Red Bay's Roberts Notches 800th Career Victory


                                                           By KEITH LETBETTER
                                              Red Bay News (Special to the AHSAA)

    Red Bay High School girls coach Donnie Roberts notched the 800th win of his long prep basketball coaching career Jan. 25 as the Lady Tigers beat Colbert Heights 64-37. The Lady Tigers improved to 22-2 this season with the win.
    Roberts, who has compiled an 800-346 overall record in his 41-year coaching career, is now the state’s career wins leader for girls basketball and the first in state history to win 800 games.  He will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in March as a member of the Class of 2014.

   “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay and the 10 years Icoached at Tremont (Ms.). All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than Idid.

   After earning a Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School just across the state line from Red Bay and compiled a 142-127 record in the next 10 seasons. Roberts moved to Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
    “I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before. We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5,” Roberts said.

    Roberts, who owns a 658-219 girls coaching record at Red Bay, led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently directed Red Bay to the 2012 Class 2A state finals, a 54-49 loss to Section. Last year Roberts’ team won the Northwest Regional again and lost in the Final 48 semifinals.
     “It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program. It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

      Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,”said Roberts. They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.

      Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”


South Wins Wild All-Star Football Game

       The South All-Stars scored two touchdowns in the final 54 seconds Thursday night at Montgomery's Cramton Bowl to beat the North 37-33 in the highest scoring contest in the 53-game history of the annual AHSAA all-star event.

      South quarterback Kyle Caldwell earned MVP honors for his team with 22-of-38 passes completed for 393 yards and five touchdowns – all new North-South All-Star game records. He engineered a nine-play, 71-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Watts of Greenville with 54 seconds left and then kicked the extra point to close a 33-23 North lead to three at 33-30.

      Caldwell then kicked a perfect onside kick that was recovered by James Jones of Thomasville at the North 48. Four plays later Caldwell found Ardarius Dawsey open on the left sideline and the Cottonwood receiver shook loose from one defender to race 40 yards for the game-winning touchdown with only 25 seconds remaining. Caldwell’s PAT kick closed the scoring.

       South receiver Antonio Pitts, the Carver-Montgomery product who set new All-Star game records for receiving yards (191) and receptions (8), raced 73 yards with 7:51 left to play in the fourth quarter to jump-start the comeback rally.  Caldwell also threw a 37-yard TD pass to Kendarius Fritts of Linden in the second quarter and a 19-yarder to Desmond DeBose of Cottonwood in the third period to round out his record-setting five touchdown tosses.

     Caldwell also led his team in rushing with 67 yards on 13 carries to finish with 460 total yards.

    North quarterback Ryan Carter of Hoover completed 12-of-18 passes for 267 yards that also broke the previous All-Star high of 229 set by Jeff Davis’ Jeff Aaron in 1997. Carter also had four touchdown passes – three to  North Jackson receiver Montel Hale covering 47, 21 and 50 yards. The 47-yarder came after a penalty and on the first official play of the game. His third TD came three plays into the second half.
       Hale, who had seven catches for 181 yards to be named the North MVP, set the All-Star game series record for  touchdowns (4) when he scored on a 2-yard run with 2:45 to go in the game giving the North a 33-23 lead. It broke the previous record (3) set by Terry Beasley of Robert E. Lee in 1968.

      Carter also connected with Tyric Scales of Cedar Bluff for a 9-yard score with 14 seconds left in the first half to give the North a 19-8 lead at halftime.

      Head coach for the South was Brent Hubbert of Maplesville while the North head coach was Fort Payne’s Paul Ellis.

     The South win broke a two-game winning streak of the North  and now holds a 29-22-2 edge in the series that began in 1948.

      Both teams set the total offense record in the series with 690 combined passing yards and 870 combined total yards.

     The game closed out the All-Star Sports Week’s all-star competition.

     All-Star Sports Week, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, climaxes its week of activities here Friday night with the Championship Coaches Banquet and its first presentation of the Making A Difference Coach of the Year Awards.