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Speculation follows changes at area programs

It is usually about mid summer in the state of Alabama that minds begin to wander once again toward the apex of the athletic year for many in the state. The middle of summer reminds us that football is approaching, leading Alabamians to speculate about their team&8217;s chances during the upcoming year.

Alabama and Auburn are discussed, with different opinions splitting households at the dinner table. Eventually talk turns to high school ball. Who&8217;s boy is starting for which team becomes the cornerstone of talk. What each team is doing to bolster its chances to win the area and make a bid for state glory is analyzed, and bets are made about who will emerge the victor.

In Marengo County this summer, players have begun workouts and are quickly approaching August, which will mark the beginning of two-a-day summer workouts and determine which teams are prepared for their first kickoff and which still have work to do. In the area, speculation is in the air and for good reason.

This year saw an interesting and rare event in the world of high school level football. Of the eight schools in the county, four have had their football futures shaken up during the past several months, from the beginning of spring ball into the midst of summer.

Demopolis High School, Linden High School and now John Essex High School have seen old coaches step down and some move on to other schools, while the future of West Alabama Christian, once West Alabama Preparatory and before that Demopolis Academy, athletics hangs in the air.

Demopolis lead off the season of change and is now arguably in the best situation as it heads into the meat and potatoes of summer football, August. The school&8217;s new coach and athletic director had a short spring with his team and has completely revamped his coaching staff that was torn asunder with the exeunt of the majority last year&8217;s coaching staff.

West Alabama&8217;s time of change soon followed that of Demopolis, as the school was brought under the leadership of Fairhaven Baptist Church. Along with the transition of ownership, the school has found its ability to field a team marred by the tentativeness of players to come aboard. Its fate has yet to be decided.

When all seemed calm on the Marengo County football front another bombshell fell, and Linden High School found a coach from down the road at powerhouse Sweet Water to fill the gaps. Linden&8217;s new coach has come in with vigor and plans to bring Linden again to the forefront of the county. The team still is working to implement these plans in a race against time as fall approaches.

Again, when all seemed well in the county, another surprise lay in wait, only to rear its head last Friday. John Essex found itself without a coach in the middle of summer workouts and only mere weeks away from the heart of summer practice. The coach that steps into the position will face a hard road implementing a new scheme prior to the start of the season and might find their hands tied on such a move until their next year at the helm.

For fans of the game this is an exciting time for football in Marengo County. Fresh air will come to half to programs of the area and exciting schemes will follow, as each coach tries to leave their marks on their newly acquired programs.

Who knows what teams will prevail and which will stumble under new leadership? I don&8217;t, but I have my opinions, as will fans of all programs that have received new coaches or face these programs on the gridiron in fall.

Brandon Glover is the sports editor of The Times. He can be reached at brandon.glover@demopolistimes.com.