By Morgan Bryce and D. Mark Mitchell
The 2nd Annual Alabama High School Media Days sponsored by iHeart Radio and Fox Sports 910 and 1310 AM “The Game” was held last Tuesday and Wednesday at Southern Union State Community College.
Eighteen area schools participated, with representation of teams from Chambers, Lee, Macon and Russell counties present.
Following is a breakdown of six of those schools, listed in alphabetical order.
Beauregard High School Hornets
Coach Rob Carter – 46-12 overall record in five seasons
Players present for Media Days: Cody Knight, vying for quarterback and other positions; Ashton Moss, running back and Tyler Torbert, defensive and offensive line.
2018 Recap: After three-straight losses to open the season, Beauregard righted the ship, winning five of their next six regular season games. They ended the season with a 42-21 first-round playoff loss at home to Pleasant Grove.
Key Departures: Kyle Huguley, Ja’carious McKissic, Q. Seroyer and Zip Whitlow
Quotables: “These young men worked hand-in-hand daily (after the March 3 tornadoes). I believe it gives them a different aspect of life and the understanding that anything can happen at anytime. Going into this season, we’re going to remember those who suffered the greatest consequence along with their families … it’s something to build on (from a coaching standpoint).” – Coach Rob Carter
“(Former Beauregard running back) La’damian Webb taught me a lot. I learned that I just have to grind on and off the field and the classroom so I don’t hurt my chances to play and contribute to my team.” – Ashton Moss
Aug. 23 v. Benjamin Russell
Aug. 30 @ Eufaula
Sept. 6 v. Valley
Sept. 13 @ Rehobeth
Sept. 20 v. Charles Henderson
Sept. 27 @ Montgomery Catholic
Oct. 4 v. Harris County
Oct. 11 @ Greenville
Oct. 18 v. Carroll
Oct. 25 @ Tallassee
Beulah High School Bobcats
Coach Matthew Johnson – First season (Defensive Coordinator Stan Pepper represented the school for Johnson, who was finishing teaching certifications during their respective Media Day slot)
Players present for Media Days: Jaden Buffington, offensive and defensive lineman; Dylan Coleman, vying for quarterback and starter at safety and Chris Person, running back and linebacker.
2018 Recap: It was a magical season for Beulah as the Bobcats posted their most wins in a season since 1995 and broke their 10-year playoff drought. They lost a tight 7-0 contest to Thomasville in the first round of the State 3A Playoffs. In April, the architect of Beulah’s comeback Cody Flournoy accepted the head coaching position at 5A Jackson High School.
Key Departures: Caden Dowdell, Justin Hancock, Quindarius Page and Lonzie Portis
Quotables: “It’s almost like Coach (Flournoy) has never left. We’re still running the same offense, same defense and doing the same thing special teams wise.” – Coach Stan Pepper
“If you don’t get out of Chris’s way, he’ll run you over. That makes us want to make holes for him.” – Offensive/Defensive Lineman Jaden Buffington
Aug. 23 v. Loachapoka
Aug. 30 v. Ellwood Christian
Sept. 6 @ The Montgomery Academy
Sept. 13 @ Prattville Christian Academy
Sept. 20 v. Southside-Selma
Oct. 4 v. Bullock County
Oct. 11 @ Saint James
Oct. 18 v. Dadeville
Oct. 25 @ Pike Road
Nov. 1 v. McKenzie
Lee-Scott Academy Warriors
Coach Robert Johnson (147-92 overall) is entering his first season at Lee-Scott Academy
2018 Recap: Longtime Coach Robert Maddox retired after a winless season that saw the Warriors average a mere 7.8 points per game. Johnson, previously with Tuscaloosa Academy, won 65 games and a state title during his time with the Knights.
Key Departures: Patrick Mcmenamin, Jared Nelson and Hunter Simmons
Quotables: “We’ve got a lot of numbers, which I think is the strength of our program right now. We’ve been able to dress 40, sometimes more than that.” – Coach Robert Johnson
“The kids are really buying into what we’re doing in the weight room and we’re much, much stronger than where we were just a few months ago.” – Johnson
Aug. 23 @ Chambers Academy
Aug. 30 @ Fort Dale Academy
Sept. 6 @ Edgewood Academy
Sept. 13 @ Morgan Academy
Sept. 20 v. Kingwood Christian
Sept. 27 v. Pike Liberal Arts
Oct. 4 v. Tuscaloosa Academy
Oct. 11 @ Northside Methodist Academy
Oct. 18 @ Bessemer Academy
Oct. 25 v. Glenwood
Loachapoka High School Indians
Coach L.C. Cole – 4-5 record entering second season
Players present for Media Days: Aaron Frazier, quarterback and free safety; Demontrey Moore, running back; Quincy Nelms, wide receiver and Tyrell Pierce, free safety and wide receiver.
2018 Recap: Two months prior to the start of the season, second-year Coach Antonio Richards had to leave because of health reasons. Loachapoka brought in another respected coach in Cole, who has more than 30 years of combined college and high school football experience. Following a sluggish start, the Indians finished the season on a hot streak, winning four of their final six games and coming up one win short of making the playoffs.
Key Departures: Scotquavious Nelms, Jajuan Redden and Steffon Searcy.
Quotables: “I brought four players that are going to be a big part of our team this year. These guys have been together since childhood and now they’re here in their senior year.” – Coach L.C. Cole
“From a coching standpoint and after evaluating film, I think we to limit our offensive scheme and not run so many plays as we did last year. We have gotten stronger (mentally and physically) and you could look back on these guys from last year and see that.” – Cole
Aug. 23 @ Beulah
Aug. 30 v. Pike Road
Sept. 6 @ Billingsley
Sept. 13 @ Wadley
Sept. 20 v. Autauga County
Sept. 27 v. Horseshoe Bend
Oct. 3 @ Notasulga
Oct. 11 v. Lanett
Oct. 18 @ Talladega
Oct. 25 v. Verbena
Opelika High School
Coach Erik Speakman, 7-5 overall record entering second season
2018 Recap: After 19 years as Opelika’s defensive coordinator, Speakman was given his opportunity at the helm of the program. Despite a challenging schedule and slew of injuries, the Bulldogs won their first two playoff games before a close 24-19 loss against Saraland.
Key Departures: Cade Blackmon, JaQuan Foote and Jaylen Holloway
Quotables: “Ending (summer practice), we’ve got 101 guys out, which is probably the most our program has had in 10 to 12 years. We’ve got a great group of seniors (25) too that I’m really excited about.” – Coach Erik Speakman
“7A football has a lot of good football teams, but not as many as 6A. Any team that ends their season (like we did) has motivation coming back the next year to do better and take it one step further.” – Speakman
Aug. 22 v. Callaway High School
Aug. 30 @ Auburn High School
Sept. 6 @ Selma
Sept. 13 v. Wetumpka
Sept. 20 @ Central High School (Phenix City)
Oct. 4 v. Benjamin Russell High School
Oct. 11 v. Calera High School
Oct. 18 @ Stanhope Elmore
Oct. 25 v. Vigor
Smiths Station High School
Coach Mike Glisson, 6-4 overall record entering second season
Players Present for Media Days: Jordan Jones, Cory Minton and Christian Williams
2018 Recap: Smiths Station stunned the local high school football area by emerging as a rising program, winning six games after back-to-back one-win seasons. Following a nip-and-tuck win at Eufaula to close out the regular season, the Panthers discovered that they had come up one win short of making the playoffs.
Key Departures: Jordan Brooks, Kyran Hall and Christopher Jones
Quotables: “Like I’ve said before, they’re great kids. It’s fun to coach them. I was able to hire some really good coaches and people (to help run the program). There’s no magic formula to this – you life weights, you run them, you work them and you push them to the max and that’s what we did and still continue to do.” – Coach Mike Glisson
“One thing I learned from last season to this season to do a better job of getting on the same page as my teammates – everybody knowing the playbook like the back of their hand, especially me.” – Minton
Aug. 23 @ Russell County
Aug. 30 v. Valley
Sept. 6 @ Central
Sept. 13 v. Enterprise
Sept. 20 v. Lee
Sept. 27 @ Stanhope Elmore
Oct. 3 @ Jefferson Davis
Oct. 11 v. Auburn
Oct. 25 @ Prattville
Nov. 1 v. Eufaula
All times for the games mentioned set for 7 p.m. C.S.T., but are subject to change. For more information or to watch replays of both days of the event, visit the Fox Sports “The Game” Facebook page.
Not pictured were Dadeville and Russell County high schools as well Lee-Scott Academy.