Happy 80th Birthday, Grandma Sherry

The date was September 3rd, 1939, exactly 80 years ago today, when my Grandma Sherry first saw the light of day. I was blessed to spend 19 of my 21 years on earth with her. I often catch myself thinking about she would say or do if she could see where my life is today. I often reflect on the many conversations that the two of us shared on the back porch of both her days in Spanish Fort at 7 Yankee Trove and Wetumpka, where she lived when God called her home on December 30, 2017, six days after she fell ill on Christmas Eve of that year. I remember her saying multiple times “I love Kid Rock, I just wish he didn’t talk so ugly.” Many of our conversations involved some sort of life-lesson or one of her many sayings that should’ve been trademarked. One of those many sayings was “Nobody goes hungry under Mama’s watch.” One of her many valuable life-lessons that also should’ve been trademarked was “There is never a right time to do the wrong thing and never a wrong time to do the right thing.” She was always preaching about treating people with respect, no matter how wrong they were. In fact, recently a family friend came over to the house and said that she had talked to my aunt and my aunt said I needed to go with them to see Hank Williams Jr. and Kid Rock. I immediately began to think of how many times Grandma Sherry and I had talked about seeing Kid Rock if he was ever close. Sadly, she never got to see him, so I will go see him for her on September 21. Even though I selfishly wish she was still here, I know that she is not suffering and that she is finally back with Big Ken after 11 years of being apart, when he died of pancreatic cancer in 2006. I will write a piece dedicated to him at a later date. But for now, Happy 80th Birthday, Grandma Sherry, give Big Ken a hug for me. We will meet again one day soon.

Bo Nix Leads Auburn to Dramatic Win Over Oregon in Arlington

Saturday night’s season opener in Arlington, Texas definitely lived up to the hype. What looked to be a blowout win for the Oregon Ducks (0-1), turned out to be an instant classic for the Auburn Tigers (1-0). Despite going 13-for-31 through the air for 177 yards, two touchdowns and interceptions, Nix came through in the clutch just when it looked like the Tigers had ran out of gas. JaTarvious Whitlow, a sophomore running back from Lafayette, Alabama led Auburn’s rushing attack with 110 yards on 24 carries with a long of 31 yards. Defensively, Jeremiah Dinson paced the Tigers with 13 tackles, eight solo tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. I’ve heard some people say Bo Nix isn’t as good as the preseason hype suggested but I tend to think the true freshman from Pinson, Alabama, will be fine if we allow him some time after all this was his firs-ever game in the college ranks and it came against a top 15 program in the Oregon Ducks. Give him time to work out the kinks and he will be fine. But one thing is for sure, Bo Nix is clutch.

What’s next:

Oregon (0-1) will head back home to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon to take on the Nevada Wolfpack (1-0) at 6:30 p.m. September 7th, 2019.

Auburn (1-0) will head back to The Plains to take on the Tulane Green Wave (1-0) Jordan-Hare Stadium at 6:30 p.m. September 7th, 2019 on ESPN2.

Wiregrass War: Wetumpka Continues Road Trip With Visit to Dothan Friday Night

We’re now a week into the 2019 high school football season and Wetumpka (1-0) is coming off a confidence-building win over Fairhope (0-1) in the season-opener. But many hope the Tribe can take the many positives that were taken from the season-opener with them down to Dothan, Alabama this Friday.

A Glance at the Opponent:

The Dothan High School Wolves (0-1) are in their first year of existence after conjoining former rivals Dothan and Northview, resulting in the change of mascot. 41 years ago, Dothan and Northview were merged prior to separating and fielding two separate football programs. The Wolves are led by first-year head coach Smitty Grider. Overall, Grider is in 15th year of coaching at the high school ranks. Prior to landing in Dothan, he led the Hazel Green Trojans to a (4-7) season in 2018 and falling to Oxford in the first round of the 6A playoffs by a final score of 42-14. Before going to Hazel Green, Grider piloted the Park Crossing Thunderbirds from 2014 to 2017, resulting in three playoff appearances in four seasons as Park Crossing’s pilot and three consecutive region titles from 2015-17. Prior to making the trip to Montgomery, Coach Grider led the Beauregard Hornets from 2006-13. Grider’s career record is 111-50.

Gridiron History Between the Opponents:

The Dothan Wolves (0-1) and Wetumpka Indians (1-0) have never met under the current moniker in the two programs storied history.

Week 1 in Review:

Wetumpka (1-0): Used late plays Friday night to come out of Fairhope victorious 35-24.

Dothan (0-1): Had their game against Clay-Chalkville postponed until Saturday. But that didn’t help the Wolves much as the Cougars ripped apart Dothan 37-14.

Game time is set for 7pm between Dothan and Wetumpka Friday night at Rip-Hewes Stadium in Dothan, Alabama.

Pictures: Tiffany Singleton

Graphics: Amelia Nettles.

Never Forget the Value of Life

Last night, the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, suddenly cancelled their scheduled doubleheader with the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, due to what was first described as a “tragic event within the Biscuits family” according to the Montgomery Biscuits Twitter handle. Later in the night/early morning hours, news broke that Blake Bivens, a 24-year-old pitcher in the Montgomery organization had lost his wife, 14-month-old child and mother-in-law to a triple-homicide that occurred in Virginia according to WSFA, a local news station based in Montgomery, Alabama and the suspect is related, in some way to the Biscuits pitcher from Sutherland, Virginia. As I continued to read of this unimaginable tragedy, I found myself asking these questions in my head ‘What was going through the suspect’s mind when this occurred?’, ‘How did he find out?’ Surely, the suspect was not in the right state of mind when this horrible tragedy was taking place. Surely, somebody got in touch with Bivens in some way. I can’t imagine how the Sutherland, Virginia native must feel knowing that some of his most prized possessions on Earth were ripped from his hands in an instant. My heart breaks for him and all of those effected by this. The point is, at no point is life ever so bad that you have to suddenly rip the lives of innocent people apart. It’s never that bad, yes, I know life gets tough, but it’s never so tough that you should feel the need to tear the lives of innocent people away. May God be present in Bivens’ life and let him know how much he was loved and cherished by those three undeserving victims. May God show mercy upon the victim as he awaits his fate. Folks, may we never forget the value of life. No matter ethnicity, background or age of other people, they all deserve to be loved, not killed. If you take the life or lives of innocent people, not only are you taking their lives, you’re taking away pieces of other people’s lives that loved them dearly. May we never forget the value of life and the people that surround us. Treat people as you would like to be treated.

Picture Source: Bleacher Report

Auburn Football Radio Broadcasts Will Take Some Time to Get Used To

For the first time since 2003, Rod Bramblett, the longtime Voice of the Auburn Tigers, will be absent from the broadcast booth at Jordan-Hare Stadium. You may remember Rod by his many memorable calls or possibly by a personal interaction with Bramblett. Whether Rod was on the air or not, he never seemed to change a bit. Bramblett was always so sincere and energetic. Rod genuinely cared for every person he came in contact with over the many years that he broadcasted Auburn Athletics. He treated you like family and made sure you felt at home during your time with him. When you left, you would feel as if you had known Rod the entire time. There was just something about him that caught the attention of people from all over the country. His raspy, versatile voice was like none other. He didn’t try to imitate anybody, Rod simply had a velvet voice. Regardless if you were a fan of Auburn or not, you knew the sound of Rod’s voice. This Saturday, hearing the voice of Andy Burcham, although we are familiar with Burcham, will take getting used to as we were welcomed into radio broadcasts for years by the late, great Rod Bramblett. Nevertheless, Auburn Football broadcasts will take some getting used to.

Down Goes the Pirate Ship: Wetumpka Sinks Pirates 35-24

I know it’s the first week of the season and there are plenty of games left to go. But, last night the Wetumpka Indians (1-0) defeated the Fairhope Pirates (0-1) by a final score of 35-24. The scoring got underway almost instantly as the Indians returned the season-opening kick back to the end zone to strike first. With 7:34 remaining in the first quarter, Zach Grindle booted a 30-yard field goal to put Wetumpka on top 10-0. Fairhope would strike back on the ensuing drive cashing in on a 1-yard touchdown rush from Leonard to cut the Tribe’s lead down to three at 10-7. That would remain the score until the second quarter. With 4:33 left in the first half, Fairhope nailed a 34-yard field goal to knot things up at 10 apiece. With just 32 seconds remaining in the first half, senior quarterback, Tyquan Rawls connected with Malik Davis from 20 yards out, the PAT was no good, giving the Indians a 16-10 lead heading into the locker room. With 11:57 left in the third, Hezakiah Nowden recovered a Pirate fumble on the first kickoff in the second half. At the 10:23 mark in the third quarter, Rawls found a receiver in the end zone but the following two-point try was intercepted. At the 4:57 mark in the third quarter, Fairhope found pay dirt courtesy of a Cowan 9-yard rush. Cutting their deficit to 22-17. With just 27 remaining in the third quarter, the Pirates found the end zone again. Taking their first lead of the game, 24-22, into the fourth quarter. With 8:49 left in the game, Nowden stepped in front of a Fairhope receiver, picked the pass off and returned it back to the Pirate 25-yard line. At the 6:44 mark in the fourth quarter, Rawls found Timothy Johnson for a touchdown which reclaimed the lead for Wetumpka at 28-24. With 3:27 left in the contest and big plays needed to extend their lead, Wetumpka put the ball in the hands of Tyquan Rawls, who ran 34-yards to the house, extending the Indians lead to 35-24. With 1:57 remaining, Rawls came up big on defense, picking off a pass that sealed the game. Defensively, Hezakiah Nowden shined with a fumble recovery and an interception to aid in Wetumpka’s first victory of 2019.

The Road Ahead:

Next Friday, Wetumpka (1-0), will travel to Dothan, Alabama to face the Dothan Wolves at 7pm in Rip-Hewes Stadium.

For Fairhope (0-1), the Pirates will travel to Mary Montgomery and face the Vikings at Grider Field in Semmes, Alabama at 7pm.

(Picture: David Gray, Graphics: Amelia Nettles).

Discussing Classification and Region Alignments in the AHSAA

It’s here, finally after eight months of waiting, the pads start popping tonight. Some schools started Thursday, but the majority across the State of Alabama will kick off their seasons tonight. Now, it’s time to discuss the confusing topic of the AHSAA alignment of 7A. This morning, at breakfast, I was asked which teams occupy the 7A classification, so I will list all 7A schools and regions along with all 6A schools and regions.

7A, Region 1:

Alma Bryant (Mobile)

Baker (Mobile)

Davidson (Mobile)

Fairhope

Foley

Mary Montgomery (Mobile)

McGill-Toolen (Mobile)

Murphy (Mobile)

Theodore.

7A Region 2:

Auburn High

Central-Phenix City

Enterprise

Jeff Davis (Montgomery)

Robert E. Lee (Montgomery)

Prattville

Smiths Station.

7A Region 3:

Hewitt-Trussville

Hoover

Mountain Brook (Birmingham)

Oak Mountain (Birmingham)

Spain Park (Birmingham)

Thompson (Alabaster)

Tuscaloosa County

Vestavia Hills.

7A Region 4:

Austin

Bob Jones

Florence

Gadsden City

Grissom

Huntsville High

James Clemens

Sparkman.

Now, it’s time to breakdown Class 6A.

6A Region 1:

B.C. Rain (Mobile)

Baldwin County

Blount (Mobile)

Daphne

Gulf Shores

Robertsdale

Saraland

Spanish Fort

St. Pauls.

6A Region 2:

Carver-Montgomery

Dothan High (Dothan-Northview merged)

Eufaula

Park Crossing (Montgomery)

Russell County

Sidney Lanier (Montgomery).

6A Region 3:

Benjamin Russell (Alexander City)

Calera

Opelika

Selma

Stanhope Elmore (Millbrook)

Wetumpka.

Class 6A Region 4:

Bessemer City

Brookwood

Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

Hueytown

McAdory (McCalla)

Northridge

Paul Bryant.

6A Region 5:

Carver-Birmingham

Chelsea

Helena

Homewood

Jackson-Olin

Minor

Pelham.

6A Region 6:

Clay-Chalkville

Gardendale

Huffman

Oxford

Pell City

Pinson Valley

Shades Valley.

6A Region 7:

Athens

Columbia

Cullman

Decatur

Hartselle

Muscle Shoals.

6A Region 8:

Albertville

Buckhorn

Fort Payne

Hazel Green

Lee-Huntsville

Mae Jemison.

If you need a refresher, feel free to take a glance back at this piece and remind yourself who your region consists of. Here’s to another great year of high school football in Alabama!