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.
Now on its 124th football season, Tennessee hosts Missouri in its 2020 home opener at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 11 a.m. CT in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The battle between the Tigers and Volunteers will be available on the SEC Network with Dave Neal (play-by-play), DJ Shockley (analyst), and Dawn Davenport on the sidelines.
Across the airwaves in Tennessee the game will be aired on the Vol Radio Network on WIVK-FM 107.7 and WNML 99.1. As well as Sirius channel 105 and XM channel 190 with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg providing updates from the sidelines.
Saturday’s meeting between Missouri and Tennessee will be the latest home opener on the Volunteers calendar since hosting arch-rival Alabama on October 20, 1962. Tennessee will return home for the first time in 308 days when it defeated Vanderbilt 28-10 on November 30, 2019.
Tennessee has won four in a row at Neyland Stadium, having outscored their opponents 119-48 in that span with all four victories coming by way of double-digits. The team’s current win streak began in October 12, 2019, a 20-10 win over Mississippi State.
The Volunteers carry the longest winning streak amongst teams in the Power Five conferences into Saturday. Having won seven straight overall and five straight Southeastern Conference games, a win over Missouri on Saturday could potentially give Tennessee the longest active winning streak in the nation, Tennessee trails only Air Force (8) and Notre Dame (8) in that category.
Sophomore running back Eric Gray has five combined rushing touchdowns in his last three games.
The Volunteers defense has been stingy when it comes points during this seven-game win streak, only surrendering 17.1 points per game in that span.
Senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has 26 career starts behind center, which ranks ninth in Tennessee football history, one shy of eighth.?
As a football program, Tennessee now has 847 all-time victories, which ranks ninth among FBS programs and second in the Southeastern Conference.
Saturday’s meeting in Knoxville between Missouri and Tennessee will be the ninth all-time, the Tigers lead the series 5-3. Entering Saturday, Tennessee is just 1-3 in Knoxville but both have split the four Columbia, Missouri meetings right down the middle, with two wins apiece. The series dates back to 2012, with the last meeting coming in 2019, a 24-20 Tennessee win in Columbia.
Tennessee is (14-4) in games played on October 3, but is currently on a two-game skid on that date. In the last game that occurred in October 3, the Volunteers fell to Arkansas 24-20, in 2015.
In the last five meetings on October 3, Tennessee is 3-2. The history of October 3 games looks like this:
1992 – 20-0 W (vs. LSU), 1996 – 41-3 W (vs. Ole Miss at a neutral site in Memphis, Tennessee), 1998 – 17-9 W (vs. Auburn), 2009 – 26-22 L (vs. Auburn), and 2015 – 24-20 L (vs. Arkansas).
Will Jeremy Pruitt and the Volunteers extend their winning streak to eight games on Saturday or will Eli Drinkiwitz and his Missouri Tigers have different plans?
Find out Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on the SEC Network.
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 Wetumpkacame 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.
Monday was shaping up to be a normal day in my life, I got home Monday afternoon and sat down on the couch and was gearing up to listen to the Braves as they were set to take on National League East Division rival, New York Mets.
I noticed dad wasn’t home, but I didn’t think much of it, I assumed he had simply gone to the store or somewhere like that.
About 45 minutes passed and in comes dad holding a leash, I could hear what sounded like a dog walking. So, I got up from the couch and saw a beautiful black dog in tow with dad.
I asked if the dog had a name, and dad said “No, I don’t think so.” Immediately following that statement, I began to think of a name for my new four-legged friend.
I thought about it all night and all day for the next day and a half, and finally on Wednesday afternoon, as I was looking at my new friend’s shiny black coat.
I’ve always been one that enjoys music, particularly old school country, such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, etc.
As I glanced at his coat, it reminded me of Johnny Cash’s trademark black attire. I immediately sent dad a text and said “I believe I have a name for him, ‘Cash.’”
Dad then proceeded to walk through the door after returning from the store, and I mentioned it to him again, because I knew that he hadn’t checked his phone yet.
He said “Ask your brother,” so I went to my brother’s room and proposed the name to him and he responded “Sure.”
So, I reported back to dad and he said “We’ll then, his name is Cash.”
As soon as I figured his name out, I turned to Cash and said “Welcome home, you old ‘Man in Black.’”
Ever since then, Cash has stuck by my side, only leaving my side when I go to work. He seems to be warming up at a rapid pace, playing with toys, licking my face, ignoring the pesky Jack Russell we have that doesn’t particularly know what to think of her new “roommate”.
Because Cash knows that she’s harmless, I’ve tried to tell our Jack Russell that Cash is also harmless, but she doesn’t seem to think so.
They say everything new takes time to get used to, but I’d say Cash is getting used to things easily.
He also seems to be glad to finally be free of “Folsom Prison.”
Everywhere I go, I have a little black four-legged shadow now. So, if you see me and you see a black shadow, just know that’s the Dog in Black.
It’s always tough losing a loved one, especially pets. Even though there may be times when we sin, those God-sent four-legged animals love us as though we have never committed a sin in our life.
Sunday night, I lost my pet. I didn’t just lose my pet, I lost my friend, my four-legged brother, my companion.
As he crossed the bridge from temporary life into eternal life, I was broken inside. I didn’t know why he had to go but I knew exactly where he was going.
My four-legged brother, friend and companion was heading straight to Heaven. As much as it hurt to see him go, I was at peace knowing that he was no longer in pain,
For he was heading to be in The House of the Lord. He was heading for eternal life. In his final hours, I saw him in pain and desperation. As I looked into his yellow eyes during those heart-wrenching hours, I saw little tears being shed from the struggle that he was going through.
He hadn’t wagged his tail all day, but when St. Peter opened the pearly gates and my four-legged brother took the first of many steps on the streets of gold, he began to finally wag his tail, as if he was telling us he was in The House of God. He was finally at peace with one paw in the Hand of God.
Pets are often thought of as God’s sinless creatures, which is the absolute truth. If you have a dog, or any pet for that matter, hug them, feed them the table scraps, feed them half of everything you eat.
Do unto God’s creatures as you would hope they would do unto you,
Yesterday around 6:30 a.m., I woke up and got ready for opening day of the 2020 baseball season for Wetumpka High School.
I arrived at Bazemore Field around 8:45 a.m., with ‘sleep’ still in my eyes, I knew that it would be a great day. After all, it’s not the first time that I have arrived at the field with sleep in my eyes.
I made my way into the press box for the first time in 2020 and I immediately felt like I had never left. All that was on my mind was taking care of business behind the microphone.
About 9:45, a.m., with loud music playing behind me, I walked over to the right corner of the press box, removed my hat and prayed, as I have done for seven years now.
When I finished praying I looked up and pointed to the sky, as I have done for the six years. Then I proceeded to grab the microphone and test it out for the first time this year.
As I spoke into it, I felt chills run down my spine because I knew that I had been waiting on this day since the last game of the previous season was played back in April.
The day progressed and my voice never seemed to waiver. Wetumpka lost the first game of the 11 a.m and 5p.m., doubleheader, which turned out to be an 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. doubleheader.
The sun began to set just beyond the wall in centerfield. By this time I knew that we would bounce back from defeat in game one, and we did just that, to the tune of a 13-3 win over Munford High School.
Now, most people might say “14 hours worth of baseball, that’s a lot, weren’t you tired?!?” The tiredness never hit me during the games, but when I got home at 10:45 p.m., and went to bed, there was no waking me up.
I’ve always heard, “Finish what you start and sleep once it’s done.” And I did just that.
If you want something bad enough, you have to sacrifice something, even if that means sacrificing sleep.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will be back at Bazemore Field for a 4 p.m. first pitch against the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies.
There are very few places where I can go and feel like I’ve escaped reality for a few hours.
In fact, there is one place in particular that I go to, not just because it’s a baseball diamond, not because there’s a press box here, not because I frequent this place a lot during this time of the year. But, because it’s the place where my dream of becoming a broadcaster came true.
What’s that place, you ask? That place is Bazemore Field, named after the late, great, Coach Stokely Bazemore, a highly successful baseball coach at my alma mater during his time at Wetumpka.
All my life, my family has called me ‘Little Stokely’, not because I’m a baseball coach, definitely not because I’m good at math, but because I remember statistics just like he did and because I often sit with my left leg over my right, just like he did.
So, it’s only fitting that my dream came to fruition here. Not only did my dream come true here, I also have countless memories here ranging back before my career as a broadcaster came to be.
I’ve been behind the microphone at Bazemore Field and several other places, not just in Wetumpka over the past six years, but none of them have quite felt like home like “The Baze.”
My dad often tells me stories of his playing days under Coach Stokley Bazemore and they never get old.
Coach Bazemore had a speech impediment from what I understand, but even with that. People loved him.
I never did have the honor of meeting Coach Bazemore, but I did attend his visitation in 2008, which was in the high school Commons area, which also serves as the lunchroom.
His casket sat right in the middle if the Commons above the top step right in front of the library.
I have a feeling Stokely Bazemore and I would have become fast friends, although he probably would’ve cussed me out over my math skills, which are lacking.
In fact, the highway leading to the school and baseball field is named “Coach Stokely Bazemore Highway” in his honor.
For almost seven years, my voice has been heard through the speakers at Bazemore Field and I have no doubt that Coach is sitting in Heaven tapping his foot and doing his famous hand gesture, where his finger tips would meet each other when he was in deep thought, which chalk dust on the seat of his pants.
I like to think that he would be beaming ear-to-ear knowing that “Pahma’s” son was calling the games at the place named after him.
Pahma was his nickname for my dad, but he couldn’t say his R’s.
This coming Saturday, three days from now, I will start my seventh season as baseball broadcaster when Wetumpka kicks off the season at home against Benjamin Russell and Sweet Water at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
It’s still so hard to believe that in less than three months, I will crank the speakers up and let my voice be heard at Bazemore Field in Wetumpka for the seventh year.
If you know me, you know how many hours I practiced announcing when I was little, it’s the only way that I could be around sports due to the fact that I didn’t play sports for long when I was a kid.
I played baseball until I was eight, because I broke my finger bunting a baseball when I was seven.
From that my moment on, I knew that the only way that I could see my dream flourish would be to pick up a microphone.
Over the past six years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of announcing for numerous then-future MLB draftees, announced in the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Playoffs, visited several colleges, and so much more.
In 2020, I plan on making many more new, unforgettable memories and sarcastic remarks, behind the microphone at Bazemore Field.
Here’s to seven years of living my dream, the best is yet to come.
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.