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.

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)

Passing The Headset: Andy Burcham to Assume Duties as Voice of the Auburn Tigers

Just after mid-day on Monday, the news broke around the State of Alabama that Andy Burcham, the longtime color analyst for the late Rod Bramblett had been named the new ‘Voice of the Auburn Tigers’. While I’m sure that this move had to be a tough one on Burcham, it just seems fitting. As Rod and Andy had just celebrated 25 years of broadcasting Auburn Baseball games alongside each other a few weeks before Rod and Paula Bramblett’s untimely and sudden death. Andy has been in the broadcasting industry since 1988. The 2019-2020 season will mark Burcham’s 32nd year in the industry. Personally, I don’t think I could’ve taken the job under these circumstances, but somebody has to do it and I know without a doubt, that Rod is smiling down from heaven knowing that his longtime friend and colleague, Andy Burcham, has been selected to assume the role that Bramblett held for so many years. While you will never be able to replace the silky, southern voice of Rod Bramblett, now is the time for Andy Burcham to cement his legacy alongside Bramblett and Jim Fyffe as ‘The Voice of the Auburn Tigers’ and Rod wouldn’t have it any other way. In a sense, Rod is simply passing the headset to his right-hand man, Andy Burcham.

It’s Almost Time for Friday Night Lights, College Football, and the Busiest Months of My Year

Normally, I write about Braves Baseball, but tonight I decided to write about football, a sport that I haven’t written about yet. We all love football season, the sights of traditions, the sounds of helmets colliding, whistles blowing, rowdy fans screaming at the referees from the stands and all of the things tied in with the sport of football, especially college football down here in the South, where it’s all about the Iron Bowl and Alabama and Auburn, it’s about bragging rights when it comes down to it. But for me, a Tennessee fan, I just hope we make it to a bowl game, sadly. In just a few weeks, Florida and Miami will kick off the football season on August 24th at 6pm. As for me, a multi-sport broadcaster of almost seven years, football season is without a doubt the busiest time of the year me. During football season, I take on the responsibilities as The Voice of Wetumpka High School JV games, Wetumpka Middle School games and Wetumpka 9th grade football games. Many of you may asked ‘what do you do during the time between multiple sports?’ Here’s your answer, get ready for the next sport. In the past, I have broadcasted sports ranging from baseball to basketball and everything in between, so I don’t get much down time, but, it’s what I was born to do, so I’m not complaining. This will mark my 4th year as a football broadcaster and 7th year overall and if it’s anything like the past six, it will be incredible. Needless to say, I’m ready for the busiest months of my year.

What’s at Stake in Washington, DC?

We all know that the Braves have had some struggles this year, very few of them, but they’ve still had them. Particularly with the Washington Nationals, who Atlanta will visit for three games beginning Monday night at 6:05pm CT. You might ask ‘What are we going to do with the absence of Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis?” I might have your answer. Granted it was a small sample-size during the weekend series in Philadelphia, Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall could play huge roles in the absence of these two stars. Your next question might be ‘How in the world did we avoid Scherzer for two series?’ Mad Max, as he is known is dealing with a mid-back strain and wasn’t healthy enough for his Tuesday start as of Sunday. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be back until then. His status for Tuesday is a toss-up. A lot of you have been asking me this: “What would a series sweep over Washington mean for the Braves?” It’s simple. Granted the Braves split their most recent series with Washington in Atlanta, the Nationals didn’t game any ground in the standings. Which is a good thing in the case of the Braves. Sweeping Washington would mean seven straight games against the Nationals gaining any ground in the standings, which would be both a big boost for the Braves and a big blow for Washington.