Wetumpka Hosts Rival Stanhope Elmore in Blackout Clash

For decades the question has been asked “Who is Wetumpka’s biggest rival, Prattville or Stanhope?” While opinions have varied over the decades, from a personal standpoint, Stanhope Elmore is the bigger rival of the two in my eyes. Why, you might ask. Well, simply put there is absolutely no love lost when it comes down to these two, tensions always seem to rise, along with the stakes. No, this game hasn’t had the implications that the Prattville rivalry has had in past years, often it doesn’t even matter what the two teams’ records are when it comes down to this game. You may like to think of it as the Iron Bowl of high school football, especially here in Elmore County. This game always seems to be a knock-down, drag-out war, no matter what sport it’s in. Now on to the preview.

Glancing at the Opponent

The Mustangs, led by third-year head coach Brian Bradford, come into tonight’s game with a (5-1) record. Their only loss being to cross-county rival Prattville 42-0, on August 30. Stanhope Elmore came away victorious against Chilton County (24-8), Benjamin Russell (12-7), Calera (42-15), Shades Valley (26-6), and Smiths Station (20-17).

Inside the Rivalry

This meeting between the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs and Wetumpka Indians, will be the 51st all-time meeting in this series. Stanhope Elmore owns a 30-20 edge in the series.

The series dates back to October 16, 1970, a game that Wetumpka won 19-14, and was most recently played on October 5, 2018, a game that Stanhope Elmore came away with the late 34-28 victory. But as I mentioned before, throw everything, the kitchen sink included, out of the window in this one. None of that matters.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm at Hohenberg Field in Wetumpka.

Pictures: David Gray.

Nice to See You Again, Old Friend

About two weeks ago, I was heading to Alpharetta, Georgia and I passed the place where I spent a large amount of my time growing up, Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, since it is the home of the Georgia State Panthers football. I still call it Turner Field, though, because that’s what I’ve always known it as. I witnessed many victories inside those friendly confines and very few losses. In fact, a few months ago, I did the math, and I realized that I had been to 42 Braves games, 41 of which game at Turner Field. The Braves home record when I attend is 31-10. I like to think of myself as the Braves ‘good luck charm’. Because they almost never lose when I’m in attendance. As I passed the stadium, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, I felt the thrill that I felt as a little kid, I felt like a kid in a candy store all over again. I’ve seen so many Braves greats take the field there. I was taken back to when I was little and we would pull up to the stadium and I would blurt out the ESPN theme song, I could hear Crazy Train over the PA system in my head as I passed it. So many great memories were made there. I never visited the stadium when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. It was like I was a little kid again for that split-second. So many life-long friends were made inside those four walls. I haven’t been inside SunTrust Park yet, but I did pass it as I was headed home that weekend and I plan to visit in 2020. Nice to see you again, old friend.

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.

9/11/01: The Day the World Went Up in Flames

18 years ago tomorrow, the world came crashing down around all of us when planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers hit the ground. I don’t remember much about that somber day, when every human walking the face of this Earth were stopped dead in their tracks, speechless because of what had just occurred. But I do remember running up to my mom when she got home from school that day and screaming “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! The planes just hit the buildings!” I didn’t realize what had just happened, what kind of impact that this event would have on this world. All I knew was the planes had hit the building, because I was three-years-old. What else am I supposed to know about what had just happened at that age? Have you forgotten where you were, what you were feeling, do you remember your reaction? Before laying your head down tonight, hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, get on a knee and pray for the families of the ones who were lost on that tragic day some 18 years ago. Lives were literally blown away, they literally went up in flames. Just as this country did on September 11, 2001. May we never forget what occurred 18 years ago. God Bless.

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)

Willie Nelson: The Only True Outlaw Left in Country Music

It has been debated for years, just how many true outlaws are left in Country music and it’s without a doubt that when discussing this topic you’re going to mention an 86-year-old with long, braided, silver, silky hair from Abbott, Texas, named Willie Nelson. There’s a strong possibility that he just might be the only true outlaw left in the country music genre. You see, the rest of these people, mainly the newer self proclaimed ‘artists’ think they are outlaws and love to sing songs written and performed by people way before their time. But with Willie Nelson, he is an outlaw. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. Some of these new people write songs about stuff that didn’t actually live through or witness. With Nelson, there’s no doubt that he’s actually lived through or witnessed the things that he has written about in songs. Willie has lived through the Great Depression, both World Wars, the Vietnam War, Korean War and so much more. In fact, Willie Nelson served this country out of high school and then attended Baylor University after his time in the armed forces. I can’t even begin to imagine all of the things that Willie has seen over the past 86 years. When the news broke early Thursday morning of Willie Nelson cancelling all of his 2019 tour dates because of a breathing problem. I was literally speechless. It got me to thinking ‘Just how much more can this man take?’ How many outlaws are left in country music?’ Willie has had his fair share of health problems in the past, including pneumonia, a few years back. People these days don’t take time to think about those who made country music what it used to be, what many people, like myself still consider real country music, like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck and so many more people. What this generation considers ‘country’ isn’t country at all. Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida-Georgia Line etc. are more of pop artists than country. You can get mad if you want, because I really don’t care what you think. That’s not what people like Willie intended it to be. You can say ‘Luke Bryan, Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Combs etc. are country’ all you want. But I along with so many others will quickly tell that it most definitely is not country music. It’s time we start paying attention to folks like Willie and appreciate their music like y’all do these pop artists that consider themselves ‘country artists’. We need to buy the old timers’ music, listen to it and appreciate it because we won’t have them much longer. I never have understood why people start buying the old music long after the artists have passed on. Why can’t we buy it while they’re still alive? Because as Willie says ‘the best I can tell the world’s gone to Hell.’ Folks, whether you like it or not, Willie Nelson really is the only true outlaw left in country music.

June: The Month of the Braves

June was in fact a month for the ages. During the month of June the Atlanta Braves (50-35) compiled a record of (20-8) after Sunday night’s 8-5 loss to the New York Mets. In the 28 games last month, the Braves clubbed a franchise-record 56 homers over the course of the calendar month. That surpassed the previous record of 55, set by the 2003 Braves in May of that year by one. The previous record stood for 16 seasons. Also in the sixth month of 2019, the Braves tabbed Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka as 2019 National League All-Stars. Soroka and Acuña made Major League Baseball history when they were named to the team. As they are the first pair of players younger than 22-years-old, to be named to the same All-Star team in the same season. But that’s not all Acuña did in June. He will also be the eighth-youngest Brave to ever play in the Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on July 9th. Acuña launched the record-breaking 56th home run in June 437 feet into the orange Flushing, New York skyline. Ronald will also participate in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby. It’s only fitting that he hit the record-breaking homer. A few weeks back I received a text from a family member asking who I thought would break the franchise-record. My response? Ronald Acuña Jr on June 30th. They seemed to disagree as they thought Vanderbilt alum Dansby Swanson would club the historic homer. I responded to them with “I don’t care who hits it, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll be Ronald Acuña Jr., but either way we’re breaking it.” Little did I know that my prediction would be absolutely spot-on. What a month June was. If June was a prelude into July, then what should we expect in the seventh month of 2019? The next Braves game is Tuesday, July 2, 2019 vs. Philadelphia at 7:20pm ET. The Phillies haven’t named a starter as of right now. Dallas Keuchel makes his third start in a Braves uniform on Tuesday.