TIME OUT: First football season has been a blast

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

My first season of covering football at The Times has been a learning experience. It has helped me to get to know the City of Demopolis and it has helped me get to know the people that reside in the jewel of the Blackbelt. Inclusive are people from other parts of Marengo County and also folks in Hale County. I have also made ties with the sports information staff at the University of West Alabama. In addition, I have begun to build relationships with many sports enthusiasts in the area.

My goal is to personally meet all of the athletic directors, all of the coaches, and all of the principals of the high schools that are in our coverage area. I have already begun this task and have interacted with some, just down right good southern folk.

I mentioned to you all earlier in one of my columns that I originated from &8216;up north,’ Detroit, Mich. No one has held that against me since I’ve been down South, not yet anyway. Another thing I talked about earlier was that football is the number one sport in Alabama. I bet I could find a few people that wouldn’t mind it being played year-round.

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Not having a professional football team in the state means that college football is prevalent. And not having a college near some towns, means that high school football is tops.

Prior to the start of football season, I wondered how the coaches and players would cope with all the heat. Maybe football season should start and end a month later. What do you think? I guess that’s the price for playing football in the South isn’t it?

Along with football being the number one sport, there are some schools that have great football traditions. Demopolis High is one of them. My research takes me back to the 1974, playoffs. Demopolis has reached the post season 23 of the last 33 years, including this year. The last time the Tigers missed the playoff was in 1995. That equals to a great football tradition. Demopolis is not the only school in the area that has that history of a football tradition. But, you can’t leave out Sweet Water and A.L. Johnson.

Sweet Water started building championship teams as far back as 1969, according to my research. They won their first championship in 1978. Sweet Water has five state football titles including their last one in 2004. They are just two wins away from their sixth title.

Though A.L. Johnson has not won a football championship, they continue to field teams that extend their season with regularity.

I have enjoyed getting to know the football coaches in the area. Coach Doug Goodwin and his staff have been very helpful in assisting me to get the information I need for a game story. Visiting their practices has also been fun for me as well as great conversations.

I can’t leave out coach Mose Jones of A.L. Johnson. He’s very animated on the sidelines during games. But most people don’t know, he’s that way during practice as well.

And my buddy, Stacy Luker at Sweet Water. He loves coaching football and is fun to talk with. All of these coaches would sit and talk football to you at any time. I’ve gotten to know other football coaches. These are the ones I just happened to interact with the most this season.

I covered my first football championship game last week at Troy University with Southern Academy. Coach Shaun Bond has done a masterful job with his team. They will be back there next season as well.

It’s my prayer that you sports fans continue to support amateur sports.