Battle in Ol’ Paul Snow: Tribe, Bucks Meet For Second Consecutive Season at Jacksonville State University

It’s been a long first four weeks of 2019 for the Wetumpka Indians (2-2) but thankfully, the long stretch of traveling is almost over, at least for a couple of weeks. Thursday night’s matchup at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Buckhorn (3-1) is led by third-year head coach, Keith Henderson. Henderson began his high school coaching career at Sparkman High School in 1999 and was the Senators coach until 2002. After leaving Sparkman, Henderson took eight years off and became the head coach of the Grissom Tigers in 2010, where his tenure was short and not-so-sweet as the Tigers went (1-9) in his only year at Grissom. Coach Henderson didn’t find his way to Buckhorn until 2017, when he took over as the Bucks head man, where he has been for three years since 2017. So far in 2019, the Bucks have a (3-1) record. They beat Madison County 35-21 in Week 1, lost to Florence 33-20 in Week 2, beat Hazel Green 36-35 in Week 3 and beat Albertville 24-7 a week ago. Wetumpka will look to halt the Bucks two-game win streak.

What’s After This?

Next week Wetumpka will play their home opener vs. Prattville While Buckhorn will host Sparkman.

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka and Buckhorn have only met once before in 2018 with Wetumpka running away with things 23-7 on September 20, 2018 at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

Can they do it again? Kickoff is set for 7pm Thursday night at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

A Budding Rivalry: Wetumpka Travels East to Rival Opelika for Fourth-Consecutive Road Game

In recent years, this game has lived up to all of the hype surrounding it. Every single bit of the hype. Basically, if you attend this game, you’re almost guaranteed to witness an instant classic and we will talk about that later in this article.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Opelika is led by second-year head coach, Erik Speakman, who came to Opelika in 2018 and led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record. Through the first three games of 2019, Speakman’s Bulldogs are 3-0 with wins over Callaway High School (GA), 10-7, Auburn High School Tigers (AL), 21-13 and Selma High School Saints (AL) 23-7. 2018 marked Coach Speakman’s first year as a high school coach in Alabama.

Inside the Series:

Although this series dates back 81 years, to 1938, it didn’t become the budding rivalry that it is today until recent years, 2016, to be exact. Despite dating back 81 years, these two programs only have a handful of clashes, five to be exact. In the last three meetings since 2016, games between these budding rivals have been decided by a slim margin, in fact, the largest margin of victory over the last three meetings is a whopping two points which belongs to Wetumpka from their most-recent clash in 2018. Today, the 2018 meeting in Wetumpka stands as the Indians only win through the first five games of the series.

The 2019 renewal of the limited rivalry is set for 7pm at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika, Alabama, on the campus of Opelika High School.

Picture: Tiffany Singleton.

Tribe Continues Season-Opening Five-City Road Trip with Trip to Calera

The 2019 season has begun in an unusual fashion, as it has taken the Wetumpka Indians (1-1) from Central Alabama to Southern Alabama to Southeastern Alabama and Wetumpka will continue to follow the warpath up north to Calera, Alabama in week three of the season. From there, the warpath will take them over to Eastern Alabama to Opelika in week four and then lead them back up north to Jacksonville, Alabama, before leading them back home to Central Alabama and the friendly confines of Hohenberg Field in week six. But for this week, we will focus on Wetumpka’s first trip to Northern Alabama in 2019 against the Calera Eagles.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Through the first two weeks of the 2019 season, the Calera Eagles (1-1) have split their first two contests. Outlasting the Pelham Panthers (0-2) 27-20, in week one. Last week, the Eagles fell victim to the Pell City Panthers (1-1) 27-21. Calera is led by first-year head coach, Trey Simpson. Simpson is in his first year in the Eagles’ Nest and is also in the first year of his career. Through his first two games as head coach his team is (1-1) and is being outscored 48-47. So far in 2019, Calera is scoring an average of 24 points per game, while the Indians are averaging 38 points per game.

Gridiron History Between the Programs:

Calera has faced Wetumpka once just before, that meeting came on September 7th, 2018, in Wetumpka, where the Indians raced past the Eagles by a final score of 34-14.

The Weeks Leading Up:

In the weeks leading to this matchup, the Eagles went (1-1) defeating Pelham in Week 1 (27-20) and falling to Pell City (27-21) a week ago.

As for Wetumpka, the Indians defeated Fairhope in Week 1 (35-24) and fell to newly-combined Dothan High (54-41) last week.

Kickoff is set for Friday, September 6th, 2019, at 7 p.m. in Ricky M. Cairns Memorial Stadium in Calera, Alabama.

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.

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!

Unfinished Business: Wetumpka Football travels to Battle Fairhope in 2019 season-opener

After nine months of dealing with heartbreak at the hands of the Saraland Spartans on November 30, 2018 in the Class 6A State Semifinals, Wetumpka is staring down the barrel of what they hope is another memorable season in 2019. Today is the last day of the offseason for high school teams around the state of Alabama, starting tomorrow, every team in the state has the same record and equal chances of making it to Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium for the State Championship game. This will be the second-straight year that Auburn’s Jordan-Hare has hosted state title games, due to renovations taking place at The University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium.

A Glance at the Opponent:

The Fairhope Pirates are led by fifth-year head coach, Tim Carter. Over the past four seasons at the helm in Fairhope, Carter is 23-19. Carter arrived at Fairhope after parting ways with 7A powerhouse, Auburn High School following the 2014 season. In 2018, the Pirates finished the season with a 7-4 record including a trip to the Class 7A state playoffs before being ousted from the playoffs at the hands of Auburn High, a school that Carter is very familiar with. The Fairhope Pirates participate in Class 7A, Region 1 of the AHSAA

Gridiron History Between the Opponents:

Wetumpka and Fairhope have only collided on the football field a total of two times, with the first coming on November 7, 2007 in Wetumpka. The Indians dismantled the Pirates in the first round of the 2007 Class 6A State Playoffs, 62-35. In the most recent meeting in 2018, Wetumpka toppled Fairhope 35-14 on August 24, 2018 in Wetumpka. This will be just the third all-time meeting between the two programs on the gridiron. The 2019 season kicks off on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 at 7pm from Fairhope Municipal Stadium in Fairhope, Alabama.

(Photo: Amelia Nettles)