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.”

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Marion County Offense 'Runs' Into Spotlight 

            Marion County High School’s run-oriented offense isn’t behind the times. Quite the contrary. The Raiders of Coach Rusty Funk, despite the age of high octane, spread formation passing attacks, are on a pace to set a state total offense record after pounding Donoho 42-21 in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state playoffs last Friday night to advance to the AHSAA semifinals this week.
            The win also rushed the team from Guin into the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 13 of the season.

            The Red Raiders (12-1) rolled up 469 yards on 64 rushing plays without attempting a single pass to beat the Falcons on the road. The offensive output raised Marion County’s average yards per game to 474.6, almost eight yards per game better than state record holder Sumter County’s 466.8 average set over 11 games in 1997. Deshler’s 1998 team ranks second with 439.6 yards per game over 15 games.
            Marion County has rushed for 5,069 yards on 572 tries this season. Add 1,101 yards passing and the total 6,170 yards is just 564 yards behind state record holder Cordova (6,734 yards in 15 games in 2008).

             Funk’s team currently has three running backs already over 1,000 yards rushing this season. Big 260-pound fullback Justin Sanderson is leading the team with 1,293 yards on 197 carries, followed by DeShawn Riebesehl with 1,191 yards on 133 carries and Sean Wallace with 1,037 on 96 carries. Another Red Raider is on the verge of surpassing 1,000 yards as Dorryl Swanigan has 941 yards on 100 carries.

            The Red Raiders, who host unbeaten Ragland (13-0) this Friday, have outscored opponents 627-314 on the year, an average of 48.2 to 24.2.

             Riebesehl has rushed for 20 touchdowns, Sanderson 15, Wallace 15 and Swanigan 11. Riebesehl also has five TD receptions. Swanigan has three TD receptions and three kickoff returns for scores.

             Already in the playoffs Marion County has rushed for 1,312 yards and has averaged 55.3 rushing plays per game. Wallace, the quarterback, has completed 54-of-89 passes on the year for 1,094 yards and 16 TDs with just four interceptions.

              Place-kicker Ben Riggs has made 76-of-80 PAT kicks and punter Jake Gann has had just five punts all season for a 32.8 average.

Other highlights reported from the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs include:


Michael Thompson, Sweet Water: Ran 27 times for 222 yards and TD runs of 19, 36 and 26 yards in a 38-36 Class 1A quarterfinal victory over Pickens County.


Dustyn Moseley, Jackson: Passed for 177 yards and 2 TDs and added TD runs of 11, 22 and 8 yards in a 49-28 victory over Bibb County in a battle of 4A unbeatens. His TD passes covered 3 and 47 yards.

Schyler Walker, Oneonta: Completed 9-of-18 passes for 137 yards and two TDs and rushed for 100 yards and two more scores as the Redskins beat Deshler 48-20 in Class 4A. Teammate Tyler Smith also rushed for 164 yards and one TD on 20 carries.

Caleb Sims, Hoover: Caught six passes for 124 yards and rushed for two touchdowns, including the game winner with 22 seconds lef,t as Hoover nipped Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 21-14 in Class 6A.

Jameis Winston, Hueytown:
Completed 12-of-16 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns (55, 35 and 20 yards) and rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries with scores of 1 and 16 yards in a 39-13 Class 5A win over St. Paul's.

Austin Grammer, American Christian:
Directed the Patriots to a 28-3 win over defending Class 2A state champion Leroy with a 13-of-18 passing performance good for 120 yards and a TD. He also rushed 16 times for 139 yards.

Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy:
Scored the first three times he touched the ball in a 35-14 Class 3A win over Lauderdale County. He scored on runs of 70, 24 and 36 yards. 


Kaleb Beck, Dadeville: The Tigers’ quarterback was 21-of-31 passing for 257 yards and a TD in a 28-21 loss to UMS-Wright in Class 4A. The loss ended the Tigers’ season at 12-1.


Julian Little, Linden: Ran 30 times for 140 yards and one TD in a 21-7 Class 1A victory over Maplesville.


Marlon Moore, Vigor:  Scored on a 14-yard run and caught a 54-yard pass to set up another TD in the Wolves’ 12-9 Class 5A victory over Spanish Fort.

Curtis Hunter, Lineville:
Ran 12 times for 139 yards and scored on runs of 14 and 24 yards as Lineville advanced to the Class 2A semifinals with a 38-26 win over Fultondale.

ArDarius Stewart, Fultondale:
Accounted for 408 yards in total offense in a 38-26 Class 2A loss to Lineville. Stewart rushed 27 times for 197 yards and a touchdown and was 5-of-12 passing for 211 yards and three touchdowns as the Wildcats (10-3) closed out their season.

Cameron Broadnax, Hueytown:
Caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and had a 21-yard interception for a touchdown against St. Paul's.

Ben Craft, Briarwood Christian:
Was 16-of-25 passing for 149 yards and a TD in the Lions’ 19-0 Class 5A win over Muscle Shoals.

Dee Liner, Muscle Shoals:
The defensive lineman had 12 tackles, including three for losses, and also had three sacks in the Trojans’ 19-0 loss at Briarwood.

Chris Rabb, Hueytown:
Had three of Hueytown's six sacks in a 39-13 Class 5A win over St. Paul's.Mark Rector, Mountain Brook: Had 37 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns plus 35 receiving yards and another score in a 35-28, triple-overtime loss to Oxford.