Smith Key losses: James Shannon

Southside Panthers 2010 Schedule Aug. 27 Selma (Home) Sept. 3 Greene County* (Away) Sept. 10 West Blocton* (Home) Sept. 17 Livington* (Away) Sept. 24 Keith (Home) Oct. 1 Jemison* (Home) Oct. 8 Dallas County* (Away) Oct. 15 Bibb County* (Home) Oct. 22 Holt* (Home) Oct. 29 Choctaw County (Away) Neelyʼs Photography

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Concordia


Concordia College Hornets By BRIAN TYNES Selma Times-Journal

SELMA — Shepherd Skanes wakes up at 2:30 a.m. each morning, leaves his home in Bir mingham and is at his office at Concordia College by 5:15 a.m. He won’t be home again until close to midnight. Skanes hopes his commitment to the g rowth of Concordia, where he is also athletic director, will rub off on some of his players. “I don’t talk about it with them, but they know,” Skanes said. “I believe in what God says that to much is given, much is required, and he won’t ever give me more than I can handle.” Skanes started Concordia’s program from scratch six years ago and this is the first y ear he’s felt confident enough to branch out and schedule teams like Stillman College, Grambling State University and Carson Newman, a perennial powerhouse. “I wanted to know where we stand and use the big schedule as a measuring stick for the program,” Skanes said. “We’ve got almost our whole group coming back so we can play the same schemes.” Concordia’s strength will be its secondary, which will open the door for a variety of blitz packages. “A real defensive back can play man-to-man, then zone comes easy to you,” Miguel Terrell, a cornerback for Concordia, said. “Our defense has no ex cuses.”

Concordia players get low during practice.

At The Stadium | 35

Skanes is less concer ned with one season than he is about building a program that can be sustained for a long time. “We have a much better retention rate,” Skanes said. “A lot more stability has come into the pr ogram than we had with the first g roup.” Skanes said he has built a reputa- “We coach the kids, and they tion of having a believe in what we do and buy into high-flying attack the system.” build around stretching the Coach Shepherd Skanes defense out and throwing down field, but the strength of this year’s team is its r unning backs. “That perception of Concordia is we’re going to throw it,” Skanes said. “I want people to k eep that perception. It’s still a spread, but we do multiple things out of the spread.” Concordia has 200 players on its football team, but only five full scholarships to distribute among the players. Skanes said it is the r eputation Concordia has built for itself that allows to bring more recruits in each year. “Our budget is less than an average high school budget,” Skanes said. “We coach the kids, and they believe in what we do and buy into the system. We’re exactly where we need to be. Our only weakness is manpower.”


36 | At The Stadium

Coach: Shepherd Skanes (sixth year, 23-23) Last Year: 5-5 Returning starters: Anthony Ward, Miguel Terrell, Fred Rouse, Cortez Stubbs, Brandon Skanes, Tracy Baker Key newcomers: Jerrett Parker

Concordia College 2010 Schedule Sept. 4 University of West Georgia (Carrollton) Sept. 11 Miles College (Selma) Sept. 16 Carson Newman (Jefferson City, TN) Oct. 2 Texas College (Tyler, TX) Oct. 9 Stillman College (Tuscaloosa) Oct. 16 University of Texas-Arlington (Selma) Oct. 30 Benedict College (Columbia, SC) Nov. 6 Grambling State (Grambling, LA)

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At The Stadium | 37

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The one attribute most associated with Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy is that he doesn't make mistakes. Be still your heart. That's hardly the stuff of stardom. Girls don't want to date the quarterback because he doesn't make mistakes. In Hollywood, the love interest is never a CPA. "That's fine," McElroy said. He has heard the litany. Greg McElroy is much more confident under center. "'You don't have first-round talent. You don't have a rocket arm. You don't have all these things,'" McElroy said. "OK, let's focus on the things I do have. I have a national championship ring, and I have 14 wins to my credit." McElroy went into a long discourse on the benefit of not tur ning the ball over, what coaches refer to as manag-

ing the game. "If you're able to move the sticks and find the open receivers and make the correct run checks and pick the right plays, that's obviously very positive," McElroy said. "If you're able to minimize the mistakes, that just proves you're very positive." When he finished, satisfied he had made his point, concer n crept into his voice. "You don't think that's going to come off wrong when I say that I got the ring?" McElroy said. "That won't sound bad, will it? I don't want it to sound arrogant." McElroy can be a walking contradiction: a competitor and a pleaser, an athlete and a scholar, a human being and a perfectionist, an Alabama quarterback with auburn hair. McElroy also has a 14-0 r ecord as a

starter. As every Crimson Tide fan can recite, he hasn't lost a star t since eighth grade. Although he threw for 2,508 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions last season, McElroy endured predictable highs and lows as he lear ned on the job. After all, he had sat behind John Parker Wilson for the previous three seasons. Through it all, Alabama won every game. The Crimson Tide had a team tailor-made for an inexperienced quarterback. The defense proved as impenetrable as Bleak House. All-American kick returner Javier Arenas provided field position when the offense couldn't. And tailback Mark Ingram took over the game when McElroy couldn't.

SEE BAMA, PAGE 38

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38 | At The Stadium

BAMA: FROM PAGE 38 Ingram, who has a Heisman T rophy on his mantel, is bac k for his junior season. He has thr ee returning offensive linemen and fifth-year senior H-back Preston Dial in front of him. Yet the other elements that Alabama rode to the national championship are missing. The defense is young. Arenas is a Kansas City Chief. Kicker Leigh Tiffin is no longer there to bail out McElroy by making 30 of 35 field goals. If the Crimson Tide are to repeat as SEC champion, much less national champion, McElroy hasn't the luxury of lows. "The thing we emphasize is that you are the distributor," Saban said. "You're going to hand it of f or throw it. You don't have to take it on yourself to make all the plays yourself. As long as we kick the ball at the end of a possession -- punt it, kick a field goal or an extra point -- w e can win. When we give the ball to the other team, w e can't." I have obviously a lot more confidence in my ability to compare and understand the adversity and difficulties that are going to come into fr uition here the next couple of months," McElroy said. "I think I'm better pr epared physically as well. I think my timing is better. I think my rapport with my teammates is better. I think last year a lot of people had questions, not only on the outside of our football complex but also within our football complex. I think a lot of people just weren't sure of how good we were going to be. But this year it's totally different." One man's confidence may be another man's ar rogance. But as the late pitcher and philosopher Dizzy Dean said, "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Ivan Maisel - The Bleacher Report

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA 2010 Schedule Sept. 4 San Jose St ate (Home) Sept. 11 Penn State (Home) Sept. 18 Duke (Away) Sept. 25 Arkansas (Away) Oct. 2 Florida (Home) Oct. 9 South Carolina (Away) Oct. 16 Mississippi (Homecoming) Oct. 23 Tennessee (Away) Nov. 6 LSU (Away) Nov. 13 Mississippi St (Home) Nov. 18 Georgia State (Home) Nov. 26 Auburn (Home)

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At The Stadium | 39

back to back heismans for ingram? JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer TUSCALOOSA — Archie Griffin knows that one day he won't be the only multiple Heisman winner. "Somebody's going to do it thr ee times," the former Ohio State star said. "It's not going to be an easy deal, b ut somebody out there can get it done." Enter Alabama's Mark Ingram. The Crimson Tide running back has a chance this season to win his second, and if he sticks around for his senior year, possibly a third. Last season he became the thir d straight sophomore to strike the Heisman pose, when only juniors and seniors had previously won the award.

But Florida's Tim Tebow couldn't do it. He made tw o unsuccessful runs at winning a second Heisman. And Oklahoma's Sam Bradford had his quest for a twopeat end early with a shoulder injury last season. For his part, Ingram sidesteps talk of a Heisman repeat. "You really can't worry about that type of stuff," the compact tailback said, "all the pressure that people put on you." But it's there, and will likely be there all season. So will the scrutiny, the attention and of course the trophy — which is on display in Alabama's football building. It's the only one, after all, a Tide player has ever won. Before the sophomore surplus, 11 juniors had won the Heisman since Griffin captured his second straight in 1975. Only Oklahoma running back Billy Sims (1978), BYU quarterback Ty Detmer (1990), Oklahoma quar terback Jason White (2003) and Souther n California quarterback Matt Leinart (2004) returned for another shot. The rest turned pro early. Ingram has a couple of things in his f avor: He plays for the defending national champions at a program that prides itself on winning national titles. Bradford and Tebow say that makes winning Heisman No. 2 secondary. "There was people talking about it, but in my mind it wasn't a big deal because ther e was always so much more pressure in trying to win g ames and trying to win a c hampionship than winning a Heisman," said T ebow, now a Denver

Broncos rookie. "So, if you were maybe somewhere else where you didn't have that pressure and that expectation of winning a championship, maybe the Heisman would affect you more. But I don't think it really had an ef fect because of our level of expectations and then the expectations others put on us, too, were so high that you were always more focused on winning a championship than winning a Heisman." He came close — twice. Tebow was the first three-time finalist and the first player since Georgia's Herschel Walker, the 1982 winner, to finish in the Top 5 three times. He was third in 2008 behind Bradford and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, and fifth last season. Bradford never got a crack at it, injuring his right shoulder in both the season opener and his brief comeback attempt. He insists winning the Heisman a second time was pretty much a non-issue, anyway. "I put no extra pressure on myself," said Bradford, drafted No. 1 overall by St. Louis. "I think it de pends on who you are but I've always had the approach that individual awards are really based on team success. I know going into each year you're not playing for individual awards, you're playing for championships. If you help your team, if you do what you're supposed to do, then those things will come." It's the same advice Ingram got from Tebow. The two became friends during the trip to Ne w York for the Heisman ceremony last December. "He just tells me don't worry about all that, just to be the best player I can be," Ingram said. "Just focus on being the best player I can be for my team and winning g ames, because that's all that really matters. And that's the same mindset that I have. "It's the same mindset that he had. You really can't worry about that type of stuff, all the pressure that people put on you. You've just got to be f ocused on yourself and your teammates." One of those teammates might hinder Ing ram's chances to match his school-record 1,658 yards. Trent Richardson ran for 751 yards as a freshman and could be in line f or even more carries this season. Another challenge, says Andre Ware, is opposing defenders would love to take shots at the Heisman Trophy winner. "The thing that you face is you're everyone's target when line up on Saturday," said Ware, who left Houston for the NFL after winning the Heisman as a junior in 1989. "Everyone wants to say, 'I hit the Heisman T rophy winner.' You become everyone's claim to fame so to speak. So e very weekend, because last year's Heisman winner plays for Alabama, it's ammunition enough but when you've got the Heisman winner on your team, everyone wants that shot to say that they beat the Heisman winner." Depending on who you ask, being the reigning Heisman Trophy winner doesn't necessarily give you a leg up when the votes are tallied. "I think it's wide open and I think tha t's the beauty of the award is that after last December you can wipe the slate clean and everybody starts over," said Ware, now a college football analyst with ESPN. "It's good to have the tag as the Heisman Trophy winner because it puts you on the board immediately for next year's race.


40 | At The Stadium

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) --Auburn's Aairon Savage, Zac Etheridge and Mike McNeil don't have to talk about frustrating injuries--there is an unspoken understanding. The Tigers' trio of safeties are each trying to come back from a serious injury; in Savage's case, two. All are former starters vying for two spots during preseason camp, and their returns could transform the secondary from a potential liability into a strength. "What we've all been through, it's self-explanatory," Etheridge said. "All of us have had an injury where it could have been our last play. I think that's the motivation in itself, that we go out there and compete every day. We're all excited to be back out there together." Savage missed the 2008 season with a torn knee ligament, worked his way back and then sustained a tor n

Achilles tendon that cost him another season. Before that, he missed six games as a sophomore with ankle and shoulder injuries. The NCAA granted Savage a sixth year of eligibility in February. Total tally: 14 starts, 31 missed games. Etheridge had started 33 consecutive games before being sidelined by a cracked vertebra and torn ligaments in his neck against Mississippi after a head-on collision with a teammate. He wasn't cleared to play again until July 20. Total tally: 33 starts, four missed games. McNeil started every game in 2008 but missed last year with a broken leg sustained during the of fseason. The junior was ranked the nation's eighthbest overall prospect out of high school and came into his own with 65 tackles as a sophomore. He went through spring practice on a limited basis lik e

Savage, but he wasn't per mitted by coach Gene Chizik to talk to the media. Total tally: 12 starts, 13 missed games. All have been able to go full-speed during the first week of practice, and secondary coach Tommy Thigpen, the self-described "ultimate optimist," is confident all three will be back. He is especially positive about Etheridge and Savage, praising their passion for football and their savvy on the field. "The fact that they love football so much and the game's so much a part of them, you just knew that they weren't going to be denied," T higpen said. "I just never doubted they would play again. I thought they'd both be bac k. The same going through the fall, I'm thinking they're going to be in the first game. My mindset is that we'll keep them healthy all year and they'll all have good seasons."

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At The Stadium | 41

TIGERS: FROM PAGE 39 If that happens, he said the defense will be "200 per cent better". In their absence last season, freshman Darren Bates started every game at free safety. The coaches had to move 5-foot-9, 182-pound junior colle ge transfer Demond Washington from backup cornerback to starting strong safety after Etheridge went down. With their apparent return, coaches have moved Bates to linebacker. "There's no telling what this secondary might tur n out to be," Etheridge said. "We're all pulling for each other." Savage, who turns 24 in December, has been around so long he was recruited by head coach Gene Chizik--in his first Auburn go around as defensive coordinator, three jobs ago. Chizik left Auburn to run the Texas defense and spent two seasons as Iowa State's head coach. Now, they're reunited. "I never thought in a million years it would happen," Savage said. "Who knew it would come full-circle like that? It just goes to show everything happens for a reason. It's a blessing and we're going to roll with it." He said he can't describe w hat it will be like the next time he steps on the field, but said he will try not to g et swept away by emotions. "We're not going to g et caught up in that hype, because how selfish would that be?" Savage said. "We've come a long way, and the hype is really gone. I've been gone, I'm back, I'm fine." He and Etheridge both have their degrees, and Savage has completed a masters. Savage's fall class load will include his No. 2 sport: Bowling. He said he has a 180 a verage and a high score of 251. As for football, Savage said he put those two years on the sideline to good use in mor e than his ability on the lanes. "I feel a lot better, a lot stronger, a lot bigger," he said. "I know a little more. That's the goal. How crazy would it be to sit on the sidelines f or two years and stay the same? That would be a waste." John Zenor, AP Sports Writer

AUBURN UNIVERSITY 2010 Schedule Sept. 4 Arkansas State (Home) Sept. 9 Mississippi State (Away) Sept. 18 Clemson (Home) Sept. 25 South Carolina (Home) Oct. 2 Louisiana-Monroe (Home) Oct. 9 Kentucky (Away) Oct. 16 Arkansas (Home) Oct. 23 LSU (Home) Oct. 30 Mississippi (Away) Nov. 6 Chattanooga (Homecoming) Nov. 13 Georgia (Home) Nov. 26 Alabama (Away)

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42 | At The Stadium

Auburn’s Freeman looking for a better season JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer AUBURN — Eltoro Freeman had to hit bottom bef ore he could climb back up Auburn's depth chart. The junior linebacker was benched after one defensive play against Tennessee last season, and wasn't e ven allowed to make the trip to Arkansas the following week. "I don't miss games — not unless you're injured or whatever," Freeman said. "I felt like I was on the wr ong track." The coaches clearly agreed. Freeman got his act to gether late last season and is trying to sta y on that path. He has moved back from middle linebacker to his original will position, backing up entrenched starter Craig Stevens. Stevens and Josh Bynes both had little r elief last season and stayed on the field for almost every snap.

Now, he's more than hungry to prove himself. "I'm starving," he said. Freeman said he put too muc h pressure on himself last season and got frustrated after making mistakes. Now, he says, he brings a better understanding of assignments and a more mature perspective into this season. "I don't think it was a lost y ear," he said. "I lear ned a lot from the '09 year mentally, how to handle things. I feel like '09 was a g reat year, and if I could change '09 I wouldn't. I would want it to be the wa y that it happened. I think that made me the person and the pla yer that I am today." Freeman said he's not fretting over his position on the de pth chart, but Chizik said the Tig ers "absolutely" need Freeman to step up. "Toro's done a nice job of working," Chizik said. "He's really tried to focus. He's probably stayed healthier up to this point than he's been in the past, w hich has helped. But for the most part I think he's tried to f ocus in and become a better football player." Stevens and Josh Bynes are the Tigers' only proven linebackers and the most experienced defenders. There's considerably more competition for playing time at the position heading into this season.

Not so for Freeman, a junior colle ge transfer who was expected to make an immediate impact after enrolling in January 2009. He had only seven tackles in the first seven games. Coach Gene Chizik saw Freeman's growing frustration, and their talk before sitting the player down on Arkansas week helped instead of causing it to boil o ver. "We had a really good conversation," Freeman said. "He was like, 'Eltoro, we're going to be there for you. Just get your mind back together.' That was real big. I told coach Chiz when I come back I'm going to be r eady to play and help Auburn win." He then played only on special teams a gainst Kentucky before having a breakout game. Freeman made 12 tackles at LSU and nine the following week against Mississippi. Then came another setback. Freeman sustained a concussion and sat out the Alabama game.

Starting safety Darren Bates has moved to linebacker. Sophomore Jonathan Evans gained some experience last season, and the Tigers have four freshmen linebackers. One of them, Jessel Curry, went through spring practices. "We need them all to step up but (Freeman's) been here a year and it's time for him to step up and play football," Chizik said.


2010 Area High School Football Schedules Selma

Southside

Dallas Co

RC Hatch

Keith

F Marion

Morgan

Meadowview

Aug 27

Southside (A)

Selma (H)

Billingsley (A)

Al Johnson (A)

Calhoun (H)

Sumter Co* (A)

Tuscaloosa* (A)

Sparta* (H)

Sept 3

Bryant* (H)

Greene Co* (A)

Jemison* (A)

Am Christian* (A)

Maplesville* (H)

Thorsby* (A)

Prattville* (H)

Sumter* (A)

Sept 10

Wilcox* (A)

W Blocton* (H)

Bibb Co* (H)

Hayneville* (H)

Pickens Co* (H)

Am Christian* (H)

Macon East (A)

Dixie (A)

Sept 17

Tuscaloosa* (H)

Livingston* (A)

Holt* (H)

Vincent* (A)

H S Catholic* (A)

Hayneville* (A)

Edgewood (H)

EMCA (H)

Sept 24

Lanier (H)

Keith (H)

Greensboro (H)

Sunshine (H)

Southside (A)

Choctaw Co (H)

Bessemer* (H)

Autauga* (H)

Oct 1

Chilton Co* (H)

Jemison* (H)

Greene Co* (A)

Billingsley* (H)

Sunshine* (A)

Vincent* (H)

EMCA* (A)

Coosa V* (A)

Oct 8

Brookwood* (A)

Dallas Co* (A)

Southside* (H)

Francis Marion* (H)

J Essex* (A)

R C Hatch* (A)

Hooper* (H)

Cornerstone* (H)

Oct 15

Greenville* (H)

Bibb Co* (H)

W Blocton* (A)

Isabella* (A)

Shades Mtn* (H)

Billingsley* (H)

Kingwood* (A)

Jackson* (A)

Oct 22

Demopolis* (A)

Holt* (H)

Livingston* (A)

Thorsby* (H)

Autaugaville* (A)

Isabella* (H)

S Choctaw (A)

Abbeville (A)

Oct 29

Elmore (H)

Choctaw (A)

Calera (H)

J Essex (A)

Marengo (H)

Wilcox (A)

Southern (H)

Chambers (H)

*denotes region game

Ellwood

Aug 19 N. River (H)

Concordia

Sept 4 U W GA (A)

College

Aug 27 Victory-C (A)

Sept 2 Heritage (H)

Sept 11 Sept 16 Miles Carson Newman (H) (A)

Sept 17 Tabernacle (A) Oct 2 Texas C (A)

Sept 23 Tuscaloosa (H)

Oct 9 Stillman (A)

Oct 8 Victory-M (A)

Oct 16 UT-Arlington (H)

Oct 22 New Life (A)

Oct 30 Benedict (A)

Nov 6 Grambling (A)

Nov 13 KY-Wesley (H)

Nov 20 UNO (A)


Gridiron