GILMORE COLUMN: Young team takes early exit but will come back strong

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Football in the Demopolis area is officially over for the 2006 season. The Demopolis Tigers bowed out last week in their 19-7 first round loss to Greenville.

The West Alabama Prep Titans ended their season a couple of weeks ago by clobbering a young team from Mississippi. The John Essex Hornets closed their disappointing season with a loss to Fruitdale.

Demopolis fielded a young team this year, so they will get much better. In the game against Greenville last Friday, they seem to revert back to the Thomasville game. They played like it was the first game of the season with the mistakes that were made.

Looking to next season, the biggest task will be to build a new offensive line. The Tigers will lose three seniors from that front line. I expect DHS to continue to improve and get their first 5A championship within two years.

Coach Doug Goodwin has quietly gone through somewhat of a rebuilding phase and has done a great job with a young team.

I have compared Demopolis to the New York Yankees. We expect them to get to the championship every year and if they don&8217;t we wonder if the season was successful or not.

The Titans had a promising season. It was a rebuilding year, with new coach Pierre Goode coming in. They will grow and will be heard in the AISA. They are similar to Demopolis in terms of the front line. That&8217;s where they will have to find some players for the front line.

With the 2006 season under their belts, the fans of the city of Demopolis will have multiple teams playing in the post season for the years ahead. Count WAP in the mix.

John Essex was a big disappointment for everyone. Heads are still being scratched about what happened to the season. No one was more disappointed than head coach Al Shipman. I know every team can go through &8220;one of those years&8221; once in a while. The expectations were high for the Hornets, and finishing the season with one wasn&8217;t what was predicted at the start of the year.

They were shut out of the win column in their region. The biggest setback was the homecoming loss to Akron. The Hornets didn&8217;t come to play in that game. Looking at the conference from the bottom does not fit well with Coach Shipman. JE reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, so they know what it takes to get there again.

Football playoffs are still thriving in our coverage area. There are four games to be played on Friday. Sunshine is taking on Maplesville in Newbern; A.L. Johnson is hosting Maplesville in Thomaston; Sweet Water will be at home against Ariton; and Southern Academy will face Lowndes Academy at Troy University.

I see four pretty good football games to see. Choose one and continue to support high school football.

Zach Landerfelt, another former Demopolis High football player, has just completed his freshman season at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss. He has played in all 10 of the Choctaw games, starting in four of them.

BASKETBALL &8212; Former Demopolis girl&8217;s basketball stand out of two years ago, Gabrielle Essex, and last year&8217;s stand out, Shawnese Armstead, faced each other for the first time in the college ranks last Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Essex&8217;s Shelton State Lady Buccaneers beat Armstead&8217;s Wallace Community College-Selma Lady Patriots 108-70.

Armstead, a freshman, led WCCS with 30 points, including knocking down 5 out of six from beyond the arc. Essex, a sophomore, contributed 10 points for Shelton, who are last year&8217;s Alabama Community College Conference champs.

They are also ranked No. 14 in the pre-season polls. The Lady Bucs will be back on the hardwood tomorrow when they travel to Faulkner State. The Lady Patriots will host Meridian Community College in Selma tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Hey, did my Detroit Tigers improve? They got former Yankee Gary Sheffield to bolster their power hitting. And the Baseball Writer&8217;s Association of America honored their right-handed flame-thrower, Justin Verlander, as the American League Rookie of the Year on Monday. How about them Tigers, Coach Moody?

Support amateur sports. See you on the gridiron.