Bo Knows: 58 Years of Bo Jackson

It’s often been said that Bo Jackson is one of, if not the best all-around athlete to ever play sports. It’s often brought up in a debate between Bo and Deion Sanders.

Yes, the same Deion Sanders that played for both the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Braves in the same day back when Sanders was in his playing days.

But not only is Bo Jackson quite possibly the best athlete to ever step onto an athletic field, he’s also one of the best human beings around.

Back on April 27, 2011, the same day that tornadoes ravaged through Tuscaloosa, Jackson, an Auburn University iconic ambassador, set the bitter rivalry aside and decided to start Bo Bikes Bama in order to help raise money for the victims of the Tuscaloosa tornadoes.

The Bessemer, Alabama native has got to be one of the most thoughtful athletes ever, if he’s not, there’s something wrong. A person’s heart can’t get much bigger than that of Mr. Bo Jackson.

Happy 58th Birthday Bo, we love you my brother.

Taking to The Plains: Volunteers Look to Start Home-Stretch of 2020 Season on Positive Note at Auburn

Tennessee returns to action for the first time in two weeks after an unexpected open weekend when it travels to No. 23/21 Auburn for a prime time kickoff on ESPN inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Volunteers scheduled home game vs. Texas A&M on November 14 in Neyland Stadium was postponed due to a combination of positive COVID tests and contract tracing within the Aggie Football program.

That game is tentatively scheduled for December 12 in Knoxville. All three of Tennessee’s currently scheduled November games are on the road, marking the first time since 1891 that the Vols will not play a home game during a calendar month.

Auburn was one of UT’s two additions to its 10-game conference schedule. The two teams are meeting for the first time since a 30-24 Tennessee win in 2018. The Tigers lead the all-time series 28-22-3.

Saturday’s game will be available for viewing on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT with Joe Tessitore (Play-by-Play), Greg McElroy (Analyst), and Allison Williams (Sideline), on the call.

The game will be available over the airwaves in the Smokey Mountain region by way of WIVK-FM 107.7 FM and WNML-FM 99.1, with Bob Kesling (Play-by-Play), Tim Priest & Brent Hubbs (Analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (Sidelines) on the call.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 54th all-time meeting between the Volunteers and Tigers. Auburn has won six out of the last seven meetings. The meeting will mark only the eighth meeting on the gridiron since 2000.

In Knoxville: Tennessee leads the series 14-10-2.

In Auburn: The Tigers lead 7-3-1.

In Birmingham: Auburn leads 10-4.

The two squads have met twice in the SEC Championship, tied 1-1 in Atlanta, Georgia. Tennessee’s biggest win in the series was a 42-point win over Auburn on The Plains in 1980.

Auburn’ s biggest win in the series history is 32 points, which has occurred twice, most recently in 2013 in Knoxville.

Tennessee’s record on November 21 games is: 9-5-1. They are currently on a five-game winning streak.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Seven Years of Unforgettable Memories: Looking Back at My First Seven Years at Bazemore Field

I’ve always loved the game of baseball. Everything about the game has provided me with an escape from reality for a few hours.

But few places, if any, provide me with the escape from reality quite like Bazemore Field, home of Wetumpka Baseball.

You see, most of you might view that place as just any old baseball field. But to me, that diamond is home.

After all, it is where my life-long dream became a reality on an early-April day in 2013. It’s the one place that I can go and not have a single worry in the world.

If you’ve been to a Wetumpka baseball in the past seven years, you might have looked up in the press box and seen me preparing for a game.

Or perhaps you’ve seen me with my hat off and head down in the left-hand corner of the press box, praying before a game.

Bazemore Field has provided me with seven-years-worth of unforgettable memories, like calling my first playoff game there in 2019, or calling my first home run there in 2014.

That diamond isn’t just an ordinary baseball diamond, or just some place I go to pass the time.

Bazemore Field is home. It’s the place my life-long dream became a reality. There’s just something about that place that no other place compares to.

When I climb the steps and step into the press box at Bazemore Field, it’s as if I never left.

I’m looking forward to creating more unforgettable memories there in 2021.

Tennessee to Face Tough Mid-season Test in Hard-nosed, Second-ranked Alabama in Knoxville

It’s no secret that the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry has fallen off of a proverbial cliff in the last 13 years, from 2007 to last year, but that doesn’t take away from the downright hatred and bad blood that continues to flow rapidly through the veins of these two programs, and fans of the two respective programs alike.

Traditionally, the rivalry game has been played on the third Saturday in October. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced schedules, the game was pushed back a week.

The Tennessee Volunteers and the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are set to renew their rivalry at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Neyland Stadium on CBS. Gameday seating will be at approximately 25 percent of the venue’s full capacity of 102,455.

Saturday’s game will be available over the airwaves of the Smokey Mountains on the Vol Network with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) on the call.

The CBS broadcast will be brought to viewers by Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.

Recent series history has been in favor of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, as Alabama has won 13 meetings in a row (2007-2019). Tennessee has won nine of its last 12 games dating back to last season. Saturday marks the halfway point for the Volunteers’ season as Tennessee is off on October 31.

Tennessee punt returners are averaging 20.0 yards per punt return this season, which ranks third in the country and second in the Southeastern Conference.

Kick returner Velus Jones Jr., is averaging 25.0 yards per kick return this season, which ranks second among teams in the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee’s defense has recorded two touchdowns thus far in 2020, which ranks third in the country and third in the Southeastern Conference.

20 Volunteers have made their Tennessee debut in 2020, including 17 true freshmen.

Inside the Series:

Saturday’s meeting between Alabama and Tennessee will mark the 103rd all-time meeting between the bitter rivals.

Alabama leads the series 57-38-7. The Crimson Tide lead the series in Knoxville, 26-20-1, Tuscaloosa, 10-4, and Birmingham 14-21-6.

Tennessee’s largest margin of victory in the series is 27 points (41-14, 1969 and 1995 respectively). Both of those games were played in Birmingham.

The Volunteers’ largest margin of defeat in the series is 51, which occurred in 1906, when the Tide beat Tennessee 51-0 in Birmingham.

Tennessee’s all-time record in games played on October 24 is 12-4-2, they are currently on a two game losing streak.

The last time a game was played on October 24 came in 2015 (19-14 L). The others came in 2009 (12-10 L to Alabama), 1998 (35-18 W over Alabama), 1987 (29-15 W over Georgia Tech), and 1981 (38-9 W over Memphis State).

Tennessee and Alabama have faced each other four times on October 24. The Vols own a 2-2 record again the Tide on that date, outscoring them 76-75.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

Old Foes, Familiar Ground: Wetumpka Hosts Tallassee at Historic Hohenberg Field Friday

It’s been 17 years since Tallassee and Wetumpka have met on the gridiron. The Tigers will travel to Wetumpka’s Hohenberg Field on Friday for their first meeting since 2003.

A Look at the Gridiron Series

The last meeting between the two programs was played at Tallassee’s J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium, with Coach Kyle Glover and the Indians pulling away from Coach Phil Lindsey and his Tigers, 52-7.

At the time of the meeting on August 29, 2003, Coach Kyle Glover was just entering his third year at the helm of Wetumpka, while Coach Phil Lindsey was entering his second season in charge of the Tallassee Football program.

The last meeting between the crosstown rivals in Wetumpka came on August 30, 2002, when Wetumpka claimed a 44-6 victory over Tallassee.

The series with Tallassee dates all the way back to November 18, 1921, a game which the Tribe won 27-0.

The former arch rivals met every year on the gridiron from 1951 to 1997 and picked back up for the two most recent games in 2002 and 2003.

A Look at the Opponent’s Last Game and History

Last week, Tallassee fell to the Reeltown Rebels 27-21 in overtime during the Tigers’ season-opener at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.

The Tigers are led by ninth-year head coach, Mike Battles Jr., during his coaching tenure across the Tallapoosa River, Battles is (60-31) with six playoff appearances and a (5-6) record in those postseason appearances with the Tigers.

Prior to taking the job as the head football coach at Tallassee High School before the 2012 season, Battles spent time at Oak Grove High School (1997-2007) and Bibb County High School (2008-2011).

Overall, in 24 years as a high school head football coach in the State of Alabama, Mike Battles Jr is (177-86).

A Glance at Wetumpka’s Last Game and History

Wetumpka opened the season with a 40-10 loss to rival Prattville at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in the second game of the AHSAA’s Kickoff Classic.

The Indians are led by ninth-year head coach Tim Perry. Prior to coming to Wetumpka in 2012, Coach Perry led the Alabama Christian Academy Eagles from 1985 to 2000.

During his 14-year tenure at Alabama Christian, he led the Eagles to a (73-73) record, including six trips to the postseason.

Later, Coach Perry would land jobs in Nashville and at Central Arkansas Christian School in North Little Rock. Central Arkansas Christian won the Arkansas Class 3A state title in 2004.

In 2007, Perry joined the staff at his alma mater, Harding University. In 2010, he took over at Nashville’s AR, where he remained for two seasons.

In 2012, Perry returned to the State of Alabama, as the head coach at Wetumpka where he has since remained.

During his tenure at Wetumpka, Perry has led the Tribe to a (59-38) record including seven-straight postseason appearances.

In his career as a high school head coach in Alabama his head coaching record is (132-111), in Nashville, Tennessee, and North Little Rock, Arkansas, his head coaching record is (68-19-1), and his overall high school head coaching record is (200-130-1).

Kickoff between the Tallassee Tigers and Wetumpka Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hohenberg Field.

Source: Tannehill Photography.

Locked In: Wetumpka Set to Take Gridiron for First Time in Unprecedented Season vs. Rival Prattville

With all the uncertainty surrounding sports these days and everything being so close-to-the-vest so to speak, it’s safe to say that we are living and playing sports in unprecedented times.

But that doesn’t mean that this season means less than any other season in the past. In fact, you could make a case by saying this season actually means more than any other season.

Not because it’s just another season, but because of everything that has threatened the sports world in the past few months.

A Look at the Opponent:

Prattville High School Football is led by third-year head coach, Caleb Ross.

Ross led the Lions to a (9-3), third-place finish in Class 7A Region 2 in 2019.

Prattville’s wins came over Foley (39-0), Stanhope Elmore (42-0), Enterprise, (28-14), Wetumpka, (31-13), Lee-Montgomery, (20-3), Jeff Davis, (44-7), Smiths Station, (49-21), Sidney Lanier, (38-24), and Theodore, (24-17 in double overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lions’ losses in 2019, came at the hands of Central Phenix City, (45-20), Auburn, (17-3), and Central Phenix City again, (24-6) in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.

A Glance at the History Between Prattville and Wetumpka:

Friday night’s meeting between the two arch rivals separated by just 19 miles, will be the first-known neutral site game played between the two bitter rivals in the history of the two programs.

Friday night’s game will be the 58th all-time meeting between the crosstown rivals, with the first meeting coming all the way back on September 29, 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6, and the most-recent meeting coming on September 27, 2019, with Prattville winning by a score of 31-13.

Each team enters Friday’s matchup having won 27 contests each with three ties.

Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.,m., kickoff from Montgomery, Alabama’s historic Cramton Bowl as part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Kickoff Classic.

Expectations are high, but so are the rewards.

Source: Tannehill Photography

Locked In: Wetumpka Set to Hit Gridiron for First Time in Unprecedented Season against Rival Prattville

With all the uncertainty surrounding sports these days and everything being so close-to-the-vest so to speak, it’s safe to say that we are living and playing sports in unprecedented times.

But that doesn’t mean that this season means less than any other season in the past. In fact, you could make a case by saying this season actually means more than any other season.

Not because it’s just another season, but because of everything that has threatened the sports world in the past few months.

A Look at the Opponent:

Prattville High School Football is led by third-year head coach, Caleb Ross.

Ross led the Lions to a (9-3), third-place finish in Class 7A Region 2 in 2019.

Prattville’s wins came over Foley (39-0), Stanhope Elmore (42-0), Enterprise, (28-14), Wetumpka, (31-13), Lee-Montgomery, (20-3), Jeff Davis, (44-7), Smiths Station, (49-21), Sidney Lanier, (38-24), and Theodore, (24-17 in double overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lions’ losses in 2019, came at the hands of Central Phenix City, (45-20), Auburn, (17-3), and Central Phenix City again, (24-6) in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.

A Glance at the History Between Prattville and Wetumpka:

Friday night’s meeting between the two arch rivals separated by just 19 miles, will be the first-known neutral site game played between the two bitter rivals in the history of the two programs.

Friday night’s game will be the 58th all-time meeting between the crosstown rivals, with the first meeting coming all the way back on September 29, 1922, a game that Wetumpka won 25-6, and the most-recent meeting coming on September 27, 2019, with Prattville winning by a score of 31-13.

Each team enters Friday’s matchup having won 27 contests each with three ties.

Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff from Montgomery, Alabama’s historic Cramton Bowl as part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Kickoff Classic.

Expectations are high, but so are the rewards.

Source: Tannehill Photography.

All is Right With the World: Baseball is Back

For fans like myself, who grew up around and love the game of baseball. After waiting all offseason plus four more months.

You add that up and you’ll get 267 days of boredom, waiting, impatience, and so much more.

But for me, all is right considering that the Braves are off to a (2-1) season after the first series of the season.

Following a well-pitched 1-0 loss on Opening Day Friday, Atlanta found the New York Mets weakness and pulled out two consecutive wins.

Saturday, the Braves were literally down to their last strike, but then game newcomer Marcell Ozuna, who blasted a game-tying home run and then Dansby Swanson scored the game-winning run in the top of the tenth.

On Sunday, the Braves brought out what we’ve been waiting all offseason to see, a 17-hit, 14-run outburst to cruise past the Mets 14-1.

Tonight the Braves will take on the Tampa Bay Rays for two games in Tampa, Florida, and the Rays will follow the Braves back to Atlanta for two more Wednesday and Thursday.

Baseball is back and everything is right in my world.

Resting Respect: Paying Visits to Some of the South’s Most Influential Figures

Perhaps you were watching my travels throughout this great State of Alabama this weekend on Facebook.

You may wonder what I was doing, you may also wonder what made me pay visits to the many statues and gravesites in multiple cities.

Well, since sports have been basically nonexistent since mid-March, I have come across a newfangled hobby, touring cemeteries; both virtually and physically to pay respects to those that are no longer here in bodily form, but rather in the presence of God.

On Saturday, I visited a statue dedicated to the memory of Booker T. Washington, a mid-19th-century and early-20th-century social reformer, who believed in hard work, and self-education.

On Sunday, Dad and I took a family friend with us to Mobile, Alabama, to visit multiple cemeteries with several early-Mobile notable figures.

Our first visit Sunday, was to the notoriously haunted, Church Street Graveyard, where the man who created a Mardi Gras Revival in 1866 and 1867, is buried.

Perhaps you’ve heard of him, Joseph Stillwell “Joe” Cain Jr. while in Church Street Graveyard, we saw the famous Boyington Oak that stands just outside the Northwest corner of the 19th-century New England churchyard-style cemetery atop the grave of Charles Robert Stuart Boyington, a mid-17th-century printer and gambler, whom moved to Mobile in search of a better life than the one he had experienced in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr. Boyington, allegedly had become friends with Nathaniel Frost, whom owed him money from one of their poker games but refused to give Boyington the money.

As a result, Mr. Frost would be stabbed, robbed, and left for dead inside of the Church Street Graveyard.

Mr. Boyington would be framed as the suspect, taken into custody, and hanged in 1835. According to legend, his last words, as his feet dangled from a tree at Oakleigh, which is now historic landmark, were “A tree will grow from my heart to prove my innocence.”

After our stop to visit Alabama’s third-most haunted burial ground, the three of us made our way to the 120-acre Magnolia Cemetery just down the road, to pay respects to Confederate States Army General Braxton Bragg, whom I claim is my namesake. We also saw numerous graves of confederate soldiers.

Next, we travelled to the 19th-century, Saluda Hill Cemetery, in Spanish Fort, Alabama, to visit the grave of Zachariah Godbold, the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Moral of the story, pay respects to those that came before anyway you can, you never know what you’ll run across in the process.

Church Street Graveyard sign.
Joe Cain grave, Church Street Graveyard.
Joe Cain and I in Church Street Graveyard.
The haunted Boyington Oak, Church Street Graveyard.
Confederate Monument, Magnolia Cemetery.
General Braxton Bragg and I.
Our Confederate Dead, Magnolia Cemetery
Zachariah Godbold, Revolutionary War veteran, Saluda Hill Cemetery, Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Booker T. Washington statue, Tuskegee University.

The Last of The Bulldog: My Last Trip to Turner Field and Met “The Bulldog” Five Years Later

Saying Goodbye to Turner Field

ttended my last game at Turner Field on July 13, 2012, when the Braves took on their National League East division-rival, New York Mets, out of Flushing, New York, a suburb of New York City.

The starting pitchers that night were Dillon Gee from the New York Mets and the Braves handed the ball to Auburn, Alabama’s Tim Hudson. Hudson is a 1997 graduate of Auburn University, where he was teammates with that night’s starting catcher, David Ross. Together in college, those two won the College World Series during Hudson and Ross’ Senior year of 1997.

When I was heading to Turner Field that afternoon, I could feel my chest getting tighter the closer we got to the field.

I knew that this would most-likely be the very last time I ever stepped foot into the place where I fell in love with the game of baseball.

That night it rained for three hours before the game ever got started and it was 12:30 before the game got started.

We started until the end of the sixth inning. Fittingly, Chipper Jones had the last at-bat I ever witnessed at Turner Field.

But this was much different than the first time I ever saw him at the plate in person, he didn’t get out.

In fact, he sent a ball deep into the Atlanta night, over the right-center field wall. He must’ve known I was in the stands, because otherwise, he would’ve probably gotten out as was often the case.

The Braves ended up winning the game 8-5.

Meeting Tim Hudson Five Years Later:

On April 7, 2017, my uncle, who coached my cousin’s travel ball team, called me to tell me that they would be playing a team out of Auburn, Alabama, called the Colt 45’s, and it was coached by Tim Hudson.

When he told me this, I knew immediately that I would be in attendance just to see the game.

But, I didn’t know it would result in me meeting the last pitcher I ever saw start at Turner Field face-to-face and having a conversation with him.

On April 8, 2017, I woke up early, my uncle picked me up and we headed to Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Alabama.

As I approached the field, I could see Tim was carrying his San Francisco Giants warmup bag, for those of you that aren’t familiar with him, he won a World Series title in San Francisco in 2014.

He was busy when I approached, so I waited until he wasn’t busy to get his attention. After his team had taken the field for pregame warmups, he approached the dugout that I was standing beside, I took this opportunity to yell “Tim!” And then motioned for him to come over to me. He did so politely.

I mentioned to him that my goal was to become a Major League Baseball broadcaster one day and then he and I talked a few more minutes, I asked him “Would you mind if I got a picture with you?” He responded “Absolutely brother, come on.” Afterwards I told him that he was the last pitcher a game at Turner Field that I attended, he said “Is that the game when it rained forever?” I said “It was, y’all didn’t start playing until 12:30 a.m., he responded “That’s it.” He and I both shared a laugh because we both knew how that turned out for the New York Mets, whom both of us hated. The last thing I asked him was “Who gave you the nickname ‘The Bulldog’ he smiled and said, “Two people are responsible for that nickname, Chipper and Bobby Cox, Chipper started it first because he said I went after hitters like a bulldog and after a few weeks, the skipper only called me “Bulldog”. I thanked him and before I sat down I said “Go Braves!” He said “Chop on, my brother.”

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Call to the Pen